Sunday, May 12, 2013

Marathon Expo Volunteer

Last weekend I spent a painful 8 hours volunteering at the New Jersey Marathon Expo for the Trenton Half Marathon. My job as an Ambassador was to encourage people to sign up for the November 9th race. My compensation for spending a gorgeous Saturday indoors was free race entry, a windbreaker from last year's race, and a broken promise about lunch. 

As with last year's half marathon the organization made lots of promises they just could not fulfill. The biggest one was that lunch would be provided. As the event ran from 10-6, this was important. There was no food to be found at the Expo (which was held at the Monmouth Racetrack) or within walking distance of the Expo. Elyce, the woman in charge of the event, tried hard, but she knew the day before that this was an issue and still only brought lunch for herself. Even an email saying "hey, ladies, sorry but there is no food at the event, please bring your own lunch" would have solved my crankiness. Even packing a few bottles of water or sports drinks would have helped. She did give me a granola bar.

The expo itself was fine. The usual vendors. The Bondi Band table was packed all day. I hope to see them at another Expo when I have to really study their product without feeling as if I am at a Filene's Basement sale. I was hoping either Sparkle Skirt or Team Sparkle would be there so I could pick up another skirt for my next race, but I guess the race was not girly enough for them.

I did see Brian as he was gearing up for his 50th marathon. Go Brian! Brian and I went to TSC together (before the name change). 

Also spotted was the Barking Mad About Running and Running at Disney bloggers.

The woman also working the table with me was selling the race as if she made a commission on each sign up. Her energy level was impossibly high. This is a woman not much older than I am who has been to all seven continents and has climbed most of the highest mountains. Of course a measly half marathon was no challenge to her, even though she had only taken up running a couple of months before last year's Trenton Half Marathon (which was her first race).

Standing at the table for 8 hours was not hard. It was even fun. They gave me a windbreaker leftover from last year's race. I had a sneak preview into this year's medal. The promises broken was reminiscent of last year's race. They readily admit they were given a pass last year on what went wrong (mostly the parking issues, though I think the 45 minute late start was a bigger issue), we'll see if they learn from their mistakes. At least the swag was great. Hopefully they'll team up with the Princeton Half Marathon people and offer a "New Jersey Marathon" for completing two halves within 7 days.

This November 9th I will run happy in the knowledge that at least I "paid" for the race with time rather than money. Hopefully I will have learned a lesson or two and at least pack my own water and a sense of humor.

Side note: the link to the ambassador program is broken so I can't confirm the long list of promises.

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