Imagine handling coat check at a party where thousands of attendees all show up at the same time, and you get a glimpse into the work done by our Gear Check Captain Tyler Williams and his Team of volunteers.
How do they manage to accept thousands of bags from anxious, excited runners and walkers before the race, and more importantly, how do they keep them all organized and get them back to their rightful owners? Please read the Q & A below and learn more about Tyler and his group!
Name: Tyler Williams
Job: Financial Services - Nationwide
Family & Pets: Wife Erica, dog Ellie
Volunteer history/background with the Columbus Marathon: I have my girlfriend (now wife) to thank for this. She was working for the marathon when we began dating in 2014 and encouraged me to volunteer for the race that year. I happened to work at the Info Booth and Gear Check stations on race day. I owe it to her for getting me involved, but I've looked forward to race day each year since. And as the race (and Gear Check) have evolved over the past eight years, it's been a pleasure to come along for the ride and a privilege to meet and work with such awesome people.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering with the event?
Too many to narrow down:
Helping to raise money to support the families of kids at Nationwide Children's Hospital;
The opportunity to showcase Columbus to folks who've come into town from all over the globe;
(After the race) That sense of exhausted joy that you get from runners ... who are done running.
Do you have any funny stories from your time as a volunteer?
For anyone unfamiliar with "Gear Check", runners are given a clear plastic bag with a drawstring. On the morning of the race, they can fill that bag with any items they'd like and drop it off with us on their way to the start line; we'll keep their bag secure while they run, and they can pick it up after they cross the finish line.
As you can imagine, these bags contain mostly the same items: Car keys, wallets, phones, extra clothing, comfy shoes, protein bars, Gatorade, etc. Last year, as the marathon wound down we had only a few participants' bags remaining to be picked up. We noticed that one of them contained just one thing: an uneaten egg sandwich. *cue the image of the heavens shining down on the Griswold family Christmas tree* Mind you, this wasn't as if someone wanted to stash their half-finished breakfast, or was in a hurry to get to the starting line and couldn't find a nearby trash can. No, this sandwich was in pristine condition. Someone had planned ahead. They'd left themselves a delectable treat for after the race. The only (potential) problem? It was 60+ degrees that day ... and this was an egg sandwich.
We got a good laugh out of it, but the owner must have changed their mind because the bag ended up going unclaimed, unfortunately. I wish we could have shared the laugh with them, but now we'll always have the mystery.
Why should others volunteer with the Columbus Marathon?
Volunteering for the Marathon is an easy, fun way for anyone to connect with great people, contribute to a wonderful cause, and help make a positive impact in our community.