Experience Review: Volunteering at the Calgary Sprint 2015

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After running the Sprint on the Saturday I had already signed up to work the race on the Sunday. My motives were completely selfish, earn a free race so I could run in Red Deer. What I didn’t know was how much this experience would teach/affect me.

 

Showing up early morning after running the day before didn’t feel ideal, in fact I almost bailed last-minute, but trying to live the Spartan lifestyle I kept my word and showed up. After a quick brief on proper Burpees (I had done them right the day before, fist pump) we went over a quick safety brief and radio etiquette. Being a volunteer with no friends joining me I was assigned to the triple moats which happened to be the first obstacle of the course. So I grabbed my red t-shirt as well as my lunch and was shown how to get to my spot. At first I was a little bummed not getting spear throw, monkey bars or something cool but being as how I was working solo I couldn’t really dwell on that and decided to make the best of my day.

 

The first heat started quite quickly after our radio check, and it’s one that stands out to me the most as to why this was such a cool experience. On the Sunday there was no elite heat but there were athletes who would normally run it for that opening heat they ripped through the moats, one of them even front flipped in, so it was cool to see just what level I’m trying to get to. But the real inspiration came from two ladies at the back of that group one was running along side her friend for motivation, her friend was an overweight person clearly on her first steps towards a goal of getting in shape. She kept moving and running the whole race was and awesome to watch someone really just go do it, not worrying about if she could or not but charging after it regardless. I kept looking for them at the obstacles that I could see from mine, and was pumped to see them cross the finish line. The day before I didn’t notice anyone running like that because I was so focused on getting my sister-in-law and I to the finish line. In all the heats to come there was a first pod of really athletic people to make it to the moats first, then a second pack that was like me were your average athletic group, and each time there was a group who didn’t care about time they were running for them and they are really what I think Obstacle Course Racing is about. Yes, it’s cool to watch the elites, and we weekend warriors love to test ourselves but the group who are making big, lasting changes in their lives are so cool to see, and you can’t help but be inspired by them. I was cheering them on the loudest and they always made me smile with a quick funny comment or sarcastic question about how far they had gone. It’s them who made me see how this sport really is a community and made me make sure to not always focus on myself but offer a hand to a fellow racer because we are battling the course not each other.

 

The day flew by, so after a quick site clean up we were all off, but we all talked about the courage and determination we had seen on the course during the walk back to the cars. So whether you want to volunteer to get a free race or want to do witness true grit, give back to the sport and help keep making it the community that it is.

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Scotty Voodoo
Is a proud father & husband. A former semi-pro skier, turned rugby 7’s player, I’ve now worked to become a OCR racer.
A level 2 NCCP certified coach, I also hold coaching certifications in 3 sports.

 

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