For Halloween I spent the day volunteering at the NYC Marathon Expo! It was my first time volunteering for the marathon but it certainly won’t be my last.
The morning was a bit disorganized – from my personal difficulty finding the volunteer check-in area to many of us missing instructions on how to do our jobs (way too many t-shirt distribution people and too few bib distribution people meant a lot of last minute switches), we finally got into a groove after a bit. The most exciting part was when Dean Karnazes checked in at my station. He used his phone to find his bib number, and as his name quickly flashed on the screen, I exclaimed, “You’re Dean Karnazes!” like a giant dork. He smiled and said yes, in fact he was. Whether or not you’re a Dean Karnazes fan, if you’re a runner, you probably know who he is (actually, none of the other marathon-running volunteers near me knew who he was – how is that possible?!). Handing a race bib to Dean Karnazes is like handing a baseball bat to Derek Jeter. (He’s a baseball player, right?)
I was surprised how many volunteers were running the marathon this year – I expected a lot of 9+1’ers (NYRR’s program for guaranteed entry into the marathon – run 9 qualifying races plus do 1 volunteer job means the following year you get guaranteed entry), but I didn’t expect so many people who were actually running this Sunday to be volunteering all day on Thursday. I was also surprised how busy it was – there were definite lulls, but for a Thursday morning/afternoon, there were a ton of people there. I can only imagine how crowded it gets when it’s really busy.
After volunteering I wandered the expo and bought practical running socks plus a flouncy silver running skirt I totally don’t need but definitely love. All expo volunteers got a bright orange t-shirt to wear as well as $14 credit to use at the food court downstairs (more than enough for a giant chicken parm pasta lunch). But of course the real reward was meeting and greeting all the excited runners (many of whom had travelled halfway around the world for this race), and getting to meet and chat with other volunteers. I had a great time today and I’m even more excited to cheer on Sunday. I hope my new volunteer marathoner friends spot me between miles 21 and 22. While I was horrified to find the CVS completely empty of Halloween candy tonight, I promise to find candy somehow, somewhere, and have a big bowl of sugary encouragement for the NYC Marathon runners.
Are you running NYC this week? Share in the comments! Candy requests will be noted, but not guaranteed.