Looking back at races I’ve done this year and looking ahead to those I’m planning for next year, it struck me how much road races, and trail races benefit our communities.
We may not even think of ourselves as a bunch of givers, but we are. In my mind, there are two outstanding categories of givers. First are the organizations and race directors that do the tedious work of developing and maintaining races to raise funds for so many different causes. Be it a form of fundraising for healthcare research, for the needs of children, the elderly, the needs of the homeless, or our educational and arts organizations, whatever the cause the advance planning and the detail on race day are a gift to their causes and to the runners/walkers.
Second in the most giving category are the individual runners who specifically fundraise for a charity They raise sometimes in the hundred and many times in the thousands of dollars, soliciting friends, family and almost everyone else to dig in and add to their fundraising effort. Beyond running or walking a race for that fundraising cause, it requires a lot of extra effort. I try to pitch in a bit anytime I hear from a friend or relative soliciting to support their race.
And I dare not forget another category of givers – race volunteers. It takes a special sort of person to work packet pickup on freezing cold mornings, or serve for hours as a course monitor in the blazing sun or pouring rain.
Those of us who participate in races for a cause without signing up for specific fundraising are also the givers. Our race registration fees offset the expense races incur in costs for permits, road closures, and don’t forget the porta-potty rentals.
A final type of giving I would like to explore more in a future post if what charity races give to our local businesses and municipalities. Runners and their supporters fill restaurant seats post-race, either to raise a glass in celebration or to commiserate on a disappointing race. How many hotel rooms have we filled in out-of-town races, both the big franchises in the cities and the mom and pop motels within miles of more remote race locations? How much shopping have you and family and friends done as you polish off a race weekend?
Yes, we as runners and racers, from the front of the pack to the back of the pack, all give to the local economy. So, runners, let’s gives ourselves a pat on the back for our giving nature. And we’ll be back out there in 2023.
I always feel volunteering is just part of doing what I do…without volunteers too many things go away. we’ve lost races because of that. part is no volunteers, or so many events, no one can volunteer at all…and yes, at the 10K turn around point at a February race was a challenge..I quickly learned the way you dress to run when it’s -25C is different than when you’re one of the runners….yikes that was cold