The annual Ironman is a huge event in Madison. Spectators line the course as thousands of men and women swim, bike, and run 140.6 miles. I enjoyed watching the past few years and decided to get a little bit closer to the action this time – as a volunteer!
I signed up to be a finish line “catcher,” meaning that it would be my job to help the athletes as soon as they crossed the finish line. Upon signing up, I received some information via email: “Be prepared to touch, support, carry and literally pick up people as they are falling to the ground. If you don’t like touching others, or don’t want to get your clothes full of sunscreen, sweat and salt from the athletes, drop out now and choose another volunteer job.”
Luckily, I have no problem with sweat.
On Saturday morning, I got up early to attend the volunteer meeting. First, I found the catcher table to pick up my t-shirt and wristband.
Next we headed out to the finish line for training. Training was a 15-minute whirlwind and I tried to absorb as much as I could. We learned where all the stations (food, medical, etc) would be set up, how to carry people who could no longer support their own weight, what types of questions to ask finishers, and so much more. I left feeling overwhelmed, but excited!
Stayed tuned for Part 2 when I recap race day!
Have you ever volunteered at a race?