BIO - "I have been an avid runner racing in a number of different events ranging from 5K to marathons. 3 years ago, I volunteered for the Cleveland Marathon weekend to give back from the races I ran. I volunteered for the 10K race on Saturday and stuck around to help with the kids' race. It was a rainy day as it tends to be the Saturday before the big race, but very fun as everyone quickly bonded with each other. I met many of the crew members from Cleveland Marathon & by the end of the day, I had asked Joan Freese for her contact information. I intended to become more involved in the coming years with all the hard work and fun.
The following year, I helped with the races again on Saturday and worked the gear check on Sunday. I was a bit nervous as I didn't know what to expect. In all the races I have participated in, I had not used the gear check so this was definitely foreign to me. I mentally prepared myself for thousands of bags holding racers' personal belongings. It was very challenging, yet rewarding. It gives you a great feeling to help the participants, handing the bag over to them, congratulating them on their accomplishment & chatting with them for a bit before you relive the high again with the next person walking up to gear check.
This past year, I helped with all the above and added the expo to the mix. With the setup at the expo helping participants signup, change races, pickup their bags and shirts, it provided a new view on what added work it takes to put on this event. The race weekend is over in a flash, but it takes so many hours over the months with many discussions and meetings. A person would normally think that once a race is complete and successful, one would simply just need to hit repeat each year and have it done in a flash. I started volunteering for the Cleveland Marathon weekend as I felt it was my duty to give back to the other racers. Year after year, I come back not to just help fellow racers but to help out the people who stress over the preparations and details hashed out throughout the many months leading up to the race.
I urge other runners and walkers to volunteer for any races to give back and to open their lives into the world on the other side of the registration table, including family and friends who have seen their loved ones participate in the races. I believe it will be an experience and feeling you won't soon forget."