This year as Volunteer Coordinator for the Dallas Running Club, one of my jobs was to coordinate the volunteers for our biggest annual event – the DRC Half. It’s 39 years old. No, seriously. 39 and no intention of holding. However, this is one race that manages to only get better with age. There are two amazing Race Directors, Steve and Linda, an equally amazing Communications Director, Rachel, and a gaggle of team leads, including me. What makes this race a little different from most? We are all volunteers. Yep, all the money we make goes back into the club and out to deserving high school cross country runners through the Tal Morrison Scholarship program, our local trail groups and a few other running non-profits. We all have full-time jobs, so you would think we would all just slap this baby together and hope for the best. However, this is one of the better half marathons you can run each year in Dallas. This year, we even added an Expo and none of this could be pulled off without a few hundred amazing volunteers giving up their time and love to the club.
For the sake of no one caring about boring meetings and logistics of porto locations and the correct length of barricades needed or the never-ending loop of “you can’t get a Special Use Permit without the Food Permit but you can’t get your Food Permit without the Special Use Permit,” I’m going to jump to race weekend. What a crazy time it was! All day Saturday, forty volunteers set up tables and chairs, hung signage, marked the course, blocked off parking, sorted shirts, loaded post-race food, unwrapped medals and loaded water. We tested sound equipment and even fought off fire ants in November! As the sun went down and everyone was heading out for the evening to (hopefully) get a good night’s sleep before the 3:30am wake-up call, I looked around at the race site. It was hard not to get a little teary-eyed at what a small group of people could physically put together. It was really a beautful site and I was so proud that we did it together. I couldn’t wait for a few thousand of my friends to see what we did for them.
Arriving at 5 am Sunday, the site was already starting to hop with people all doing a job. It was the final hour before everyone would be there to run. I admit now to being stubborn about running this race. Seriously, what was I thinking? I actually had one of my worst races ever. But, as I made the final turn back to the race site, I saw it and it was beautiful. People lined the finish area. The beer garden was packed. Smiles were on everyone’s faces. It was a party and a darn good one at that. Norbuck Park was beautiful! I couldn’t be more proud of what two hundred volunteers made happen on the first weekend in November. I would say that I felt like a proud parent, but that distinction really goes to the Race Directors for working for an entire year on this event. So, I will gratefully accept the role of “proud Auntie” instead. To know I played a role in pulling off one of the best Half Marathons in Dallas? Yep, I’ll take it!