Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Other Side of the Finish Line

I had the amazing opportunity of volunteer at the finish line of Grandma's Marathon this past weekend.  I got to give the runners their medals (the greatest job ever!).   Duluth, Minnesota is my hometown and I grew up watching Grandma's marathon.  This year since I wasn't running any of the events, I wanted to help.  I am so glad I did because I got to see the marathon from a whole different angle.

To sum up the experience in one word would be AMAZING!!!! What made this experience so amazing was seeing people of all abilities cross that finish line after conquering the SAME 26.2 miles.

I was completely in awe seeing the elite runners cross the finish line and making the marathon look effortless.  The next wave of people that came were what I call the speedy mortals.  This is the group of people that I can only dream about running with.  They are the Boston Qualifiers and the sub 10 minute per mile group.  I was so inspired watching this group finish because someday I want to be with them.  When the clock hit the 5 hour mark, my peeps started crossing.  I am a back of the backer myself and  seeing this group cross moved me the most.  There were a lot of first timers and a lot of people that did something that they once thought was impossible.  They finished and they did it with a lot of emotion.  I was brought to tears more than one time.  It was amazing because no matter if they were elite, a speedy moral, or a back of the backer....they all can call themselves marathoners.



Things that I saw experienced:
  • Elite Runners-  WOW!!  Their bodies are incredible and they made the marathon look effortless.
  • The first woman to cross the finish line ...again WOW!
  • 2 engagements- I can't imagine the pressure and the stress of carrying a valuable ring for 26.2 miles.
  • A couple that celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary by running the marathon
  • A woman celebrating her 70th birthday (Under a 5 hour finish too!!!!!)
  • LOTS of sweaty hugs and celebratory high fives
  • I also got kissed by a man that became a marathoner that day.
  • I heard a lot of people say "NEVER AGAIN" my response was "See you next year".  Ha!
It was a fabulous weekend.  Duluth really knows how to put on a great race!!


     I was so happy to make it a family affair this year. Chubby Hubby and my oldest son were on duty passing out finisher t-shirts.
    My brother and I
    This is my brother and a close family friend goofing around.  They crack me up.
    Sweaty and gross but we still have smiles on our faces.
    My favorite part of the day was seeing the faces of the runners when they were done and came to get their medals.
    Duluth throws one hell of a party after the race in Canal Park.  They have a huge tent party with lots of beer and great bands.  Perfect way to end the weekend.

    Last but not least....Happy Father's Day to the best baby daddy in the world!

    38 comments:

    daysrun said...

    I just cheered on runners at the Garden of the Gods 10 Miler and it was so much fun. I'm still meeting people who ran it and remembered hearing little bells along up one of the biggest hills in the park..that was my group ringing little tinkerbells. I can only imagine the experience at the end of a marathon. I've cried there too when I crossed it.

    Courtney said...

    Wow, that sounds like an awesome experience! I never thought about doing that, but you make me really want to!

    Miz said...

    very cool!
    I cant imagine running a marathon EVER let alone at 70.

    wowzer.

    Diana said...

    I think the that would be the best volunteer job for sure! I almost hugged my lady who hung mine around my neck!
    I wish the RKC gave out medals at the end!

    Carly said...

    That's so nice of you to volunteer to hand out medals. I bet you did a way better job than the girls handing out medals at the race I did yesterday. They practically threw it at me.

    Sherri said...

    That sounds like a blast!

    Charbelle said...

    Ok I teared up just reading about it. What a cool experience! I can't imagine running 26.2. That after party sounds amazing!!

    Evolving Through Running said...

    Looks like a great event, and even beter weather. Yay for Minnesota - lived in Apple Valley for 3 great years. One of the many books I read for inspiration when I trained for my marathon was a bunch of first-time stories, and there were several that talked about this race. Maybe someday I'll give it a try.

    Delane said...

    LOL @ see you next year.

    I think the most impressive people that run are those in their senior years. I hurt at 36 I can't imagine it at 70..or older.

    bobbi said...

    I also teared up just reading this (as another back-of-the-packer)...it sounds like you had a great time! I secretly want to run this next year...we'll see...

    At the last 5k I ran, I was checking the race results and noticed a 99 (!!!) year old woman who finished, and not much slower than me! I can only dream about still doing this at that age...

    Tish said...

    What a great experience. Thank you for sharing. Maybe I'll have to volunteer for the 10 miler I'm not ever going to do again.

    Jamoosh said...

    Excellent (post) race report!

    Lori said...

    LOL at the never again response!

    M said...

    This looks like so much fun! Way better than actually running it...ha! I bet you weren't even sore the next day :) Well, the NEXT marathon will be a bit different...

    Heather said...

    what an inspiring experience! I was so jealous on Saturday of all the runners . . . I definitely have to run grandma's next year.

    Monica said...

    Wow! That sounds like you had an awesome job!

    Lindsay said...

    Sounds like a great experience!!! Have a great week :)

    Jen said...

    Super cool that you did this. I will be volunteering for a race before my marathon... and I hope I have a similar experience.

    X-Country2 said...

    What a great opportunity!

    Julie said...

    Thanks for volunteering Carly! I really enjoyed volunteering for the Wobegon marathon in early May:) I think it is funny that people were saying...never again:) You watch, that is what I am going to say too:)

    I was at the big tent too! I can't believe that I never ran into you! We will hook up next year when we both get into the half:)

    MCM Mama said...

    Fun! Fun! Fun! I love volunteering at races. How'd you get the lucky finish line spots?

    Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

    ohh man I can imagine being at the finish line would be incredible. I'm hoping to volunteer at a couple triatholons around here when I get back from all my silly travels.

    and that 70 year is probably one of the many passing me at mile 20

    Jess said...

    How fun! I would love to hand out medals...and maybe reward myself with one as well? ;)

    Lisa said...

    Volunteers rock. Thanks for being out there.

    And two engagements? Wow.

    Average A said...

    Carly! Thank you so much for volunteering and putting yourself in a position to touch so many sweaty, hurting people. We really appreciate it!! :) I have to say that this was my first Grandma's experience (any distance) and i LOVED IT! The pride Duluth has in their race was awe-inspiring. I would do it again in a heartbeat! :) Thank you for volunteering... that's something I definitely need to do more of. My report is almost done -- I'm just waiting for all the candid MarathonFoto photos of me suffering through all 26 miles. :P

    Claire said...

    How incredible!! Sounds like a wonderful time..and a wonderful idea...hmmmmmmmm

    funderson said...

    AWESOME! Thanks for sharing your time and sharing w/ us.

    Dawn said...

    Carly, That's so awesome! I got all choked up thinking about all the people you watched cross that magical finish line.
    What a great thing to do-volunteer for a race!
    :)

    wendy_kresha@charter.net said...

    My goal: run Grandma's next year! I love your perspective. Aren't you even more excited to be one of the runner's now? Awesome!

    Diane Fit to the Finish said...

    What a great post! Thank you for sharing what it felt like to watch everyone cross the finish line. I've never thought about it from that perspective.

    k2323 said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Cathy said...

    What a great experience! It is really emotional to me too to see all the finishers. Why is this called the Grandma Marathon?

    Robin said...

    Thanks for volunteering! I ran Grandmas marathon this year and loved the whole experience, especially the town of Duluth! I wished I could have spotted you to say thanks personally!

    Al's CL Reviews said...

    That sounds so fun and rewarding!

    lindsay said...

    i think being on your end is much better ;) i am sure it was a great experience to see the other side and watch all those marathon-finishers! way to go fam for volunteering

    Paula said...

    I can't help but stare in wonder at the elite athletes who work out at my gym. It looks like their legs are made of iron or something.

    The White Rock Marathon is such an emotional experience. We've got so many newcomers that it's really exciting to see people who are just starting their marathon 'careers.' lol.

    You have such a wonderful, positive attitude. Check out some of our work at www.TheDietSolutionProgram.com. We're also very passionate about health and fitness. Thanks!

    Deanna - The Unnatural Mother said...

    Awesome, and what a great idea!

    Ann said...

    what a cool experience. Almost made me want to run a marathon...