Sunday, March 6, 2011

Volunteer Race Report: Red Rock Half/Full Marathon

Speedwork does not scare me
Downhills do not scare me
Bad weather does not intimidate me
The one thing I fear and absolutely mentally shut down….running hills

Have I had a bad experience on hills?
Not really

I know when I run a hill – when I make it to the top (not matter how slow I am running) I want to physically collapse. That is a feeling I don’t like. So, I avoid it. I know. Whimp.

So, instead of sitting at home while many of my fellow Vegas runners were brave enough to run the Red Rock Half/Full Marathon – my boys and I volunteered at the race.

They desperately wanted to help out at my last race. So, thought this would be a good time for volunteering. Me = chicken to run hills, Boys = wanting to volunteer

Red Rock Race Day is coordinated by Calico Racing. Joyce (Owner/Operator) agreed to allow my two boys to volunteer. Thank you, Joyce!

We left the house at 6:20 – arrived at Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive EXIT around 7:00am. If you have never seen the sunrise at Red Rock Canyon, do it. It always takes my breath away. For those who visit Vegas, you can see the beauty of Red Rock from your hotel room – if you are facing West. It’s worth an early morning wake-up.

Considering the week our family has had, it was nice to get out of the house. For those who don’t know. We have a very ill dog. Our oldest dog, Ladybug (Jack Russell) is having kidney issues. All of us have been emotional wrecks this week. We brought her home for the weekend and she is doing well (considering) and we will return to the Vet on Monday for a check up and to knock this illness to the curb.

With that, my husband was home Saturday AM (to attend to her medical needs) – that way, I could get the boys out of the house (and me) for a few hours.
Weather was perfect. No wind and the temps were great.

We met up with other volunteers. First thing, unloading the gear bags from the buses. My boys were in their element. They got to help out and be a part of something. Yes, they are real children, not some alien beings. They knew we were there to work, and work they did. I am glad they had the chance to watch a few of my races – as they clearly understood that it was ALL about the athletes, at all times.

Here are pictures of where the gear bags were placed and the food area. I was surprised to see so many identical bags AND without any sort of ID. I can only hope athletes found their own bag, after the race. One piece of advice – ALWAYS put your ID info on your bag, even if you think no one has a bag like yours.

We knew our next duty was to go to the Finish Line, however – no runners coming in yet, so we hung out at the food. Helped out there and gave my kids an early AM snack.

Then, at our appointed time – we were brought over to the Finish Line. I was one of the people who clipped off the timing chips and my boys handed out Finisher Medals. That was perfect! My boys wanted have that task.

Here is a picture of the Finish Line as they were completing the set-up

First Runner came in, a male from NY state who won the Half Marathon, Morgan Thompson

Right behind the third place MALE winner came the Female Winner of the Half Marathon also from NY State, Heidi Schaller

At her finish, Morgan was right behind me and I turned to him and said,"are you two related?" He kindly pointed out that they were boyfriend/girlfriend.

What a great moment to see the both of them WIN their Overall Division.
Welcome to Vegas, Morgan and Heidi – hope you enjoyed your time in Vegas!

My boys did their best to put the medals around the necks of the athletes, as they were instructed to. Although I can tell you, the last thing most athletes want at that second is to pause to have a medal put around their neck. Your body is shaking, your head is spinning – it take a lot of energy to just stop for us to clip off their timing chip. However, when it wasn’t bottle necked with incoming racers, most did pause for my son to place their medal around their neck. My kids would gloriously proclaim “CONGRATULATIONS!”

That’s my boys.

After the initial group of runners – we waited a bit more and then runners started piling in.

As a runner – I have experienced the other side. I have seen volunteer’s faces as I cross and I was so glad to see them standing there.

So, every runner, we would hoop and holler them in. They deserved it. They have run the most difficult Vegas course, Red Rock Canyon.

There were some tears when they crossed (I can relate!)
There were lots of smiles when they crossed (I can relate!)

A few runners had some medical needs as they crossed (after my asthma attack at my last race, I can relate!). Rest assured, medics were always standing by.

Watching the runners come in and seeing people I knew..from FB, Twitter and my Running Club (Sin City Road Runners).

At times, runners would tell me that was their first Half Marathon or Marathon. Quite often, I had to hold back my own tears – as I remember the moment I finished the Vegas Half and I knew exactly how they were feeling. I got lots of sweaty hugs that morning, but I didn’t mind. It was their moment, I was honored to share it with them.

As we finished our 4 hour shift – and close to 900 runners crossed that Finish Line, I am grateful that my boys and I could be at this event to cheer on the athletes.

They say you never forget your first time. I know we will never forget out first time volunteering.

The Running Community is great.

So glad to be a part of it.
Live and Run Strong,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Half-Marathoner, Business Blogger, Public Speaker & Hosts IMPACT Radio Channel
~My Facebook Fan Page ~Follow Me on Twitter


  1. Well, Charlene, I tahnk you and your boys VERY much for your hard work and dedicated volunteer time yesterday!!

    I started out volunteering after I got an itch to do a triathlon. I was never an active person until I started that training. I heard of Joyce through the Vegas athlete grapevine and offered to come out to volunteer fr the Angel race (January 2009) with my then 6 year old. We served at a mile 4 aid station around 6am. I was hooked. On running and volunteering. I immediately signed up for the February Mardi Gras 5k and it was my first race ever. I raced some 5k's and volunteered all year long. As Angel came back around the next year (2010), I decided to go for the Half Slam! I finished my first Half Marathon exactly one year after my first volunteer position at that same race on the same course. It was amazing.

    Another race I think you would highly enjoy, if you don't run it, is the Running with the Devil. Those runners are high needs and are SO inspiring! I volunteered in 2009 at mile 20 & 30 station for the 50 miler runners - WOW was that the most intense volunteering experience of my life! I was so disappointed to not be volunteering in 2010, but it was the last half marathon I needed to complete my half slam.

    Anyway - getting myself and my children out there has been a HUGE part of my running experience. Without the motivation volunteering provides, I don't know how far along I'd be! My kids are inspired and have started running (at only 3, 5, and 8!) Volunteering has become just as important to our family as running itself.


  2. Thank you Charlene, your boys, Val, and the many wonderful volunteers that make Calico Racing a success. I couldn't do it without you all- and it sure wouldn't be as much fun!!

    : )

  3. Thanks for the comments. Kids are bugging me about when they can volunteer again :)

    Joyce, I will be in touch!


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