I once volunteered with some friends at the Canadian National Triathlon Championship s in Mississauga, Ontario. It had to be about 10 years ago. For sure before I had children. I have a lot of volunteer experience in my history but had never volunteered for such a huge event before.
We got there a few hours early where we had some training in the different jobs and what to do in the event of injury and how to keep the athletes safe. It was really cool. I ended up having 2 different jobs. My friends and I were separated cause they’re guys and they wanted them manning the transition zone to make sure that no one tampered with equipment or tried to steal someone’s stuff. They got to drool all over the bikes while I got to set up the food stall.
I ended up staying at the food tent for the entire event. It was great because I got to overlook the finish line. I really didn’t see people finish because once the first wave was coming through, I was swamped. I helped hand out oranges, granola bars and yogurt. The drinks were at the next tent. The athletes were pretty tired by the time they got to my table so I couldn’t ask them how their race went and how they did. They just wanted food and a place to sit down.
I think I was there for 3 hours at that table so all the waves could go through. I do know Simon Whitfield was participating but I didn’t get to see him cross the finish line even though it was directly in front of me. He did come and get food and I was able to smile and congratulate him. I seriously can’t even remember right now if he had already won gold or not. Either way, it was still a thrill.
I have a picture of my friends and I standing below the finish line on this big red carpet. Toronto Carpet and Mattress Cleaning was there getting ready to collect the carpet. They were really good and allowed us to stand on it for a quick pic. It was an exhausting day but really thrilling too. It helped me see just how much work goes into hosting such an event. There were so many people there volunteering their time for these athletes to be able to perform. I wish I had gone back the following year but I’ve never made it back as a volunteer. When I get some time in the future, this is definitely something I would do again. I have some great memories and that picture is in my photo album and I can tell my kids all about it when they are old enough to understand.