The 4-H Foundation board I serve on does a 5K fundraiser every summer that I’ve never gotten involved with because of my work schedule. Now that I’m no longer working Saturdays, I got to volunteer at this year’s race.
After so many races in which volunteers have encouraged me, it was nice to be able to to offer some payback in a small way. It’s a pretty low-key race, but it was cool to see how many people in our small community have taken up running, or are at least willing to give it a try.
I wish it was easier to tell which runners appreciate hearing encouragement and which would rather not be distracted from their own thoughts. (I’ve been in both camps, and as an introvert, yes, sometimes I would rather suffer in silence.) Do I acknowledge the people I know in another capacity, or allow them some degree of anonymity to try something new without feeling like the whole world is watching each ungainly step?
I can’t say I gave this a lot of thought beforehand, so in most cases I just called out the standard “Good job!” I hate saying something so trite that surely sounds hollow and worn out by the time you get to the back of the pack. (And I should know, having found myself in that position more than once this summer.)
If I do more of this kind of thing in the future, maybe I’ll just come up with an upbeat but slightly humorous T-shirt slogan. We saw a good one at Dick’s Sporting Goods the other day:
That would spur me on, no matter how good or bad I was doing in a race.
Here are a couple of other possibilities: