I’m heading to California today with two friends who are taking on Miwok 100k, a challenging trail run in the Bay Area. My role: serve as a pacer and aid station volunteer.
There are many great local races out there so why choose a race over 600 miles away? It all started last August on a dark, cold, rainy night in Easton, WA around 2 am. I was a passenger in a car with Tia Bodington, Miwok 100k’s Race Director. Though she was tired and had been running for over 16 hours, she shared how she strives to make Miwok as waste-free as possible. I was intrigued.
I caught up with Tia again when I was in Ashland, OR pacing my friend who was running Pine to Palm 100-mile Endurance Run. I wanted to learn more about her and Miwok’s waste prevention practices. After sitting down with her for coffee, I knew that I had to be a volunteer at this special race.
And as it turned out, my friend, Samantha, signed up for Miwok and after hearing I was a volunteer, recruited me to pace her the last 15 miles of the race. Road Trip.
Another travel destination provides the opportunity to donate to a local organization as part of the Small Change, an initiative I started to contribute to a nonprofit in each of the cities I visit for a race or an adventure.
It’s always tough deciding which nonprofit to choose for my donation, as there’s so many wonderful organizations out there serving our communities. After a little research, I selected HandsOn Bay Area, an organization that creates volunteer opportunities that connects companies and people to schools, parks and nonprofits that need help. I donated $25 to this impressive group.
HandsOn Bay Area works with over 16,000 volunteers each year resulting in more than 55,000 hours of service. The volunteer opportunities meet critical community needs in many areas including education and literacy, youth, HIV/AIDS, health and aging, homelessness and hunger, and the environment.
I’m excited to get on the road today and start my adventure. There’s a lot to look forward to: Helping runners use less waste as they come through aid stations; serving as a pacer for my friend and getting her to the finish line; and being a part of the overall running community this weekend. And of course, giving back through the Small Change initiative.
Have you run Miwok in the past (or maybe you are this weekend)? What about HandsOn Bay Area – have you been a volunteer for this organization or a similar one?