Hartford Marathon: Elite Athlete Volunteer

Day 2 of Hartford Marathon volunteering – race day!

(If you missed Day 1 volunteering at registration you can find it HERE!)

Saturday morning I arrived at Bushnell Park, the location of the race day activities, bright and early!

Ok, it was definitely not bright at 5:30am, but the park was already alive with staff and volunteers getting everything ready for the runners to arrive!

I checked in at the volunteer tent, got my jacket, credentials, some maps and a hot coffee (major plus having volunteer coffee!) and headed over to my assigned race day location – the elite athlete tent!

HMF Early Morning

Elite Athlete Location – right next to the finish line!

I met our location coordinators and helped them get set up as we waited for the rest of the volunteers to arrive.

Once everyone was there we had a quick group meeting where our leaders gave us an overview of what was expected and assigned us different responsibilities.

Since I was the first volunteer to arrive I was given the first assignment – 1st place men.

Here’s what I had to do:

  • approach 1st place finisher for each race (5k, half and full marathon) right after they crossed the finish line and offer them a bottle of water or Gatorade
  • escort them to the elite tent to get their clothes to stay warm
  • bring them over to the podium for awards presentation to take place as soon as the 2nd and 3rd place finishers were ready 
  • bring the 1st place finisher to the media tent for an interview
  • drop them back off at the elite tent

Ummm…awesome!

Our first order of business though was getting all these elite athletes to the starting line!

HMF Starting LineWe escorted our group of elites right up to the front of the starting line and grabbed any extra clothes they wanted us to bring back to the tent for them and once they were off and running we hustled back to the finish line since it wouldn’t take long for the 5k winner to get there!

Sure enough 14 minutes and 55 seconds later there was William Sanders flying (really, I actually think he may have been flying) across the finish line!

HMF 5k WinnersAfter awards and media with William I headed back to the elite tent to get ready for the half marathon winner, my new Kenyan friend (who even invited me to Kenya!) Julius Mbuga who finished a cool 13.1 miles in 1:05:13 and looked like he barely broke a sweat!

HMF Half Marathon Winner

2013 Hartford Half Marathon Winner (and me!)

And last, but not least, the winner of the full marathon in 2:19:26, Getachew Melese!

HMF Winner

2013 Hartford Marathon Winner crossing the finish line!

And yes, I took that picture…see how close I was!

There was definitely a bit of a language barrier with Getachew so we found his translator, made it through the awards and then over to the media tent.

HMF Media Tent

Getachew Melese and his translator/ manager in the media tent.

And with that my formal volunteer duties for the day were complete!

But, I definitely wasn’t giving up my awesome finish line location, so I stayed and cheered in runners just about until the end of the race!  (I really wanted to stay until the very end, but I was exhausted and needed to head home to get in a run of my own!)

On my way out I walked through the finish line festival area and checked out some of the sponsor tents – it honestly couldn’t have been a more gorgeous day!

HMF Finish FestivalI was really fortunate to have such a unique volunteer assignment.  Working with the elite athletes right at the finish line was a really awesome experience and I’d love to do it again!

That being said, I’m sure I’d love volunteering at a water station too and cheering on all the runners as they come through – I’m looking forward to that experience just as much!

What would your ideal race day volunteer location be?

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11 thoughts on “Hartford Marathon: Elite Athlete Volunteer

  1. What an amazing volunteer assignment. I have volunteered at a couple local races, but my assignment every time was on course direction. Still fun, but nothing like what you did! Hope MCM takes place….what a nightmare for all of you running!

    • I had a great time, but I have to admit, I sort of missed not being able to cheer on all the “regular” runners, but I figured I may as well take advantage of this opportunity and I can work a water stop or course direction next time!

      Fingers crossed for MCM too!

  2. I know not to compare my times, but seesh! A sub-15 minute 5k??? I’d love to volunteer at the finish line, but I don’t think I’d mind volunteering at the Expo either. Both seem like a lot of fun.

  3. Pingback: 2013 Goals Review | Live, Run, Grow

  4. Pingback: Fall Marathon(s) | Live, Run, Grow

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