I think it’s funny how things change no matter how many times you do it. This thought relates to my experience as a volunteer for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Los Angeles on October 26th, 2014. I was a volunteer last year too, but because I had a different task this year, I encountered situations I’ve never encountered before.
First of all, getting to the site was an adventure all by itself. Like every other marathon, many streets were blocked off, preventing any entrance to the volunteer check-in area. After driving around hopelessly for about fifteen minutes, my mom dropped my friend and me off at 3rd Street, which is about eight blocks away from the check-in area.
By the time we got to the volunteer check-in, it was 6:30 AM, which was the official start of our volunteer shift. Unfortunately for us, our volunteer position, which was specifically “Water Station #7” required a separate check-in for its own volunteers. What was more unfortunate was that the station was located 2.1 miles (forty-one minutes) away. Because we felt that we had to stick with our volunteer group, my friend and I decided to go on that forty-one minute trek.
Walking wasn’t that bad until we reached a place both of us have never encountered before – Skid Row. I heard a lot about the area, and honestly, I didn’t really think much about it. However, walking through the area by ourselves with not many people around us was kind of nerve-wrecking. This experience literally opened up a new perspective for me. Hearing things is completely different from seeing them yourself. After seeing the area, I realize that my state, California, needs to find a solution to help alleviate the poverty that is prominent in areas like Skid Row.
After trudging through Skid Row, we made it to our station. From then on, it was all hard work. Our task was to hand out items such as energy gels and water to the runners. I was shocked at how a job this simple required so much strength, specifically, muscle strength. However, no matter how tired we were, we continued to pass them out as if pain was nonexistent; seeing the appreciative smiles and hearing the words “thank you” were all worth it.
When all energy gels ran out and when the race was almost finished, my volunteer group and I decided to head over to the finish line. That day was the first time I saw the actual marathon course. I felt like I was part of marathon; I saw all the bands that were performing along the course as well as the beautiful LA sites that appeared in every corner of the course.
Overall, the event was tiring, thrilling, and incredibly fun. Unlike last year, I actually experienced something totally out of my comfort this year. However, the event still had the spirit and the fun that I love. All the Halloween costumes and the smiling faces are always memorable. Would I volunteer for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon again? Definitely. Volunteering for the franchise is something that I’ll always remember!
All photo credits belong to me.