Monday, November 8, 2010

Autumn Leaves 5 miler: From a volunteers perspective

This past weekend was the Northeast Running Club's Autumn Leaves 5 mile run. One of the best runs of the Grand Prix series, it's usually held the first Sunday of November. My husband and I attended this year not as runners but as volunteers, my son however did do the run. (Last year at Autumn Leaves was he was conquering his longest distance yet!)

The day before the run my son and I went to the Farmpark to help set things up. We wound up helping set things up inside - and the manly men went off to mark the trail. ;-)
Two awesome ladies were there to help out also, Edie and Carole.

Edie got to run, too!

I swear Carole's vounteered at every NERC race I've ever been to!

We got done in a fairly decent amount of time and just chatted away the rest of the time. Take that manly men! HA! Acutally, the men did have to be pretty manly out there marking the trail. The Northeast Ohio snow machine switch got flipped to "on" and it stayed like that the whole time they were out on the course.
They were met with mud, snow, cowpies - all of it. From time to time some of the guys would come in looking completely frazzled. They would warm up for a minute, then go right back outside. Thanks men!

Race day came and over 215 people had already registered. What happened next was quite unexpected. There were TONS of people who came in to register same day. The total number of people who finished on race day came out to be 281. WOW!
Our fearless race director Mark Anson took it pretty well! My husband and I helped inside for a bit and chatted with a few friends. Right before the race was set to begin we went outside for our outdoor volunteer duties.

Lining up at the start:

I hung out at the mile #2 calling out times as people ran by, and my husband was a flagger. It was neat being able to see my son in the middle of the race, and all of my friends as well! In between calling out the times I took pics of the runners. Then, when the last of the runners came through my spot I headed towards the finish line to take more pics. Soon I saw my son speed through - he ended with a strong finish. He improved so much from last year's time, I'm proud of him! Last year he ran Autumn Leaves with a time of 54 minutes and 53 seconds. This year his final time was 42 minutes and 45 seconds. WOW! I shouldn't be surprised because his improvement is equivalent to this year's improved cross country times - but it's always amazing to see such big gaps in time like that.
(Yes he's overdressed, and yes I knew better (from a runner's perspective) but hey - I'm a mom! He's lucky I didn't have him go out looking like that kid off the Christmas Story!)

The awards ceremony came off without a hitch, I helped Mark pass out a few awards towards the end, and what awesome awards they were!

I want one!
I'm a big fan of useful awards at races - because you can only have so many medals, and what are they good for really? They just hang there, collecting dust.

Guy Gadomski provided the hot cocoa for the mugs. Thanks Guy!

One last thing, the pictures I took are available free of charge (almost)at You just have to pay for whatever Wal Mart charges to print the pictures out. Go to the following link to view and purchase:
Prints start out at 10 cents each.

Thanks to all the runners who came out, and to all of the volunteers as well. It was a great time, hopefully everyone got EXTREMELY muddy, and we'll see you again next year!

Jean Toth - The only 70 & over female runner!

Lone runner headed into the corn field.

Future Autumn Leaves runner perhaps?

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