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Ted has participated in numerous running, cycling and triathlon events over the years, and understands the importance of volunteers.  I’ve participated in a couple of different events this year, and have volunteered several times in the past, so I’ve noticed the importance volunteers have during events.

I recently chatted with organizers of the California International Marathon (CIM), a major running event that draws thousands to the Sacramento area each fall.

“Important is not the word for volunteers,” Alameda Runners was told, “vital is.”  Without them, there would be no CIM or other marathons around the country.  There are about 2,000 volunteers who help with all of the preparation for the race, the expo, and all of those out on the course.  Thousands of hours of volunteer work and all they get tangibly is a T-shirt.  But of course, it is much more than that.  Many come back year after year and are part of the CIM as much as the paid staff.  Also, the board which puts in a great deal of time all year round, in addition to the monthly (and special) meetings, is all volunteer.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  Thank the volunteers!  When it’s cold and miserable during a race, it’s likely the volunteers are freezing the entire time they’re working.  If it’s hot and muggy, they’re suffering as they help set up the events, hand out drinks and other tasks during the event, and clean up the race after everyone is finished.

Ted and I volunteered to run the Oakland Half Marathon carrying the 2:15 pace sign (the only half marathon pace group), which was a lot of fun for both of us.  It was a blast to help so many people cross the finish line, especially the participants who were suffering and needed just an extra boost of support to cross the finish line.

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