"If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon."
- Kathrine Switzer
Even better than watching a marathon, I challenge you to go volunteer at a marathon and help convert dreams and goals into reality.
Last weekend I volunteered as a member of Bonnie's Dream Team for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Despite the chilly temperature, gusty winds and grey skies, I had an amazing day.
Bonnie's Dream Team is a group of volunteers stationed throughout the last 10-ish km of the marathon route to assist runners who are struggling. Bonnie’s Angels run, jog or walk with race participants to help them get to the finish line. Equipped with smiles, cheers and pockets full of gels this group will make sure you get the help you need.
The idea for Bonnie’s Dream Team was born in October 2012 when Bonnie completed her first marathon. A group of Bonnie’s friends came out to support her around Kilometer 32 and her chiropractor even ran the last 10km with her. As one of the last runners, Bonnie recognized a need for additional support for runners like her who were losing steam and needed a bit of help to cross the finish line.
The day after she finished her marathon, Bonnie approached the race director and asked what could be done to help support the back of the pack runners - those runners who had worked so hard and sacrificed so much to get to race day and were at risk of not accomplishing their goal. The race director acknowledged that this was a valid need/concern but unfortunately the race was already struggling to fill volunteer positions. Bonnie asked if she could take this task on and Bonnie’s Dream Team was born a year later, ready for their first assignment at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October 2013.
One of the team’s most cherished traditions is to run the last runner in to the finish line. This was a very cool experience. It truly was an honour to run in with the last runner, to watch him achieve this huge goal and see that medal placed around his neck; and he even had the right colour shirt to fit in with the team!
Huge props to Bonnie for recognizing the need and finding a way to fill it.
Thanks to Panera Bread for feeding us breakfast and dinner and ensuring we had the fuel we needed (full bellies as well as full hearts) to make all of those dreams happen.
I am happy to report that I will see you all at the Toronto Marathon on May 5, 2019. I'll be there with my red shirt and a big smile ready to get you to the finish line.