In my eternal quest to prove you don’t have to run a marathon to feel like you ran a marathon, I spent the first two-thirds of my weekend in Kenosha working at the Wisconsin Marathon.


This was actually, believe it or not, the second time I’ve worked Wisconsin. I’ve got to say, though, I enjoyed this time much more than the first year I worked it, if for no other reason than this time, I came from Chicago rather than Michigan to work the event, and let me tell you, those extra few hours on the road totally make a difference. Not once this past weekend did I feel drunk on exhaustion, which, all things considered, is a pretty huge accomplishment in my mind.

Things began almost-bright and way-too-early when my alarm went off at 5:30 Friday morning. I powered through my normal morning routine and had a big ol’ bowl of oatmeal to kiss anything resembling healthy eating goodbye for the next 36ish hours. Around 6:30, Erin arrived at my door and we were off to Wisconsin!

I spent all of Friday handing out bibs to the full and half marathoners, telling them that “runner info, a program, and pins are here if you’re interested, and your shirt and bag are *gestures with both arms* on the other side of the room.” Laughably, I managed to tweak my shoulder by literally doing the same motion well over 1000 times, but I’m happy to report that it was nothing but an overuse injury that healed itself overnight. Thank goodness. I’d hate to have my breakdancing negatively affected by an injury I developed working packet pickup.


I also spent all of Friday eating as much junk food as I could get my paws on, which I think made the day go a lot faster than some other times I’ve done things like this. Normally I hit the wall, if you will, with an hour left of expo-ing, but I never bonked this year. Shoutout to the many 100 calorie Chips Deluxe, Cheez It, and Fudge Shoppe cookie packs I consumed for keeping me fueled. Even bigger shoutout to Erin who helped me maintain my HLB cred by graciously sharing her sugar snap peas with me when we got pizza for dinner. I believe she said something to the effect of, “In case you want something green,” whilst pouring the pea pods onto my plate, to which I said, “Literally the only green thing I’ve eaten today are peanut M&Ms.” Haha. (But really. Those M&Ms you guys. Could not get enough).

Our alarms went off at the God-forsaken hour of 3:45 a.m. Saturday, and by 4:30, Erin, several other volunteers, and I had all arrived at the race site. It’s experiences like those that make me believe every runner, particularly every runner prone to whining, should have to work a race in order to keep their Runner Card. You can’t really understand how hard race directors work until you’re wearing a head lamp, organizing boxes of t-shirts before sunrise. Although, I do guess being up before sunrise does means you get to watch the sun rise.


Can’t complain too much about that.

Erin and I were both on runner info duty, which mostly involved exchanging one t-shirt for a larger or smaller size. Once the race started, we didn’t have much to do, so I trekked over to the course to spectate and take pictures. I actually spotted Kim, which made me feel like a pretty A+ spectator, because I feel like it can be tricky to find people sometimes, especially when you’re not spectating specifically to see them. I tried to see Sierra as well [who, p.s., totally kicked tail running her first marathon ever], but I think I was taking pictures when she ran past me, so I missed her. Sad day ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I planned to take pictures at the finish line as well, but grossly underestimated the time it would take the first runner to finish the half marathon. Around 8:15 I saw police lights followed by bikers in fluorescent yellow and said, “Holy crap! The first runner is already finishing!” As a 2:22 half marathoner myself, I’m pretty darn impressed by someone who can run that distance AN HOUR faster than I can. I missed his finish but stuck around the finish line for awhile anyway. Erin joined me and we saw Kim finish, which made me feel like an even MORE A+ spectator because I more or less unintentionally saw her TWICE, and how does that even happen? Haha. I also saw a juggling man finish, which was a bit mindblowing. He juggled and ran the entire 13.1 miles. I can’t juggle when I’m standing still, let alone while moving, let alone while running a freakingย half marathon. Takeaway: the real A+ for the day does not go to me for my spectating, but to juggling man for, you know, juggling a half marathon.


I divided the rest of my day between the runner info tent and the finish line, and around 1:30 had permission to leave. I never really bonked on Saturday, either, as far as working endurance goes…credit for that probably belongs to the billion Dunkin Donuts Munchkins I ate at the runner info tent ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, lesson learned: the best way to work a marathon is to eat as much junk food as possible. Noted.

On an unrelated note, I also have to give a HUGE shoutout to my two best-friends-from-high-school-that-I’m-still-friends-with, one of which ran her first half marathon on Sunday, and the other of which ran her first 5K on Sunday (and texted me afterwards to say that she is “totally going to do another one…#addicted.” JUST what I like to hear! I love it when people come to the dark side ๐Ÿ™‚ ). Not only are they both fabulous people to begin with, but they are now even more fabulous-er because they are runner people, and goodness knows anyone that’s a runner person gets instant bonus points in the fabulous department.

Have you ever worked at a race?
Any races this weekend?ย I feel like nearly everyone I know either raced, went to prom, or graduated from college this weekend. Lots of big occasions for 48 hours!

14 thoughts on “Marathoning

  1. I grew up having to volunteer at road races when I was younger for my mom’s job (okay, I didn’t technically have to but she gave me the option of that or running and there was no way in hell I was doing a 5k at that point… look at me now). Now I really enjoy it! Obviously I’d rather run but if I’m getting munchkins out of it…. it must be worth it! I think I need to take up joggling. That. is. freaking. awesome.

    • Seriously, I had no idea joggling was a thing, or that it even had a word to describe it. I’m so behind the times on running trends, clearly. And trust me, usually I’d rather run, too…although the junk food was a definite draw to the volunteering aspect ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Thanks fot the recap from the other point of view! I’ve never worked a race or even in a race… woops!

    Next to jogglers, i like seeing people that break into dance mid run!

  3. Ok fine…you convinced me to volunteer at a race before the year is over…remind me of that in october when i’ve completely forgotten to do it and am quickly running out of time ๐Ÿ˜›

  4. You are an awesome volunteer and spectator! Thanks for seeing me twice! It is so awesome to see a familiar face when you are struggling. As I was ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hee hee.

    And thank you for all the hard work you do. I cannot imagine how exhausted you guys must have been after these two days. Duly noted about the junk food. Hee hee ๐Ÿ˜‰ I need to volunteer more. I should do that this summer. It’s probably less stressful than racing. Wait. Probably not ๐Ÿ˜‰

    That is so great your HS friends are getting in to running! Are they still around your hometown?

    • Struggling but still getting a PR, you superstar!

      Hahaha I volunteered for F^3 this past winter, and when I got the e-mail telling me what hours I’d be working, my first thought was, “Why on earth am I volunteering this instead of running it? I could be in and out SO much faster if I would just run!” Haha.

      Yes they are! They ran a race in my town that I’d love to run someday…although maybe someday when I’m not training in Chicago, since there are a lot of hills on that course, and I’m pretty sure the only time my elevation changes on my Chicago runs is when I’m stepping on and off the curb ๐Ÿ˜‰

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s