Volunteering @ Stomp the Grapes Half Marathon

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of spending my day in Hartville for the annual Stomp the Grapes Half Marathon.

In the past I have run this race, but that was when it was further south, in Navarre. In fact the second year I ran it was with my sister. It was her first ever race. Since it’s moved to Hartville I have not had a chance to run.  I was under the impression aforementioned city was about 20 minutes from me. And it is, with a 30 minute head start. Needless to say I was a tad late in arriving at my site for the duties not previously assigned.

I walked to the sign reading “Volunteer Check-in” and it seemed they were surprised to see me. Umm did I NOT just get an email saying be there at 10:30? Turns out they were very short on people already. Hmmm really, you want people to show up 3+ hours early and they bailed?

Sorry, it really wasn’t that bad. So, I received my free sweatshirt, which I luckily like the design and I headed over to the stones to direct people for ‘day of’ registration. I had to lead ZERO people.

My task was partnered with a woman name Robin. She wasn’t able to run due to an injury this summer (stress fracture in her foot). She reminded me A LOT of a former coworker, unfortunately one who did not like me. Once I got past that though, we were fine. Ha. She even asked to keep in touch on FB and possibly do a relay together next year, which would be fun. Throughout check-in I saw Niall and Brittany, which was cool. I also saw Nick, and couldn’t believe my eyes since he’s been deployed for most of 2011.

I did not see Katrina, but I knew she was going to stay home, same with John and his family.

At 2:00 we wandered down the road to the start and cheered on the masses.

After the race started we waited a little before heading to our new post. Mile 11. We were told we were needed to direct traffic. When we arrived we found they already had about 15 other people posted along the same road! Ugg. We could have served a better purpose if we at least had stop watches and could call out times! Instead we simply stood there and cheered for 2 and half hours.

One highlight was when some guy in a truck…total country stereotype in all his glory and screamed at us about the race. See, the roads weren’t closed, but traffic was being moderated. He rolled down his window and shouted “Why don’t you tell these people to actually RUN, you have traffic backed up all the way out to Uniontown” He then sped off. WOW. Sorry if we caused you to be late to your date with your best sheep jerk-off.

Robin grew tired and cold near the end and needed to meet up with her ride so we left our post “early”. By early I mean 20 minutes before they would have pulled us anyway. Still, I felt terrible, because as I know all too well, it’s the back of the back runners/walkers who often need the most support.

The after party was nice. A few fires and good spirits all the way around. Probably the massive amounts of winery samples people we taking in. Niall and I sat and feasted. I alone put back 2 4-inch subs, a single serving chip bag, 2 bowls of soup and a cookie. I took an apple and another bag of chips home. Better than buying food, right?

All in all it was an enjoyable day. I was bundled to the MAX since I am always freezing, but hey it’s a reasonable trade off for a great day with friends, new and old!

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