Volunteer Spotlight – Mark Priddy

With Judy Alexander, Oct 2007

Modesty is a common character trait that I encounter each and every time I approach a potential “Spotlight” volunteer.  As you will read, Mark Priddy is no exception to that rule.  Read on, and if it’s been a while since you’ve volunteered at a race or if you’ve NEVER volunteered before, his words are sure to get you fired up to do so!   

Why do you volunteer at GWTC events? 

When first asked that question, I brushed it off with the response: “Compared to others, I really don’t do very much”.  I still believe that.   Then, I really began to remember all those many (and sometimes anonymous) people who encouraged me during any one of my races.  I now have a clearer understanding of why I love to volunteer and why I strongly encourage YOU to get involved.

The running events you enjoy so much as a club member simply would not take place without volunteers.  The Tallahassee Marathon alone needs 85 to 100 volunteers to monitor traffic…and that doesn’t include water stops, finish line people and volunteers for dozens of other details associated with the event.

 You can have the best race plan and fastest course ever devised, the best Race Director in charge, the best charitable cause from which to draw tons of entry forms, but without the volunteers, there would be no event…period.  Volunteer RD’s make dozens of decisions, volunteers mark the course at 4 am, set up (and disassemble) water stops, direct you, encourage you, and finally, they clean up after you!  Please show your appreciation, thank them and offer to help!

It Sounds Like A Lot Of Work, So Why Should I Volunteer? 

Well, first of all, I really enjoy the energy and excitement associated with race day.  Sherlock Holmes said it best: “My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the common place of existence”.  Runners are highly motivated and high-energy people to be around.  Just sign up to volunteer for any event and your adrenaline flows for hours and hours after you go home!  The excitement spills over into the rest of your day!

 You CAN make a difference!

Several years ago when I was struggling at the 18 mile mark of a marathon in San Diego, I approached a water table which was staffed with a volunteer group of what appeared to be middle school age girls with pom poms and in cheerleaders uniforms.

One little girl (couldn’t have been more than 12 or 13 years old), saw that I was hurting and she ran along side with me for 6 or 7 minutes, giving me encouragement.  Even though she was out of sight of her group, she kept running with me and, before she turned back, she made me promise that I would not quit. What a wonderful volunteer!

Volunteers here in Tallahassee, cheer and call out encouragement during many races.  I have made it a point to find out their names, and even though they may not know it, I will always remember who they are.  You made a difference in my day and I want to return that blessing by volunteering and encouraging others as they run.

You ARE making a Contribution!

Look at the race calendar.  Call the Race Director and ask to be assigned.  Yeah, it can be scary at first, but volunteering will become an addictive experience! You will serve with some wonderful people, and make new friends.  I promise you that you will benefit and be blessed by the experience. Do it once, and you WILL feel a sense of satisfaction from the experience!