By Mira Reverente — Get movin’ with Mira Reverente, LaceUp’s blogger. Ventura-based Reverente is an enthusiastic runner having completed 20 marathons and ultra-marathons. She will be blogging once a month through December, bringing you stories of inspiring runners, insider info about the series, running humor, tips, news—you name it. Tune in.
Did you know that every LaceUp race uses 150 to 220 volunteers?
LaceUp volunteers hand out bibs, race packets, hang finisher medals around your neck, cheer you to the finish line, hand out water, help look up results, direct you where you need to go and answer a million questions!
Volunteers come from local high schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, area businesses, non-profit groups and even military personnel from nearby bases. Some are simply individuals who find joy in volunteering and in making a valuable contribution to the community.
Volunteers give back. Take the case of the Oxnard Air Force Sergeants’ Association (AFSA). “We use the LaceUp donation to buy items for Thanksgiving baskets and to help renovate places such as the Lighthouse for Women and Children, a shelter in Oxnard,” said President of AFSA Sgt. Rodel Ramirez
Ramirez’s Air Force cadets have been volunteering at LaceUp Ventura and Palos Verdes since the beginning. You have probably seen them helping with traffic control at major street intersections and with clean-up duties at the finish line.
Another group that comes through in large numbers is Back on My Feet (BoMF) Los Angeles. BoMF partners with homeless shelters and residential facilities around LA. The BoMF organization pushes members to run at least three times a week—sharing the overwhelming emotional and physical benefits gained by running. Once BoMF members complete the first phase of the program, they are given assistance with employment, education and housing.
“Our members are encouraged to train for local running races like LaceUp Irvine and Palos Verdes,” says Lesley Brillhart, development and marketing manager. “Some members also choose to volunteer at the races.”
In Riverside, Ramona High School Track Coach Ralm Jung leads one of the biggest and most motivated volunteer groups in Southern California. “My volunteers are very motivated because they’re cross country and track kids who race often,” says Jung. “So this is right up their alley – like manning some of the aid stations is intuitive and natural for them.”
Over 40 track athletes from Ramona High School come out each year. Jung says they look forward to it every year because the volunteer donation helps defray the costs of transportation to competitions, uniforms and equipment.
Not all volunteers are part of large groups. Bill Denley of Ventura is retired and finds joy in volunteering and spending time with his grandkids and great grandkids. He volunteers all over Ventura County sometimes with his wife Mary, and always with a smile on his face.
Andrew Wang of Torrance volunteered for the second year in a row this year in Palos Verdes. He likes the energy at the beer garden and sometimes extends his shift to help with clean-up and get to know the other volunteers.
Next time you come across a volunteer at one of our races be sure to say “hi” and “thank you!”
LaceUp donates to volunteer organizations for each volunteer that comes out to help. There is also an option during checkout to donate a portion of your registration cost to a non-profit of your choice.