Sunday, April 13, 2008

thomas labrecque run as one, 4m: volunteer

this morning i volunteered at my first nyrr race, "the tom labrecque run as one" 4 miler in central park. the decision to volunteer at, instead of run in, the race was a direct result of the injuries to my left leg last week. yesterday i went out and ran for the first time since last sunday - a short 2 miler. while the swelling has gone down considerably, the leg was still noticeably swollen. still, while my gait was slightly off - the running was painful. i could probably have run/walked the 4 miles, but volunteering seemed like the more sensible choice at the time.

i took the metronorth into the city, got off at 125th street and switched to the subway for the ride down to 86th street. i walked over to park to meet the volunteer coordinator, doug, at 90th street and west drive. the volunteers each received a safety vest and bib number. after a short briefing on our responsibilities we walked to our individual locations. i was assigned to the east end of the 102nd street transverse. i was happy with that location because it allowed for great views of both races, the 4 miler and the police-fire run 5 miler that followed.

there were 2 additional volunteers from the west side group at that location, and 2 more from the east side group. at the briefing we were told cheer on the runners and remind them to stay to the left at all times. from the moment the lead pack arrived after the 9 o'clock start, until the last runner turned onto the transverse, we did a lot of cheering - some via a bullhorn! i caught sight of 2 friends as they went by, tom and sue, and a few wtc singlets.

after the first race, 2 volunteers were moved further north along east drive for the 5 mile race. the other 2 volunteers and i repositioned cones to block off the entrance to the transverse and directed the 5 milers north, where they would run the harlem hills. there were substantially fewer runners in the second race, which started at 10. by 10:30 the most of the the field has passed our location at the 2 mile mark. then i headed back to the drop off area at 90th and west drive to return my vest and check out.

overall, except for the overcast and chilly weather for which i was under dressed, i had a great time out there. in terms of resting my leg, however, i doubt this was any less stressful than if i had run/walked the race. the walk from 86th street to the meeting place, the walk to my assigned location, the return walk to check out and, finally, the walk back to the subway - not to mention the time spent as a course marshall - easily eclipsed the time, mileage and effort i would have expended to run the race! yikes!

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