As the summer 2014 Up and Running Again season unfolds, I was struck with the wide variety of volunteers that we have and each of their roles. You certainly don’t have to be an Olympian to volunteer with us. And yet, last week we had just that- Olympian Samantha Clayton joined us to lead us in stretching and to share her Olympic journey from being a sprinter in the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
1 Corinthians 12:14-22 says, “Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am only an ear and not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? Suppose the whole body were an eye — then how would you hear? Or if your whole body were just one big ear, how could you smell anything? But God made our bodies with many parts, and he has put each part just where he wants it. What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some of the parts that seem weakest and least important are really the most necessary.”
And so all of our volunteers in each and every role is so important to how URA runs. This last Saturday at our 5 mile Fullerton Courthouse run, some of these roles were apparent. We had several volunteers help (or volunteer to) drive participants. Without them we couldn’t get everyone where we needed them to be. We had volunteers (Tina Trenner and my husband and kids) work the water station to give drink and Gu to runners as they reached the halfway point. Alan (whose body doesn’t allow him to run distance) and a couple others from another local running club stood at intersections and encouraged the runners and directed them the right way; pushing buttons at signals and watching for runner’s safety.
This season we have been fortunate to have the expertise and training of Chris Patterson and others as they used their jobs as physical therapists to volunteer hours to help us in injury prevention and treating injuries.
A wonderful donation and help to us has been someone that doesn’t join the group for training, but saw a need. Dr. Chou is a local dentist that has had part of his building up for lease, but no tenant. He has allowed us to use it for storage. On Saturday he fortunately was able to find a leaser. For us, we were starting to research storage units when someone else saw a way they could fulfill that need with storage space they could offer us.
Coaches spend 4 days a week training with the participants and truly invest in their lives. Countless other volunteers run with the participants during the week or on the Saturday runs, encouraging them, helping them find their pace, and befriending them. In fact, as I tallied up our volunteers from Orange County, Portland, and Spokane, I realized that we have over 40 active volunteers this season. That’s amazing! And they all play very important parts in the Up and Running Again body. What part can you play?