Get Busy Living - Page 2
Photo by David Clifford
#2 Work an Aid Station
It's sometimes not enough to run a mile in someone else's shoes (and, besides, who knows what sort of foot fungus thrives there). Often the best way to discover a fresh perspective on trail running is to not run. Instead, swap the steely-eyed focus of Race Day for the furrowed brow and warm heart of an aid-station volunteer.
"I think it's an essential element of the sport to spend some time volunteering," says 39-year-old Brian Wyatt of Berkeley, California. "I feel a debt of gratitude to the volunteers giving up a day to help me pursue my passion, so [working an aid station] helps balance out the self-indulgent aspect of the running lifestyle."
Matt Hart, a 34-year-old ultramarathoner from Seattle, agrees and practices what he preaches. In early 2009 Hart volunteered for the Orcas Island and Chuckanut 50Ks. "When I can't race or a race doesn't fit into my training schedule, I still really enjoy being a part of it," he says. "It keeps my fire for the sport burning."
The best part? Volunteering is as easy as slicing bananas and clapping your hands. What's more, it's easy to find work; it will be a cold day in hell before any race organizer turns down volunteers. Simply look up a race (see Trail Runner's Race Calendar), and send an email.
"Races don't happen without great volunteers," says Hart. "And it gives you an appreciation for all the hard work that goes into your race day."