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PCTR Malibu Creek Volunteering

This past Sunday I got the opportunity to volunteer at a race in Malibu. It’s actually the same trail race I ran last year and they have a 50k option, a 25k option (which is what I did and my race report is here) and then a 10k option. I think that trail running is a little out of my league right now but I do like going on shorter, mild elevation changing trail runs on occasion, but it’s hard where I am located at to make the time and effort to go on these trails. Malibu Creek is gorgeous and I do love the area up there and it was fun to volunteer.

Before I left to drive up there, I tweeted that I was volunteering and someone tweeted me back that they were happy that I was volunteering and they wished more runners and cyclists volunteered. Little did they know that this really made me think about runners and volunteering on my hour drive to Malibu. Luckily there was no traffic and I got there right on time, but I thought about that statement and it made me realize that runners are a very selfish breed. Now, I’m speaking generally, or maybe just speaking about myself. Personally, I never want to volunteer because A. the races are early, B. I’m training for my own race C. I have to drive somewhere and D. it’s volunteering. I just don’t have time to do it since I’m running all the time and what if the race falls on a long run day of yours or you have a race that day. Also, I’ve noticed that many runners are “Type A” personality. I think I have a hint of that in me and I’m an obsessive planner. It’s just hard to take the time out and give back but I did realize how much it was appreciated while I was volunteering.

I’m learning that A LOT goes into making a race happen daily at work. Pretty much blow your mind a lot. It’s insane how much we talk about trash cans and port-a-potties. It also has made me realize how much volunteers are appreciated and needed to make an event work. The PCTR races are generally a little bit smaller than huge races and the running community there is great. Everyone seems to know everyone and is friendly and is out there to have a good time and have fun, which I think gets lost in competition sometime. Believe me, when I got up at 5:30 for the second day in a row on the weekend, I regretted volunteering. I didn’t want to drive to Malibu, I didn’t want to stand around in the cold, and I didn’t want to go. I thought about not going and that also made me realize how selfish I was being.

The line for check in for the 50k and 25 k. Notice the mud that everyone was standing in. I thought about wearing my Uggs but I’m glad I opted for my rainboots in that mud!

It wasn’t going to be for that long, I would see some of my friends and I was ‘giving back to the running community’ as my friend Billy puts it. He always talks about that and I’m realizing more and more how important that is. So on the drive up to Malibu Creek I thought about being less selfish and giving back more in more aspects of my life, including making sacrifices, which is hard for me. Once I got there, I immediately was welcomed and everyone was excited and it was fun to check people in. Runners may be selfish on occasion, but they are also some of the nicest people around. That is my favorite part of running sometimes. The encouragement and bond everyone shares.

Checking people in for the 10k. Everyone was so nice and excited to be out on the trails.

I also ran into Lisa! She is so nice and it was great to meet her in real life and I totally stole this picture from her blog :)

Look who ran the 25k. Billy! You can find his race report here

My friend and fellow Maniac, Emil, was out there volunteering too. He is a great guy and crazy marathoner! I love running into him at so many different races and he volunteers often too! He wrote a volunteer report too.

The starting line area in the background and where everyone checked in for the run. Though it was muddy, they said the trails held up very well and it was going to be a great day out there.

It was a gorgeous day out and I was glad I volunteered and saw the race off. I didn’t stay until the finish but talking to a few people and the drive home was great. I’m glad for both small and big running events. I’m glad for volunteers and I’m glad for the ability to run.


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  • Reply Naomi

    I love your comment about runners being selfish. I was literally just thinking of the exact same thing over the weekend, and I think you’re right on the money. You’ve inspired me to try to volunteer too!

    March 9, 2010 at 10:55 am
  • Reply Michaela

    I volunteered at the Napa Valley Marathon on Sunday — helped out with bag pick-up. It was a great experience. I found myself wanting to tell everyone how proud I was of them, and seeing the runners made me really excited for my next 26.2.

    March 9, 2010 at 11:00 am
  • Reply Lisa

    This post got me thinking that I need to volunteer for a race. Thanks.

    It was nice to see you out there in Malibu. I’m sure we’ll run into each other one of these days when we are both running….

    Happy tapering….

    March 9, 2010 at 11:01 am
  • Reply Nicki

    I think volunteering is such a great way to be a part of a race, and a wonderful way for us to give back to the sport we love so much! I am planning on volunteering at a marathon here in Virginia in a few weeks. It’s the first year of this race — it’s going to be held on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and I’m amazed at those who can run such an elevated race. It will be an EARLY morning, but I’m excited to be a part of this event. Thanks for this inspiring post!!!

    March 9, 2010 at 11:10 am
  • Reply Jaime

    I loved this post. My company plans the half marathon in my city, and rather than run it this year I was planning on volunteering to help on the course, or wherever they needed me. (Several years ago I volunteered to help with the race – that was way before I began running the half marathon myself.) You’re so right that runners can be selfish and I think it’s awesome that you were so selfless this weekend!!

    March 9, 2010 at 11:14 am
  • Reply RoadBunner

    Thank you for volunteering! I have only volunteered at one race and it was very satisfying to be on the “other” side of things. I agree that volunteers are so important for our sport and they sacrifice way more than we do on race day. At Disney I had to roll out of bed at 3 am which sucked, but the volunteers had to do that, too (and probably earlier) and they didn’t have a huge accomplishment waiting for them at the end of the morning. Great post and I am going to try to get out there more often, too.

    March 9, 2010 at 11:18 am
  • Reply Robyn

    Hmm I’ve never actually thought about volunteering for a race but maybe I will now. Thanks!

    March 9, 2010 at 11:19 am
  • Reply Vic

    Go you! You have inspired me to be less selfish. It’s true, I am extremely selfish with my time. Now to find a race to volunteer at…!

    March 9, 2010 at 11:21 am
  • Reply Marlene

    Now that I have volunteered a few times, I appreciate the volunteers out there SO MUCH MORE! I defiitely could do it more… great post and good for you taking some time out of your weekend to help out!

    March 9, 2010 at 11:31 am
  • Reply Marathon Maritza

    I’m so proud of you for volunteering! Great job!

    I agree with your points…I definitely need to do more volunteering!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm
  • Reply Janeen

    Good for you! Great perspective. Just bummed it was the same day as the bday event up North :( Let me know if I can help at a race expo or raceday check-in for an upcoming local event <3 ya!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:42 pm
  • Reply Morgan

    Volunteering is the best! I can’t wait until the next race I volunteer, you feel so good about giving back as Billy said and also you get a chance to be on the other side and appreciate all the little details that go into the event. I also love having the chance to see the speedy elite’s!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:50 pm
  • Reply Ally

    That’s great that you volunteered and had a great experience doing it. I always thank the volunteers as they run by because I know for every ‘thank you’ I give, there are 50 runners than don’t say thank you. And hello, as you know, it’s hard volunteering –early mornings, etc. But, it is always so appreciated.

    PS. Eek! I have a new running related job too! Running has now totally taken over my life.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:26 pm
  • Reply Heather

    what a great post about volunteering! In general it is just awesome. My husband loves helping with Habitat for Humanity, and we do a lot with our church. I think it’s great you helped at the race!

    March 9, 2010 at 1:45 pm
  • Reply Angela

    I was just thinking the other day that I should start volunteering more at races. I use to work for a race organizer when I lived in SD, so I definitely know how much work is involved!!

    March 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm
  • Reply Sydney Hunter

    where can you get info on how to volunteer? This post really made me want to get out there and help. I am always planning and worrying about things falling on “long run” days, or for that matter, any day I need to run, but thanks to you realize it is doable!;)

    March 9, 2010 at 2:05 pm
  • Reply ilovesteaks

    Next time you’ll have to join us for pho!

    March 9, 2010 at 2:10 pm
  • Reply Ms.V

    You never really know what volunteering is about until you do it. It’s VERY gratifying!!

    March 9, 2010 at 2:43 pm
  • Reply Billy Burger

    I dig volunteering – especially at trail races where it seems more like a small reunion of sorts rather than one big clusterf__k with thousands of strangers and crazy long porta pottie lines!

    So glad you made it out Danica. Next time, you need to stick around til the end, cheer in runners and gorge on soup/chili!

    Hope to see you at Sycamore Canyon Danica. It’ll be good times!

    March 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm
  • Reply Mary Helen

    I think it’s awesome that you volunteered. I understand what you say about the “selfish” thing, b/c I’ve never volunteered, YET; but at the same time, every race I’ve done has had TONS of wonderful volunteers! I’m sure a lot of them are runners. You’ve reminded me of another fun activity to do w/this awesome hobby we have :)

    March 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm
  • Reply Betsy

    I started volunteering last fall and love it. I agree that it’s valuable to give back to the sport that has given us so much.

    I have also discovered that sometimes, you can volunteer AND run the same race. I’ve helped at packet pick-up the day before a race, and I also helped give out bibs for an hour before another race started. It worked great.

    March 9, 2010 at 3:37 pm
  • Reply Nicole

    Love the pics D! Looks like a great time volunteering!

    Love you!

    March 9, 2010 at 4:56 pm
  • Reply Melanie

    I always have a great time when I volunteer at races, and it’s nice to have the reminder of how the volunteers are so crucial when I’m the one out there running. I love getting to feel both sides.

    Of course, the running club here in Nashville has a program where you can earn free race entries by volunteering at a certain number of races. It’s a great way to make sure they get the volunteers and that the volunteers get a little incentive for coming out early and not running the race or doing their training run at that time.

    March 9, 2010 at 6:43 pm
  • Reply Julie @ Wearing Mascara

    Love it! I’ve been considering volunteering for some time now. I think it’s so important to give back and volunteers mean so much!

    March 9, 2010 at 7:37 pm
  • Reply LA Daze

    Good for your for volunteering! I’ve considered it, but the early wake up time for not racing kind of sucks. We’ll see!

    March 9, 2010 at 10:32 pm
  • Reply Dave

    I loved your A, B, C, D of reasons not to volunteer…I volunteered for the first time at Malibu Creek on Sunday. I didn’t bump into you, but I was with the parking crew, then the shirt tent. Catch you next time!

    March 9, 2010 at 10:51 pm
  • Reply Stacey

    I think EVERY runner should volunteer at a race and be a cheerleader at a race once year! Makes sure we are more appreciative ;o)

    March 11, 2010 at 5:58 pm
  • Reply StephanieC

    Im going to give a bit back, but first i’m going to take. Having just finished my first 5K i’m anxious to race my next one. I’ll be sure to volunteer soon though.

    March 14, 2010 at 9:12 pm
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