Hello from your favorite volunteer!
Yesterday, my 35 week baby bump and I spent a few hours volunteering at the finish line of the Rev3Florida triathlon. Before reporting to the finish line, however, my sweet boys and I walked over to the bike course from our house – just a few blocks away!
We were lucky enough to see the leaders of the men’s pro field fly by. We’ve had some pretty crazy weather here lately and the rip tide in the Gulf proved too dangerous for the triathlon so the swim portion was cancelled. Instead, the pros did a 1.5 mile run before heading out on their bikes. I have to wonder if that might have affected some of the elites! The age groupers had a time trial start on their bikes – they dropped the swim portion entirely. Based on the current in the Gulf, I think they made the right decision.
When they flew past us, “Starky” was in the lead, and Jesse Thomas came by a few minutes after him. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get good photos of these guys on the bike??
I got to my post and received my assignment – handing out medals. That’s a lot of medals!
I love that they say Venice on them…shout out to my hometown!
Before too long, we heard rumors that our first place finisher had almost arrived. Jesse Thomas (the athlete we had seen in second place) passed the leader with only about a mile and a half to go on the run! Amazing!
Don’t you love his aviators? They’re apparently his trademark.
Such a nice guy.
I think he and the Mini Athlete would be friends. Curly hair for the win!
The next few hours flew by in a blur. If you’ve never worked the finish line of a triathlon before, I highly recommend it. You never quite know what to expect! I am so in awe of the triathletes who literally leave EVERYTHING out on the course. We had a few collapse as soon as they crossed the finish line. A few others found themselves cramping up just yards away. They fought through the pain and I even ended up giving a few calf massages as they winced in pain from the cramps. Quite frankly, volunteering at the finish line of a triathlon is a full body experience. You might be handing out water or Gatorade, you might be taking someone’s timing chip off their ankle or you might be putting a medal around their neck. Let’s just say, this pregnant woman is a bit tired and sore after my volunteer shift yesterday. I can’t even imagine how the athletes must be feeling!
I must say – all of the athletes were so appreciative of the volunteers. I couldn’t believe how many of them took the time to tell us thank you.
I loved seeing some familiar faces coming across the finish line too. My good friend Ali’s big sister Shirah…
And my little sister’s middle school basketball coach!
I’m so glad Rev3 brought this triathlon to our town. To be honest, I had never heard of Rev3 before they started advertising it would be here in Venice. I was blown away by the supportive, family-friendly, positive atmosphere of the race. They encouraged finishers’ families to cross the finish line with them. They have a big “to do” when the last place finisher comes in – lining the chute with spectators, volunteers and staff to bring them home. There is a “soft” cut off time for the race, but they stay out there until every person finishes.
I loved it.
Is there a Rev3 Triathlon in my future? Who knows. To be honest, knowing that the start line is less than five miles away makes it hard to resist. But then again, seeing the exhaustion on the faces of the competitors makes me wonder if I could ever have it in me to do something like that. Time will tell.
Have you ever spectated or volunteered at a local race?