Scenic Sedona, Arizona. A thirty minute car ride south of Flagstaff.
There's nothing as rewarding as finishing a marathon. You've sacrificed all that time and energy and remained focused on that marathon goal. The memories last forever and the sense of accomplishment is huge. Nothing could compare to this "high," right? Well, I'd argue that volunteering for that same race is truly just as satisfying and amazing.
Sedona Marathon/Half Marathon Mile 6. NATRA's aid station spread awaits.
NATRA commandeers one of the race's support vehicles.
I had the opportunity this past weekend to travel "down"to Sedona, AZ and assist with one of the aid stations on the Sedona Marathon and Half Marathon course. I joined close to a dozen other volunteers from NATRA (Northern Arizona Trail Runners Association) at an aid station near the six mile mark of the race. We helped each and every marathoner and half-marathoner at least twice on the out and back course. We made sure every runner had what they needed: water, electrolyte drink, bananas, oranges, gels and bars. Just as important as those necessities were our inspirational pats on the back, cheers and smiles. The interactions were fantastic.
Coming in fast for water.
Every runner and volunteer thrived off of each other forming a perfect circle of positive energy. When it was all said and done we, the volunteers, were tired, like the runners, and had come away with just as great sense of accomplishment and completeness as well. So the next time you're deciding on whether to run the next local marathon or not, try something a little different. See the race from another perspective and consider spending your time as a volunteer. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.
Jewelry was handed out to runners who needed adornment.
Service with a tux! Definitely the best dressed aid station on the course!
A full view of aid station heaven.
Who says aid station attendants can't have fun too?
More Photos!!! See NATRA's Neil Weintraub's photo collection of the day here.