Triathlon is not just about Racing

Triathlon is not just about Racing

I would imagine that you love this sport, otherwise, you would not be reading this. As an athlete and a coach I like to gain as much information about triathlon as possible, in an effort to improve in both areas. We all train hard for this sport as it is very demanding just to finish a sprint race for many. If you have completed an Ironman, you know it takes everything you have to just finish. However, you may not have realized that there is more to triathlon than just racing. “So what else is there?” you might ask. Well, have you ever thought about the other side? For example, participating in a race as a volunteer? Interesting thought, isn’t it? So, that is the other thing I want you to consider in this wonderful sport that we all love!

I am guessing that many of you don’t spend much time thinking about it. At the same time, how many of us have ever been upset about the volunteers at a particular race? Did I get what I wanted, when I needed it most? Did a volunteer lead you the right way or the wrong way on a course; or maybe not even know where to lead you? Perhaps a volunteer did something so outstanding that you wanted to tell them after the race how wonderful they were? Yet, have you ever considered the hard work and feelings that the volunteer holds? You could not truly know any of these feelings, unless you have volunteered for a race. Volunteering is quite possibly one of the most rewarding things you can do for this great sport that you love! Ever thought about giving back to the sport that you have been doing for all these years? Well you should! Without volunteers we would not have the great race experiences that we all enjoy. These silent warriors are there probably before you arrive at the race sight. They do everything from filling water cups to donating time in the med tent. Have you spent time in a medical tent? I have not thankfully but I love a good massage after a race. Oh hey, they are volunteering their time too. These people want nothing in return. Okay, a “thanks” is always appreciated. If at all possible, I make it a priority to say “thank you” to every volunteer that helps me out, right there on the spot! I have seen people get down right nasty to a helpful aid station worker, shame on you! Get your own water next time. When you volunteer you give the same help and kindness that you would want in a race. It goes right back to the Golden Rule, and is a learning experience for sure. I have volunteered at 2 races and loved every minute of it. I got satisfaction out of helping people who love the sport of triathlon.

So how do you get involved? It is so easy you can’t believe it. Most race directors will put you to work today if you ask them. However, chances are your experience as an athlete will be utilized more appropriately if you have signed up ahead of time. So, step one: find a race and date that works for your training schedule. You might possibly choose a race that you hope to one day compete. Next, look on their website and I’ll bet that there is contact info. Then, Email or call the Race Director and ask if they need help. Chances are, you will receive a response within one week. They will probably tell you where they need you and work around the times that work best for you! Really, best time for me? How nice is that. Volunteers are a necessary part of this sport, and it helps to keep all races running the way you would want a race to be run if you were competing, right? In addition, you might see some old friends or meet some new ones. Volunteering is another way to be involved in more races than your body or wallet would typically allow. Go out and volunteer and be a part of that sense of joy and pride a good deed always brings. I am volunteering at a duathlon with my wife and kids in a few weeks and I can’t wait to go help out. The sport thanks you!

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