On Sunday I took a break from racing to work the final aid station before the finish of the Louisiana Marathon and Half. OK, you got me. I haven’t been racing much at all anyway. But it was still a good experience to work the flagship road marathon of this state. Sorry Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans, you suck and you well never get another penny from me. And if you’re reading this and considering running a Rock ‘n’ Roll event, DON’T DO IT!!!
OK, off my bandwagon.
Anyway, since we were both the first and last aid station, our crew had the late shift. So, I didn’t see the runners come through at the beginning, and I got there too late to see the half marathon leaders. But I got to see the majority of the half finishers, as well as every single marathoner. My kids helped pass out water and Powerade until they got bored and left. I took a few turns on the microphone to offer encouragement to the runners. And I drank beer. And I’m proud to say more than a few marathoners were delighted to have a drink of beer at mile 25.
It was great to see so many smiling faces as they came through our aid station. Yes, some were hurting, but most were all smiles, and I’d like to think we had a hand in that. One thing I’ve taken from running the trails so much, is that you should just have fun out there. After all, why do we run if we aren’t having fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously, and have a good time. Because at the end of the day, nobody cares how fast you ran, if you set a PR, or if you just ran with someone to help them finish their first marathon. Watching people come through and high five the volunteers while taking a sip of beer was way more enjoyable to me than somebody who can’t take the time to smile or acknowlege the workers because they’re too concerned with beating a certain time or setting a PR.
The Louisiana Marathon was a first class event all the way around from the expo to the finish festival. Many other “big” races could learn a lot by paying attention to what the Louisiana Marathon does for their runners to make it an enjoyable all around experience. Great food and local craft beer at the finish are just a couple of reasons to toe the starting line.
But watching so many people have fun made it an enjoyable day for me.
To steal the catch phrase from Happy’s Running Club: Run, Drink, Be Happy. Words to live by.