This past weekend marked my first time volunteering in Squamish.
I like volunteering. Since I work from home by myself, it’s nice to get out of the house and talk to strangers. And, cheesy as it sounds, it helps me feel a little more connected to my community.
The occasion was none other than the Squamish 50. This an epic trail running race, with a 50-mile course on Saturday, and both a 50k and 23k option on the Sunday. Some of the runners complete BOTH the Saturday 50-miler and the Sunday 50k, for a total of 130K of mightily challenging mountainous terrain. Whew.
I’ve run plenty of races and have put in shifts at water stations and bike retrieval booths (that one was at the Whistler GranFondo), but I have never been a course marshal until this shift. I had the BEST course marshal position: the last one before the finish line. Here’s why it was the best:
- I got to sincerely tell people “You’re almost there!”, and they loved me for it.
- There were plenty of friends and family members gathered there to watch racers come in, so there were lots of people to chat with.
- Sometimes, the aforementioned friends and family members would run the final 50 meters or so with their racing loved one. This warmed my heart.
- The end of the race is a raw, magical time — especially at an ultramarathon. Some racers were crying. Some were totally gleeful. Some were sprinting (okay, very few were sprinting) and some were limping.
I was lucky with my Sunday shift — the weather was HOT on Saturday, and it would have been tough sitting in the sun for five hours (and it also would have been hard running in the sun for 50 miles…) The weather was cool and overcast until about an hour and a half from the end of my shift — then, the skies opened up and it poured. Let me tell you, I was feeling for the people who had already been running for like, eight hours, and were now soaking wet and running against the wind. Oof.
As if the warm fuzzy feelings I got from seeing my running heroes in action wasn’t enough, I also get a pretty epic swag bag. I got two pairs of running socks, which is major. I can never have too many running socks. It also had A++ snacks (apple, juice box, and fruit leather bar), a few stickers, free coffee tokens from Galileo coffee, and a brochure of local trail runs that I have already looked up and contemplated signing up for.
It was all very inspiring, to the say the least. I kind of want to try the 23K course next year. Stay tuned.