Sunday, March 17, 2013

35 Day Project: Richard G. Snyder YMCA Triathlon Volunteer

Hopefully by now, most of you have read about how I am celebrating my upcoming 35th birthday with 35 days of kindness, and that many of my friends are also performing acts of kindness during that time to help me celebrate.  Well, the kickoff for the 35 Day Project was today.  I decided to kick this project off with style (and a little early) by spending both mornings this weekend volunteering.  


I live very close to the Richard G. Snyder YMCA campus, and this beautiful new facility is such an asset to our community.  I am also a board member for the United Way of Armstrong County, and the YMCA is one of our recipient agencies, so I was excited to be able to support them on a personal level.  The YMCA held its very first triathlon this weekend, and I was pretty excited to be helping out.  The event was being broken into two days.  Saturday, March 16th, was the adult triathlon.  It consisted of a 5k run, 300 yard swim,  and 10k bike ride.  I woke up Saturday morning and it was cold and wet, and I was wondering how these athletes did it.  I had no idea what was in store.  When I got to the event, I helped with the registration process.  Once all participants were registered, and the run portion had begun, I then moved out to help make sure all runners crossed the finish mat, to ensure their times were correctly recorded, and direct them to the pool area. Once they finished swimming, I helped direct them to the start line for the bike ride.  Then I got to stand at the finish line and watch all the participants finish.  What. A. Rush.  I was totally in awe of every single participant.  The weather was certainly not pleasant, as rain/snow/ice fell intermittently, and parts of the bike train were muddy and mushy.  But they pushed on.  I have so much respect for the tenacity of these participants.  After everyone was finished, times were tallied, and awards granted.  All in all, it was a great morning.
Our first finisher!

Today, the second half of the event was held, a kids' triathlon for children 14 and under.  Their event consisted of a 1 mile run, 100 yard swim, and 5k bike ride.  These kids were hard core!  Our youngest participant was a 6 year old girl!  I helped for registration again this morning, then I moved out to the running and bike trail to help as safety patrol.  There are spots where the trail intersects with a street, so I was positioned at one of those points to stop any car traffic and allow the kids to safely continue along the trail.  This meant that I got to see each participant twice during their run and twice during their bike ride.  I was so tickled to see these kids pushing themselves, and they seemed like they were having a total blast in the process.  To see the looks of accomplishment on their faces made standing in the cold totally worthwhile.  One of the perks of being stationed on the trail was the fact that I got to cheer for each and every participant as they competed.  And the thing that impressed me was, as I cheered, nearly every single child thanked me for the encouragement.  (This whole kindness thing is totally working.)  I even got a hug from one girl after it was all over.

1 mile run for kids' triathlon

Youngest participant!

What a great resource the YMCA is to our community, offering a wonderful facility and fantastic events such as this to help support a healthy lifestyle.  It was such an honor to help out with the triathlon, and I can think of no better way to have kicked off the 35 Day Project.

Second day of volunteering

To see more photos from the triathlon, view my flickr set here (sorry they are grainy, all I had was my iphone and it was so cold out!)