This month I had the opportunity to interview one of our most dedicated and enthusiastic Race Guards from Chicago. Thank you Mike, for your participation in Race Guards and for taking the time to do an interview for Race Guards Spotlight!
Q. What made you decide to join Race Guards?
A. I’ve been running since high school. I’ve always loved to do races and I completed my first marathon in 1999. I know that race directors keep the prices of races down with the help of volunteers, so throughout the years, I volunteered for water stops, expos, etc. But when I heard about Race Guards, I knew that’s how I wanted to give back to the running community!
Q. Can you tell us about the most recent race you participated in as a Race Guards member?
A. The most recent race I participated in for Race Guards was the Naperville (IL) Marathon. It is a great marathon! The runners were so happy to see us out there supporting them. Naperville is a great place to live and a great place to run. The crowd support was amazing. I did not expect to see that many people cheering at a newer race. I was amazed at the continuous crowd support throughout the marathon.
Q. How does your experience as a runner tie in with your participation in Race Guards? How many marathons have you run?
A. I love to run and give back to the running community. Race Guards is able to tie the two together as one. I’ve run 83 full marathons. Many times during those 83 marathons, I’ve seen runners who needed help, but I didn’t have the needed supplies to help them. As a Race Guards tean member, I’m now able to stop and help those runners. It’s an amazing feeling to see a runner who was down and out, get back up and finish the race!
Q. How long have you been a member of Race Guards and how has the organization changed since you have been involved?
A. I’ve been a Race Guards member for almost two years. What I’ve seen change in the last two years is that Race Guards is getting bigger and the demand for Race Guards on the course is much higher. There are more people participating in running events today, especially in the half marathon distance. The Race Guards organization has grown to back up this demand. I see that runners feel much more comfortable with Race Guards on the course. I get many runners who run by me and yell “Thanks Race Guards for being out here!” I can hear a sense of comfort in their voices knowing we’re out there supporting them.
Q. What is your most memorable Race Guards moment?
A. My most memorable Race Guard moment was of a runner who didn’t finish the race, but swore she would be back to finish another day. And she did just that! It was her first half marathon at the Biggest Loser Chicago Half Marathon. She made it to mile 12.2 and collapsed from heatstroke. She was just unable to finish. We got her into the shade, got her some ice and water and got her body temperature down. We gave her a bunch of tips on how to prevent heatstroke and prepare for her next race. As we got her on her way to the medical tent, she swore she was going to do another half marathon and finish! A few months later Race Guards received an email from this woman thanking Race Guards. She attached a picture of her with her half marathon finisher’s medal. It was so rewarding to see her happy!
Q. What is one of your funniest RG moments?
A. One of my funniest Race Guards moments has to do with the determination of runners. I was helping a college age woman who had collapsed about one mile from the finish line of a half marathon. She was very dehydrated. Her legs had completely cramped up and she was delusional. She said to me, “If you can just help me get back onto my feet, I can finish the race. Plus I don’t have time to go to the medical tent, because I have to get home to finish some homework.” After the race we checked on her in the medical tent. Her parents were there with her and we told them about their daughter’s concern about finishing her homework. It even gave them a good laugh!
Q. Have you had to overcome any injuries or setbacks since you began running?
A. I’ve been very lucky to have minimal injuries throughout my entire running career. The main injury I’ve had to deal with is calf cramps. Years ago I had three DNF’s because of calf cramps. If Race Guards were around, they could have had me running again. But my injuries have been minor compared to most avid runners, so I think Phidippides is watching over me.
Q. What is your favorite post race pig out food?
A. Cookies. Period.
Q. How would you sum up your philosophy of life in one sentence?
A. Let it rock!