Posted by: Karen | August 27, 2007

Robert Hamilton Memorial Race – Volunteering

I think this is the first year in the last five or six that it has actually rained on RHM race day. We’ve had colder starts where I could actually see my breath, but usually the sun comes out by the time they’re handing out awards. This year it had rained during the night, but it held back during most of the race. Then it gradually returned during the post-race festivities.

I showed up early, helped the race directors set out bagels and juice boxes, and visited with friends. Other volunteers set up the clock, a sound system, some shelters to keep the awards and silent auction tables dry, and headed out to water stations. It was a shame the coffee sponsors didn’t show – they would have been a very welcome addition to the group.

I met Leana, a running blogger Dawn had mentioned to me – she was going to work the finish line. I look forward to running with her on an upcoming Tuesday night soon. I got to wish both Dawn and Sarah a good race, and we clowned around with my camera in the portapotty line.

I had volunteered to be a course marshal again this year, and retained my same, dual-position post in the first and last mile. As I waited for the race to begin, I pulled out some chalk I’d stashed in a baggie in my raincoat and wrote a couple of encouraging messages on the route.

Chalk Cheering

I had a great view of all the racers as they came up the road to my first turn, and was able to cheer on several by name. To the rest, I urged them to have fun and to run through some puddles for me.

My second post was under the 16th Avenue bridge by the river, closer to the finish. I had a wild park on one side and a groomed picnic park on the other, with a view of the river in between, so it was quite a pretty place to wait. Again, I produced the chalk and used up the rest of it writing a couple more messages and making directional arrows.

By the time the racers came back, the temperature had dropped and I’d donned my noisy leather mittens. They made a great echoing noise under the bridge when I clapped and cheered. This race doesn’t have very many entrants, so sometimes there were big gaps between racers. Once in a while when I saw runners coming wa-a-a-ay down the road towards me I’d let out a holler of encouragement.

Our club photgrapher was out taking photos. I was glad to see her, because I was having a hard time getting good shots in the rain with my little digital while still directing and cheering on runners. I erased a lot of blurry shots when I got home. Go see Kathy’s photos on the Calgary Roadrunner site. I’ve got more photos too on my Flickr.

By the time I’d picked up some flags and made it back to the clock, the post-race ceremonies had already begun. The drizzle was evolving into a sprinkle, and the wet racers who stuck around looked wet and cold. Not grumpy, just soggy. I’d missed Robert Hamilton’s brother’s message, but I cheered loudly when both Sarah and Dawn netted first place age group cookies – woohoo! From what I know, the silent auction and the used-shoe drop-off was a big success, with a healthy benefit going to The Mustard Seed.

I helped with the tear-down and Jim and I became totally stumped when we tried to fold up the big red canopy. As everyone else finished with their jobs and joined in, we had seven of us frowning at this canopy that would not fold. I had to laugh – I felt like we were enduring a Survivor challenge. Finally, Bruce discovered a pin we should have pulled, and eureka! it worked.

I stopped by the grocery store on the way home, and then crawled back into bed for a two hour afternoon nap. Ahhhhh, nothing like a nap on a rainy Sunday.



  1. You’re a pretty multi-talented gal, arencha? Athletic abilities as a runner, social butterfly of a cheerleader, phototographer (b.t.w I checked out the flicker photos – nice! I laughed when I saw that caption about me being a blur though!), sidewalk chalk artist, and tent folding engineer. The world needs more people like you!

  2. Sounds like you had a much better day than I did (the phone woke me up from my afternoon nap even), but it ended with Wayne and Elsie arriving from Yellowknife, so that made it end special anyway. Amost always helps when our adult kids come home!


%d bloggers like this: