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Being on Both Sides of the Startline

A guest blog post by race ambassador, Lindsay Parsell Soter. Lindsay and her family have been involved in our race since basically, its inception. They have made a tradition of our race weekend, both running it and supporting it.

Follow Lindsay on Instagram at: @conqueryourfinishline

Finishing a race, whether it’s your first or your 100th, is the best feeling in the world.

The rush of the crowd, the post-party, and let’s not forget the BLING!! But have you ever thought about what goes into these races, or “Behind the Scenes” as we should say? 

I have had experience with being on both sides of the finish line. I have completed many races and volunteered for quite a few. Specifically, I have volunteered for Detroit in many sorts of ways. I have helped gear pick up/drop off, handed out medals at the finish line, been a Pacer for the marathon, and rode in the Sag Wagon (some of you might know it as a weary wagon) just to name a few. 

Giving those medals to people who have waited a long time to cross that finish line is an amazing feeling. There are tears of joy, gasps of surprise, and sometimes a very big hug. 

The Sag Wagon is a whole other experience. I have met many interesting people during races; encouraging them to get across the bridge and through the tunnel before the time limit. Even had the opportunity to walk/run side-by-side and talk to many different people. I’ve met people that do this for their loved ones who couldn’t do it themselves. I’ve met people that do this because it is what made them get healthy and save their lives. I’ve met people that do this because they wanted to prove those doctors wrong. 

You don’t have to be a “Runner” or an “Athlete” to be part of a race. You can be a volunteer and be every part of that race as a participant. The people registered for a race depend on the volunteers more than you know. I do love being in the race, but volunteering has taught me so many things. It has taught me to be humble towards all levels, kind towards others, and to respect everyone involved. 

I have been volunteering for the Freep Marathon off and on for 25 years. Every year I either run the marathon or volunteer. And now I’m so happy that my family is volunteering, too. So not only do I get to run one of the coolest marathons, but my own children are now volunteering and have even been able to give me my medal at the finish line.  

If you are registered this year, I wish you all the luck, and may the wind be at your back. If you are thinking at all about volunteering please do. You will be a different person afterward and you will make a difference to someone.  

If you are a volunteer, thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything that you do. This event would not be possible without you.