Today, in the early morning chill of a Utah autumn, I got up, shrugged on my sweats, grabbed a cap and my running gloves and prepared for a 5k. I’ve run several races in my day, so this ritual is very familiar. Except for two differences, it might have been like every other 5k I’ve ever done. The first difference was I had my youngest son in tow. The second was that we would not be running. We were on course support, volunteers.
It was certainly a different experience. Instead of thinking about warming up I was thinking about how I could encourage those who would be running the race. Instead of worrying about my time, I was making sure I was at the right place at the moment I was most needed. Instead of thinking about striving for a personal record, I was looking for ways to make the way easier for others.
It was a great morning. It was a great race. And my son and I clapped and cheered and laughed and enjoyed a wonderful experience.
I’m glad I took the time to volunteer with my son. It gave me an opportunity to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. I demonstrated, to both myself and my son, the principle of giving back that is a hallmark of men of substance.
I will run other races, but I doubt any of them will be as memorable as the races like this one, where I chose to volunteer.