Why do I volunteer? Before I tell you all WHY I volunteer my time week after week I think it’s important to share this excerpt from email from the Everglades Ultra race director:
“Rachel, to you and kids, you have my gratitude for once again working very hard to provide such great support for the runners. Thank you for all your effort. I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as we enjoyed having you out there.”
Yes I did! I love to volunteer! I’ve been volunteering for over 4 years. It started out because my oldest daughter needed service hours for high school. I was always participating at races and my girls were always there to support me. Knowing that my daughter needed the hours I inquired about her volunteering and the response was “absolutely!”
Evelyn fell in love with it and helping out made the time go by so quickly. For me, I would get so nervous before a run, so having her there and me helping out before the run kept me busy. Ah packet pickup? You need help? Sure! That was the beginning….
Fast forward to a foot injury where I couldn’t run. What was I to do? Well, at that time my husband had started running and it was driving me nuts waiting for him to finish the race. I thought what can I do? I know! Water station! If you cannot run, you can help out. Yes, volunteering kept me from being sad that I was not a part of the race festivities and made me feel a part of something special.
My favorite experience? The last stop on the 7 mile bridge run which takes place in the Florida Keys. Can we say one hot race! I’m seeing my friends running with nothing left, it’s worse than a marathon or an ultra race as it was so hot. It was almost like a scene from the walking dead. I can tell that the runners, my friends, hear my voice. They see my familiar face, see my big smile, then hear me screaming their name and “come on, you got this!!” And as they approached the stop their grimace turned into a smile and they have a new found pep in there step. “Finish strong” I yelled again as I passed them water. After the race they all came to me to thank me. Me? Why? I am just having a blast out there!
You can always catch me and my mini mermaids in our “Mermaid Club” attire. Some of our favorite races include the Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon/Half Marathon, the Everglades Ultra, the Woman’s Wellness 5k & Half Marathon, the 7 mile bridge, the I Tried 5-15 triathlon, the Devil Dog 5k, the Coral Springs Holiday Mile, Lace ’em up at the Levee 5k/10k and of course, the International Mermaid Day 5k & virtual run meet ups which are held in Sarasota and Boca. Oh and those service hours my daughter needed for high school? She graduated two years ago with top honors in that category. If you can’t run? Then help out! It a very fulfilling and rewarding experience, and a great way to be a part of race day! See you on race day!
Love Rachel xo
The Howards girls will be volunteering next at the Race for Women’s Wellness Half Marathon and 5k on Saturday, March 26, 2016.