This morning I joined some of the Crossfit Central coaches at the Austin Triathlon as race day volunteers. Our job was to work the finish line - where all the action takes place. We were told to be on crowd control and man the front line so that the runners had a clear path to the finish - and cheer the runners on. The later half of our duties seemed like a no brainer - but this role became very important toward the end of the day.
As I yelled at the runners with great enthusiasm "Nice Work!" "Finish it here!" "Finish Line this Way!" I noticed a change in some of the athlete's posture and the way they carried themselves as they got close to the finish. Some where exhausted, barely placing one foot in front of the other. It was getting hot and the crowd of spectators was thinning. In the last hour of the race the runners needed encouragement and support almost as much as they needed water and rest.
I watched as the athletes turned on to Riverside Drive and make their final decent toward the finish, some seemed almost dazed - and definitely tired. As the runners reached the cheering volunteers telling them the finish was now within reach I watched as their shoulders set back, their pace quicken and a look of determination over came them. They had done it - they accomplished and finished a goal. And we were at the finish line to witness their feat. It was a great time and a lot of fun. Wish I could say the same for my new tan lines - not so attractive ;)