As the last teams approach the ARWC finish line, it is a perfect time to thank those who make these races possible. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about an 8-hour race in your local community or an international 7-day race like Raid Gallaecia. It wouldn’t be possible without the amazing volunteers that come out to support our community. Typically, they are friends of the race director, friends/family of the racers, other adventure racers that could not race for some reason or others who just love the sport.
Personally, I think our community needs to award Jose Pires the "Volunteer of the Century" award for volunteering at just about every ARWS race, every single year. Always smiling and encouraging, he is an energetic bundle of joy that can lift your spirit, regardless if you’re a racer getting crushed by a 122K monster trek or a volunteer that has been manning a TA overnight with little sleep. The world would be a better place if we all emulate a bit of Jose in our day-to-day lives. Ok, enough about my “Bromance”.
So why do Jose and other volunteers choose to give their time, money and other resources to support our sport? From my experience, witnessing others pushing themselves beyond their limits to achieve a HUGE goal is extremely rewarding. Regardless of where you are in the world, you will find that the adventure racing community are some of the most amazing human beings on the planet. Helping the racers, the race director’s team and other volunteers feels like you are working together to pull off an amazing event and once-in-a-lifetime experience for all involved. How often do you have that opportunity?
If you are a racer, please take a few moments to thank each volunteer you come in contact with during your experience. You may find them checking you into a TA at 2am, directing you to your kayak on a foggy shoreline, loading hundreds of bike boxes into a box truck, or chasing you around with a camera. We could not race without them. Also, thank the race director and their team. This is one sport that is definitely not about the money.
All of these amazing people truly love the AR community and are donating the most valuable and scarce resource on earth, their time. Please consider volunteering for an adventure race. It’s an extremely rewarding and life-changing experience.
Chip Dodd Sleepmonsters.com ARWC 2021 Guest Commentator Team thisABILITY