Volunteer Spotlight – Krista Killius and Emma Good
These two dynamic women teamed up to put on the Big Bend Cares AIDS 5K in October. While working the finish line, I found out that Krista had spearheaded the run portion of the local Corporate Cup Challenge. The folks who manage that race had asked me to help, but I couldn’t because I was already committed to working at a Club race that morning. Up until that day, I hadn’t known who had stepped up for the job…now I knew. Emma is another go-getter whose Spotlight speaks volumes about her experience not only as a volunteer, but also as a member of this club. If these don’t make you feel like jumping up to volunteer, I don’t know what will!
I have been running for about 12 years and have run every race from 5k to marathon. While I have always appreciated the volunteers who make races possible, I am sorry to say that I had never volunteered myself for a race until a little over a year ago. It took my son Ian and his Civics class volunteering requirement to get me to finally take the plunge and I’m so glad I did.
I started small. Ian and I stuffed race packets for the Tallahassee Marathon and worked the packet pick-up table for the Jingle Bell Run.
Months later, I was asked by Mary Barley, Director of Corporate Wellness for Gold’s Gym and Women’s World to help her with the Corporate Cup Challenge being planned by Working Well. Working Well is a community volunteer group whose goal is to get the workforce of our community healthier by teaching companies how to design and deliver wellness programs to their employees. The Corporate Cup Challenge is a multi-sport team event that includes running, biking, kayaking and a strength competition.
Even though I had run several races, I was completely inexperienced in planning and executing a race. With the help of Emma Good, another “newbie” who had recently announced she would be the race director for the Big Bend Cares 5k and some helpful advice and encouragement from Gulf Winds, the Corporate Cup Challenge was a successful and fun event.
Running has been a very important part of my life for the last several years, but until recently, has been incomplete. By volunteering, even in small ways, I have come to more fully appreciate all that the running community has to offer.
Why am I involved in the Gulf Winds community? Why does anyone do it? – Inspiration, Motivation and Passion the list is endless and most athletes can relate. Be it runners or tri-athletes my journey has allowed me to take the next challenge in life.
I moved from Oxford, England to Tallahassee in 1998. I tried unsuccessfully to move back to England last year. My return to the lovely island only lasted 6 months and I returned to Tallahassee in January 2009. Why? Tallahassee is now my home, my community, my family.
I was fortunate to find the Gulf Winds Beginners group about 5 years ago, who wouldn’t have been inspired by Nadine Dexter? That was the start of a journey that has led to bumper stickers that proudly read 26.2 and membership to USAT and being able to surround myself with amazing individuals who have given me encouragement, guidance, support and fun.
So it is my time to give back. Involving myself in the coordination of local 5K races has enabled me to return the favor, to open the door to others to partake on this journey. For all those who continue to think in the land of Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda and for those who need to discover the secret of banishing the ego and replacing it with humility. Running can do that for you, it has for me.
Running is an equal opportunity sport. It is not discriminatory. During many runs especially races, I take a back seat to Traditionalists (born 1900-1945) and Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) and it makes me appreciate being a part of an amazing world. Running allows people of different abilities, skills sets, and goals to become part of a community. It teaches people the potential power of a team, and how to harness your inner strength.
My last race (an Olympic distance triathlon) left another powerful moment in my life. As a participant it was the volunteers that supported me. When I saw the sign the volunteers had made at the last bike water station which asked me how much my bum hurt it was no coincidence that I wanted to get off my bike, place it gently next to a tree and start walking. But relentless cheering volunteers lifted my spirit. Shortly after, I found myself running 6.2miles with wobbly legs, burning quads and a numb bottom. I fell into a trance of sorts and found myself re-living conversations I have had with my running buddies: Robin, Vicky & Shelby. I think I even giggled out loud at one point to the conversation I was having in my head with my absent running buddies. That is when I smiled and celebrated the joy running has brought to my life.
Running is a personal journey. A journey that in its own right, regardless of the end result, promotes health and vitality, it nurtures the enjoyment of life and yes I am a perfectionist but I am indifferent to success or failure if I learn to celebrate and respect the journey. I have found my passion and reflection helps me to remember how lucky I am. My goal is to help others strive to find their running passion.