olunteer Spotlight - Elizabeth StupiJudy Alexander, June 2010
Brian and I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth Stupi at the pre-race pasta dinner the night before the 2010 Tallahassee Marathon (her first!) and she has continued to impress us ever since. Elizabeth showed up early for her 2-hour Springtime packet pickup shift at Shaw’s and she didn’t go home until many hours later. The next day, she skillfully handled the organization of many inexperienced volunteers at the finish line and proved that she is one of those indispensible self-starters who love a challenge and are natural leaders. At the Palace Saloon 5K she jumped in to help at registration and then she and Chika Okoro (Volunteer Spotlight, March 2009) stopped in the middle of the race to give aid to a runner who was having a seizure. Like all volunteers, Elizabeth really cares.
In the beginning, I had no intention of volunteering for Springtime. I was going to run in the 10K and hopefully score some Grand Prix points. I had been training. I had run a PR at the TRBC 10K. I was ready. Then, I got sick and any thoughts of a PR went out the window. In fact, any thoughts of racing went out the window. I could barely walk without getting winded, so running was definitely out of the question. Since I couldn’t run, I decided to do the next best thing. I sent an email to Judy and offered to help with the race.
The most interesting thing about Springtime this year is that, thanks to Disney’s “Give A Day, Get A Disney Day,” Judy and Brian managed to wrangle tons of newbie volunteers, many from outside of the running community. At packet pick-up and early registration, these folks worked in shifts to pass out race numbers and t-shirts. On race day, these volunteers were at the finish area bright and early and assisted with everything from calling mile splits to passing out medals in the finish chute to keeping the Gatorade well-stocked. If these non-runners were giving up their time to help with the race, I definitely could, especially since I benefit from the work of volunteers at so many other races throughout the year.
If you’ve never volunteered for a race, you’re missing out. It’s always fun and it’s only as time consuming as you want it to be. Have a few hours on a non-race day? You can stuff packets or help with packet pick-up and registration. Sick or injured or just not ready to run? Those are the perfect excuses to volunteer on race day! Maybe you’ll even get to work the finish chute, which is always an experience. This year’s Springtime race is not the first time I’ve volunteered for Gulf Winds, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.