The “blog everyday in May” challenge has morphed a little bit into the blog pretty often in May challenge, since there have been a few days that I have skipped. Nonetheless, I’ve written more than usual and enjoyed the added “pressure” of popping the laptop open and going for it.
I missed posting Saturday because I was on a completely wacky sleep cycle and because it was our neighborhood’s annual block party and then Sunday I was just straight up lazy. My wacky sleep cycle was absolutely welcome this weekend because I was totally excited to spend Friday night volunteering at Reach the Beach: Massachusetts.
The Reach the Beach relay is like the ultimate team event for an otherwise solo-effort sport. There are a couple of different team variations, but essentially, 12 runners in two vans spend 24+ hours traversing a 200 mile course, from Wachusett Mountain to Horseneck Beach in Westport (for the Massachusetts event). That’s the uber-simplified version! I ran in the relay last year, had the time of my life, and was probably the first person to volunteer when asked to man a transition area this year.
My assignment was to man TA19 (transition area 19) in Franklin, MA from 9:45 PM until 4:00 AM from Friday night into Saturday morning. My job at the TA was to keep track of each team coming in and going out, to make sure everyone was accounted for. It wasn’t especially challenging or riveting, but I had so much fun. It was great to interact with the teams waiting for their runners to arrive and it was fun to be out there in the middle of the night cheering everyone on. Plus, we met some real characters who kept things entertaining.
There were lots of fun moments and cool people, but I have to say, the most poignant was probably when a team asked us who we were volunteering on behalf of. We told them the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and one of the teammates perked up and said, “that is who pays for my research!” He told us that he works in a lab at Dana-Farber and Katherine and I told him we did, too. He thanked us for volunteering for LLS and for funding his work. Then he ran off into the night. It was fantastic.
Have you ever volunteered at a race before? How about a relay? I have to admit, it’s hard to want to volunteer because most of the time I want to be out there running, but this weekend was really awesome. Plus, I remember from running last year how much I enjoyed and appreciated the volunteers, so I really wanted to do the same for this year’s teams. As for next year? It might be time to get back on the road.