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Volunteerism – What Makes a Runner a Lizard

I’m willing to bet that every member of this fine organization runs (or is at least on the injured reserve list). And beyond running, I’m guessing many folks value group activities – whether it be racing on a cross country team or hanging out with other runners at First Friday. But I’ve got to say that the time I see Lizards shine most is when there is a call to volunteer, especially for events related to running.

As we head into the Portland Marathon, there is always a need for a huge number of volunteers. Putting together pace teams while also staffing the best aid station on the course requires upwards of 100 members dedicating their time – and every year, Lizards step forward to assist with whatever is needed. Most of the 2011 marathon pacing slots are filled (details here), but there is still a need for some folks at the aid station if you are looking for something to do while cheering on runners in our local marathon.

But volunteerism runs much deeper than the single large events the club is involved with (Special Olympics is another once a year event that brings Lizards out en masse). For the past year, there has been a group volunteering with the folks at the De Paul Treatment Center to lead group runs for the residents there (shout out to Christophe Berteau-Pavy for spearheading that effort!). More volunteers are need, click here for more details.  There have also been folks willing to volunteer at races – the Red Lizard Five Miler and Stumptown Cross Country races would not be possible without the Lizards who opt not to race, but instead donate their time to setting up the course, helping people get registered, and tearing off finish tags so that racers can cross the line and get a time.

But not all volunteer efforts have been that successful. For the past couple years, Kevin Cooper has tried valiantly to get people to volunteer with the Forest Park Conservancy to do some of their periodic periodic trail maintenance work parties. It makes perfect sense for Lizards to help out with that, since I know I personally have spent many an hour running Wildwood and the other trails of Forest Park. And I’m as guilty as the next person for not getting out there to assist with this effort as often as I should, but keep an eye on the volunteer thread for the next opportunity he posts. And speaking of trail maintenance, there is also an opportunity on Sunday, Oct 2 to help get the trails at Klock Farm whipped into shape before the cross country race up there later in the month. I’m glad a few others are planning to assist with that, since I certainly can’t do it alone.

For at least the last 7 years, the club has been serving up food to the homeless each month at Blanchet House. This is a volunteer effort totally unrelated to running, but there has still been a dedicated group of folks willing to show up each month. But like all of the aove volunteer efforts, it requires a point person – someone to take the lead on recruiting vounteers and making it happen. Right now we are in need of a new point person for this volunteer activity. Without a leader, this activity is in danger of being a volunteer activity that falls to the wayside. We’re not looking to have our “usual” point people step forward for this effort – because let me tell you, the efforts for putting together many of the activities listed above have required the dedication of a few key club members. I’ll gladly call out Steve Sexton, Jeff Malmquist and Kate Gigler for their efforts over the years with organizing aid stations and spearheading Special Olympics – you guys rock! Stumptown Cross is in the middle of a third successful season thanks to Jacob Buckmaster as the race director and Jeff Huber as the timing czar. And Tim Swietlik is leading the pace team for the 3rd year as well.

OK, I could go on and on calling out folks who have taken on lead roles in making things happen, but the bottom line is that leading these efforts takes energy. And we can always use more folks with energy to dedicate their time at the events the club is involved with, perhaps even leading those efforts, or figure out if there are different efforts we should be focusing on.

My hat is off to everyone who is actively participating in one or more of the many activities going on, so keep up the effort Lizards! This is a huge part of what makes this club special.


One Response to “Volunteerism – What Makes a Runner a Lizard”

  1. lizards are one of the many things that I love about reptiles coz they’re so cute!


    Posted by reptile shops | October 20, 2011, 6:02 am

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