If it's possible to have a favorite race at which you volunteer -- and why wouldn't it be possible? -- then mine's decidedly the Sue Krenn 15k. I'm always in a great mood before, during and after.
First, I either helped bring order or contributed to a chaotic registration, what with some 900 people signed up and bibs being distributed from two different locations -- and using leftover running numbers from other races. I like the race director, Frank, whose resourcefulness and wry sense of humor go a long way on these long mornings. (This time Frank ran around in an old white T shirt with the handwritten message "The Official Sue Krenn 15K T-Shirt" on the front and "Accept No Imitation" on the back -- get it?) I like all the other volunteers, who bring a lot of enthusiasm to their job. And I love love love working the finish line, where this year I got to see and congratulate every runner as the lone tag-holder used for scoring.
The calvacade of sweaty bodies included Michael and Irene, who I met in person at this race a year ago. Most of my track club friends were there as well, including some faces I hadn't seen in years. Each woman finisher gets a rose, and I learned that the flowers are courtesy of Sue Krenn's (former) coach, Hal Goforth. Hal is himself a living legend in San Diego running circles, having placed second in his age group two years ago at the Boston Marathon (which he's run for the last 30 years in a row). I learned a little more about Sue Krenn from his wife, Cheryl. Sue was a runner who went from being last at local races to finishing in the top 5% of the field at Boston. She was well loved and well regarded here in San Diego and died suddenly while diving off South America in 1984.
I also got to tell Paula Newby-Fraser how much she inspired a generation of triathletes and runners as I wrote out her bib. And I personally congratulated other Hawaii Ironman greats Heather Fuhr and Michellie Jones (who missed the gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Triathlon by two seconds). I may have encountered other heavyweights, but I was too busy keeping everyone's name tags in order to notice. Three personal encounters with living legends is enough for one day, anyway.