The Ottawa Army Run is now becoming a can't miss event on Ottawa runner's calendars. The army theme has a broad reach and this run is able to catch many people that may not necessarily be interested in running otherwise. The race expo features military vehicles for runners to explore and the race has lots of army related touches such as the camouflage themed race shirt, the adrenaline pumping giant cannon start and the dog tag "medals" given to those who complete their events.
Two distances were offered to runners this year, a 5k and a 21k. The weather was perfect for a run even if towards the end the sun started beating down and making it a bit warm for some runner's taste. (That's what I heard anyways, I was shielded away in a tent the whole time :) Lots of smiling runners achieving personal bests or otherwise just having a good time on what some called a fairly challenging course.
I couldn't fit the 21k in my schedule again this year so I decided to volunteer for the baggage check. This is my favorite volunteer selection since I get to see the runners before they start the race, anxious, nervous, confident and focused and I also see them after, tired, beaming, proud and sometimes barely able to walk :) We processed a lot of bags this year, the estimate I hear was about 2000!
We didn't lose a single bag even if we got a few scares where some people would mark 2 numbers on the bag. In theory, the first finisher gets the bag back and finds their friend. In reality the first finisher gets the bag, cannot find their friend and the second finisher not knowing they are not the first finisher are also looking for the now gone bag. We had a few nervous people that got reunited with their friends while looking for the bag. Eventually everything worked out but the stress of not finding the bag combined with the soreness and tiredness of having just raced did create some uncomfortable moments. Notice to runners out there, don't expect us to check your car keys, ID, visa card, room key, pocket change or wallet. These will get lost so we won't even accept them. Some people were checking in their jacket. I guess it's all right but still causes a lot of problem and is a risk for runners that the jackets will get damp / dirty since they will be on the ground, probably with a bag on top.
It's always fun to be involved in an event even when I don't run it. There's this feeling that I get around runners that makes me feel at home! It's also pretty cool to see the events from the other side and figure out how everything works out in the background. To all those that raced the army run and thank me for volunteering: THANK YOU! Thank you for being out there and creating this vibrant community