Volunteering at the b Strong 5k

Tina and I have started taking the approach this summer, to save money on race entries, that for the most part, only one of us will run a race at a time.  There have been a few exceptions to this, but for the most part, it has worked out well for us.  Also, lack of child care doesn’t make it convenient for us to race at the same time as well.  

Saturday, Tina decided to run in the b Strong 5k in Bremen, IN.  This is a first year event.  b STRONG foundation was set up in honor of Karen Neeley who is described on the  b STRONG website as a hometown hero who loved God and His faithfulness gave her strength through her journey with lung cancer. Karen was a avid runner, and lived a healthy life. She was also described as very courageous in her fight and gave hope to others. All funds raised through the organization go helping children and families in the community, to help them thrive in faith, education, and fitness. 

As I mentioned, Tina ran this 5k.  Since I was not, and had some time in my hands with three kids in tow, I figured we might as well volunteer.  I had contacted the race organizers in advanced and explained that Tina would be running and that I would have three kids with me. It would like to help out.  They found me a pretty easy job, making sure that no traffic crossed the intersection 2 blocks away from the starting line.  Bremen is a really small town, and on a Saturday morning, there isn’t too much traffic anyways, so this was manageable, even with one of the kids being a 2 year old who loves to explore.    

  The race organizers made signs for volunteers to hold up as encouragement to the runners and also a bell to ring.  Derek loves to ring the cow bell.

  
I am impressed by the support that small town races get from their community law enforcement.  This was a completely closed course, with absolutely no traffic allowed.  After all the runners passed our intersection and we took down the caution tape, the kids and I decided to go to another intersection to continue cheering on the runners until at least we saw Tina run by.  

   
After we saw Tina a second time, the kids and I ran (call it a warmup before the girls one mile run) to the finish line to see her finish.  Tina finished in a time of 32:01.  Not her fastest time, but after being on vacation and not feeling well for a week, it was a good day for her. The way they did age group awards was a little odd.  Here is how they broke the age groups down: 10 and under, 11-13, 14-15, 16-18, 19-24, 25-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60 and up. Tina would not have finished in the top 3 either way, but just thought the breakdown was a little odd.   

  
There were also a handful of other local runners we knew running in this race:   Clinton Dickens placed 2nd in the 40-49 age division
 David Dodd won the 50-59 age division

   Kathy Mikel won the her division
 And we are not sure they got a finishing time for Mark Mikel (just kidding).  After a couple knee replacements, can’t blame him for walking. 

This was one of the most well volunteered race I have seen in a small town. I believe they had over 125 volunteers and Tina said that they had volunteers at every possible intersection.  

There was also one other awesome aspect of the race, the bell at the top of “b Strong Hill” below is a post from the b STRONG Facebook page to explain the bell.  

   
The kids fun run started an hour after the 5k started.  I would imagine they did the mile after so they would have time to figure out the results of the 5k (not a chipped time race). Both girls ran very well and both ran PR times.   

  Emma ran a 9:19 mile

  Chloe ran a 10:31.  
 

Since my wife ran this race, I have asked her for her lists of pros and cons. Here are her thoughts:

Pros:

-race started on time

-lots of volunteers

-clear race route (seriously, it would have been impossible to get off course)

-tech shirt

-reasonable cost ( I think Tina registered for $15)

– packet pickup was smooth

Cons

-no chip timing ( trying to save money, and I don’t blame them)

-results were not posted before awards.
This was a very organized race.  Even though they did not do chip timing, things seemed to run very smoothly with results and there wasn’t as much of a delay as was expected. I’m believe they started awards about 30 minutes earlier than planned. 

Volunteering at a race has its rewards.  It’s good to give back to the running community.  Remember, if there are no volunteers, then these races that we love to run can not happen.  So the next time that there is a local race that you are not sure you want to run in, doesn’t fit in your budget, or maybe you are injured, help the race out and volunteer.  I even got a tech shirt for volunteering. 

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