Volunteering as a family

The Deckers Creek Half Marathon is my nemesis.
For the past two years, something has happened to my family that has ruined the joy of being a spectator. The first time, my husband suffered a foot injury and pulled out of the race. I watched his friend come in 28th place overall, while I worried about my husband’s fate.
The second year, I spend most of the race in the emergency room with my kids. My middle son had an allergic reaction to the chemicals in some fresh mulch at the nearby playground. His poor hands were swollen and the EMT said “You should take him to the ER.” So I did. He was fine after I gave him some medicine.
Back in April, I decided we’d volunteer for this year’s race. The kids were big enough to help, with the exception of the youngest one. We were expecting other, older kids to come. They could help watch the youngest kids.
I didn’t know until we were waist deep in boxes of green race shirts that the older kids weren’t coming. That made the tasks of watching the kids and helping out more difficult.
The day started easy enough: Give every kid one a task they could handle. The oldest help set up the tents. The younger two put drinks in buckets. We all helped with the food.
Then there was the hour or so free time until the runners arrived.
Luckily, we’ve been to the race enough times to know to bring snacks and activities. We also had the good fortune of being at a race known for its alternative entertainment. They had a bounce house, face painting, vendors, and music. So, between the frequent lathering of sunscreen, we ran around and had some fun.
When the runners started to arrive (the winner’s time was 1 hour, 10 minutes), we went to the water station at the finish line. Everyone, even the 2-year-old, handed out bottles. They had fun playing in the ice and taking “showers” in the make-shift sprinklers nearby.
I had quite a few people compliment us on our work. I also had a few people shaking their heads.
The kids, except of when I made them move so they didn’t get trampled, seemed to enjoy themselves. We did have a few instances where everyone needed a break, but we were able to still hang out. For the most part, I was able to keep an eye on everyone and keep them safe.
It beat the alternative, sitting and doing nothing.
The oldest went on for several hours after the race about what she did. She was proud. Dad was proud. I was exhausted.
It was a good day.
Race note: Remember Jim Bailey from my race recap of the Cooper Rock 10k? Well, my husband sat beside him on the bus ride to the start. He also tried to pace off the 72-year-old racer. As with my race, Mr. Bailey remained steady and my husband was unable to keep up with him. In his seventh running of the Deckers Creek Half Marathon, Mr. Bailey finished in 2 hours, 5 minutes. His goal is to race 500 races, he’s well into the 300s: almost 400 now. It really is a small world.

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