“Pay it Forward” as a Triathlon Volunteer at Arizona Ironman
Those who compete in triathlons are usually so focused on the task at hand that they don't really notice the things going on around them as they race. There may be a peripheral awareness of what race volunteers are doing, but when you are in the middle of an intense, physically demanding competition almost everything else fades into the background. Once I completed my Ironman in 2007, my wife and I decided toPay it Forward as Triathlon Volunteers at Arizona Ironman 2008, 2009, 2010, and we intend on it this year.
Why Competitors Should Volunteer
If you have competed in triathlons but have never volunteered to help out, there are two good reasons why you might want to consider rectifying that oversight. First, volunteering will give you an excellent chance to find out what is happening on the “other side” of a competition. You will find out first hand everything that goes into organizing a smoothly run race, and this is likely to increase your appreciation of the work that volunteers do exponentially the next time you race.
Hopefully, you are already the type of person who says 'thank you' when a volunteer passes you water, hands you equipment, or answers your questions before or during a competition. But even if you weren't doing that before, you definitely will be doing it after you have had a chance to spend time volunteering at triathlons yourself. Those who give of themselves to help triathlons go off without a hitch deserve our respect and gratitude, and this is something you will never forget when you have had a chance to serve alongside of them.
The second reason for volunteering is the chance you will have to give something back. Many, if not most of the people who volunteer at triathlons are not competitors themselves. They might be local residents who take pride in their communities and want to see events held in their towns turn out successfully; or perhaps they are people who just enjoy the sport and relish the opportunity to meet the professional athletes and observe an event up close. Even though these people don't owe anything to the sport per se, they are still willing to make sacrifices to help a competition succeed.
But competitors do owe something to the sport - to its sponsors, to its fans, and to the other competitors. Volunteering for an event you are not planning to compete in is an excellent way to “pay it forward,” so to speak. Your help will be appreciated, you will learn a lot, and you will be fulfilling at least a little of your obligation to all the fine dedicated folks who have made it possible for you to pursue the sport you love.
But the truth of the matter is this: without the selfless and tireless efforts of scores of volunteers, it would not be possible for sponsors to put on a first-class, well-organized triathlon. Volunteers perform a mind-boggling number of jobs during a triathlon, and unlike elite competitors race volunteers usually have to remain until last athlete has finished. Volunteers serve with dedication, passion, and enthusiasm, and successful triathlons depend on the time and energy they invest.
One of the great things about volunteering at a triathlon is the wide variety of duties you could potentially perform depending on your personal preference. Some of the areas that have jobs available for volunteers at triathlons include:
Specialized duties in each of these areas varies but basically your job if you volunteer will be to provide some combination of services could involve furnishing water or sports drinks; making sure equipment is properly placed and accessible; answering any questions participants have; directing car and foot traffic; making sure the rules of the race are followed and providing encouragement to each and every competitor until the last person has finished.
Do It For Yourself
If what you have read so far is not enough to convince you to volunteer, then there is one other thing you should consider – volunteering at triathlons can be a whole lot of fun. You will get the chance to see all the action at an exciting sports competition up close and personal, while feeding off the energy and the enthusiasm from everyone assembled, including the spectators, the competitors, and all of your fellow volunteers. People who volunteer at one triathlon almost always end up volunteering at others simply because the experience is so memorable and satisfying on every level. So “Pay it Forward” as a Triathlon Volunteer at Arizona Ironman or any of your local events.
Shane M. Cook
Entreprenuer, Realtor, Investor
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