A Labor of Love

“Unless we think of others and do something for them, we miss one of the greatest sources of happiness.”    …Ray Lyman Wilbur

We’ve talked a lot about getting to the finish line on race morning – whether slow or fast, up near the front or way back in the rear. But we’ve neglected one critical piece of the puzzle – the true reason we are able to get from Buckhead to Piedmont Park – the volunteers of the AJC Peachtree Road Race.

The volunteers of this esteemed event (along with the race management staff of the ATC) are truly what makes this race possible. They corral and organize us at the start. They hydrate, encourage and assist us along the way. They feed, clothe and celebrate us at the finish. They take time out of their holiday to help us accomplish our goal – a real labor of love!

As mentioned before, I began my tenure with the Peachtree as a volunteer at a water station just past mile four. My mom’s close friend Susan Montgomery, a Coke employee at the time, got us involved, and to this day my own family has been joined with our PRR family on Peachtree Street every year. From the time I was, quite literally, 18 months old, I woke up before most runners (volunteers have to get to their stations before the roads close!), put on my volunteer digs, and filled cup after cup after cup (after cup) of water for tens of thousands of runners.

With front row views of elite world-record holding runners and awe-inspiring wheelchair racers it’s truly an enthralling event to be a part of. And what kid doesn’t want to play around with a water hose on a hot summer day?! Back in the day I think my brothers and I had more fun than anyone slogging down Peachtree, and now as adults we’ve extended the tradition through marriages and new friends. It’s a great tradition – you end up seeing the same people year after year because the volunteers have as much fun (if not more) than the runners. This PRR perennial has even be doing it for over 20 years!

If you have family and friends interested in cheering you on, volunteering is a great avenue to do that. They’ll get a front row seat, have the chance to contribute to a great event (and get their own free Peachtree t-shirt!)… and still have plenty of time for an Independence Day brunch afterwards. Pass along this link – there are plenty of spots available for start and finish line duties, as well as expo jobs (taking place July 2-3).

I’ll take all the happy, encouraging faces I can get on race day!


My sister-in-law Beth and her brother Randy enjoying some down time at the 4.2 mile water station.

My sister-in-law Beth and her brother Randy enjoying some down time at the 4.2 mile water station.

2 comments Add your comment

Gen Neyland

June 2nd, 2010
11:03 am

My wife volunteers the Peachtree as a Course Marshall. I did it with her one year and found it a terrific experience from a different angle than a runner. I know we can’t thank them all individually but consider this a blanket thanks to all of them. There is a special place in our running heart for the volunteer. Treat them with respect. Also, kudos to the volunteers that round us up, get us on our way and still make the trek up Peachtree to The Park. Those people even get 2 t-shirts..!

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