I need to start by saying that registering as a volunteer for CiucasX3 (half, full and ultra.marathon race in the Ciucas Mountains) might be the smartest thing I have done lately. All the information about the race you can find on their website, facebook page and online in general.
Of course involved some effort, time, work from my side, but what I have received in exchange was far greater. And I am not talking about the per-diem for the last days, the t-shirt or anything else.
But I am speaking of the chance of meeting a lot of people with the same passions and hobbies as myself. People that love running, mountain, nature, competition, and they just do what they love.
Happy people, as most of the sports-nature lovers are, full of energy, and each and one of them with their level of craziness. Worth the trouble? 1000%.
Thank you CiucasX3 for helping me to meet all this people. It makes my return home, after 7 years spent around the world, much easier.
And although I spent 4 weekends helping around, I will just give you an excerpt from the last one. Which was a long weekend, as I arrived at Cheia on wednesday evening.
On thursday , we went to check the marathon course, and see that all the marking is in place. Usual till here, all went great, the markings were in place and we had an easy day, just a nice trip of about 30 km.
Friday started a bit more agitated, with competitors already coming, more volunteers, more in-kinds to organise and carry around. I helped around, carrying stuff, till 1 of the organisers asked me to go with him, by ATV and check some of the markings from the ultra course, and also getting to see where I am located for the next day, at CheckPoint 8, km 44,1.
Arriving back from the ATV trip, which was rather brutal, but fun, I went back at carrying stuff, and than helping with hanging banners from the 6 m scaffold that was the finish/start gate. This was my Friday. I went to bed around midnight, and I woke up at 4 on Saturday. We were to go at 5:30 to see the start for the ultra.
Amazing start, with a percussion band, cameras that were broadcasting live on internet, people cheering and a lot of emotions from the participants. I got to meet some of them in the days before and so I was also feeling their excitement.
I had some videos … but later in the same day I decided to test if my phone can handle a car door slammed on, and it did not. The result took me by surprise, but trust me, a smart phone will crack if you try to close a door on it. So I have no videos or photos from the start. I do have about 600 photos I took with my camera at CP8, km 44,1 where I spent big part of my Saturday, giving water to the ultra runners.
Sunday was an easier day, where I just help on arranging things as they were. Removing banners, carrying stuff, cleaning around the start/finish area and just speaking to the people I just met during the weekend.
As a final note, I want to share my thoughts with you. I have heard during the last days people complaining about not finding something in their kit, or because the water was a bit warm, or because at a certain CP they did not had food, or whatever. If you run, ever done a race, for the next one just volunteer. Will make you see things different.
And if you do not have time to volunteer, remember that usually at a race most of the people there are volunteers. But before that, they are human, and they do have feelings. Give feedback instead of criticising. They will gladly listen to you, and even write it down for the next edition. However, criticism, especially said on a nervous tone, will just be ignored and frowned upon.
I feel the need of congratulating the organising team and the volunteers team for the event. 2 days…3 if you count friday, at least 1500 people in a village that barely support that much, 3 races, all in a mountain terrain, trust me it is not easy. To be sure that you have everything at each checkpoint, that your volunteers know what to do, and where to go, that the runners have everything they need, and the sponsors are satisfied … all this requires a lot of sweat and headaches! Congratulations!
Thank you CiucasX3. If you do the lists with volunteers for the next year, count me in already. And I have a long way to decide if it will be the half-marathon or the full-marathon for me to race.