We decided to volunteer again for New York Road Runner for four main reasons: it is really fun to volunteer, it was guaranteeing us a ticket for next year Brooklyn Half Marathon, it is helping New York Road Runner and it is a really good full body exercise.
We elected to be working at the baggage area at the finish line. Arrival time was requested by 6:30. Better than the departure line which started at 4:00 a.m. Yes, we are super tired from our week of 5 x 5:45 wake up time. On week days, I’m at the office at 6:45 till 6:00, 6:30 or 7:00ish. Long days.
We took a Dial7 luxury town car to drive us to Coney Island at 5:30, on the West side high way, down through the tunnel to Brooklyn, then under the Verrazano bridge. Easy drive in the early morning. We saved 45 minutes by not taking the subway 😉
We arrive on time, took a tea and eat our bagels in the volunteer welcome area and then started setting up the baggage area on the parking of the MCU stadium, a baseball park next to Coney Island amusement park. We worked the 10,000~11,999 truck, then moved to the 34,000~35,999 truck.
At one point, i went to the porta potty and they were locked. It was before the first runners arrived. I just turned around and an official gave me a cutter and asked me if i could open up all the toilets ;-), which i did without hurting myself (hey, i’m lefty !)
We lined up half of the bags on the ground, sorted by number. The second half stayed in the UPS truck for a while. Runners started to come in slowly, then we had a big peak of arrivals, with many runners lining up. Some bags were placed with the late truck, and some runners had to wait a little bit. One VIP guy could not find his bag which was embarrassing for a VIP. I hope he recovered it.
The first runner showed up at 1:10 after departure time. Amazing. Then, the crowds of wave 1 came in around 1:30~1:50. The runners of the second wave came in much slowly, more spread over time which was really better for us.
All our bags went away by 11:30 for both trucks.
After a 30 minutes patch of strong rain, the sun came back finally to dry up the runners and ourselves.
I really like to volunteer at the arrival. The runners sometime share their success story and it is quite inspiring, such as their story of their first half, their first race or their struggle to finish.
It is also a very good full body work out, sorting out thousands of bags, picking up them on the ground and giving them to the awaiting runners.
We discuss with team leaders and they mentioned that they ran the departure line with 62 volunteers out of 300 who registered. Of course, we expected rain in the morning but such a large ratio of no-show is troubling. They mentioned that for a sunny day, 60% of the volunteers are showing up, under the rain, 30% would come and 10% only under the snow ! Difficult to organize ! I understand that the 9+1 is a good motivation tool for marathon runners. Maybe the same 5+1 or 4+1 could be set up for NYC Half marathon and a more stringent -1 for no show without prior notice. Any way, it is their show, their rules !
By 12:00, we were let go. We walked to the finish line where a kids race was happening. I saw the NYRR president. and some runners/walkers finishing in 5:00+
We walked past Nathan Famous Hot Dog shops but both were really crowded with tired runners !
We’ll be back to Coney Island to see the Atlantic Ocean and give a try to the world famous hot dog specialty!
A good day, a good volunteering experience ! And we’ll run the same half marathon next year with our guaranteed entry!