Tigerboy Junrox had earlier secured a spot as a Dream Chaser in the just concluded The Bull Runner Dream Marathon when I emailed Edward Kho and signed up myself responding to the pay-it–forward call. I still fully remember what my first full marathon experience was like so I thought if there could only be a way for me to contribute in my own little way to at least help one runner’s quest for his or her first bite at the 42km challenge, I would say my work would be done.
Dream Chasers Pre-race Briefing
So there we were, listening to Edward’s words on how positive and cheerful a Dream Chaser has to be on marathon day and I was taking note of our duties–why, I didn’t want to mess up the first time I would be a volunteer in a race of any kind! The instruction was actually simple: Just look for and pace with a runner whom I think would need my help and ask for anything I could do to help him or her finish the race.
As excited as the marathoner
Call time was 1 am but we were told that Dream Chasers would not be deployed until after 4 am or two hours after gun start, at which time some runners would definitely need some cheering up or whatever assistance from us pacers. With hardly any sleep, off I went from our house in Sta. Rosa almost as excited as the participants I would meet along the way.
Meeting the other Chasers and the Dreamers
Instead of waiting for 4 am, Junrox and I started to walk and jog to the Dream Chaser stations. It was still very dark when two more Dream Chasers, Vangie and Bobby came to where we were stationed carrying “our” banner.
It was about 4 am when the first batch of runners went past us almost completing the first loop. Up until that time, the four of us where sharing running stories in between cheering up and applauding the passing marathoners. But then about an hour later, Junrox had to bring out his “magic” spray much to the relief of some runners who needed it badly.
It was around this time too that I started seeing runners who were having some difficulties–injured knee and hips, hydration problem, some other issues or pain in some parts of their bodies or some who just needed someone to run with.
I asked any runner whom I thought needed help and tried to offer words of encouragement even to those who were still very strong even after the proverbial “wall.” I only realized that I kept on doing this for about 4 hours (and running much more than the maximum prescribed 5k limit for each Dream Chaser) when I crossed the finish line with one runner several minutes after 9 am! Vangie and the other Chasers agreed that it was a lot of fun and we couldn’t wait to do it again. If we were able to help make their first full marathon experience a little more bearable, then we could rest assured that we did our job.
Three is to One
I once read that a runner has to do some volunteer work–at the aid station, as a marshal, pacer, etc.–after every three races he or she runs. Many thanks to Jaymie and the rest of her team for the opportunity of a lifetime to finally pay it forward. I am looking forward to doing a lot more volunteer work at the races in the future! 🙂