Working in the Recreation Department, this past December I had the opportunity to work the Kiawah Island Golf Resort Marathon. At the time, the course was a double loop, and seeing that it was the 34th annual race, most of the logistics had been sorted out over the years. All these factors made the overall planning, organizing and promoting of the race run like clockwork. From the Proud Pelican Awards to the D-tags on the bibs, it had all been done before; however, for me it was all new.
Going into the experience bright eyed and almost naïve, as a runner myself I was looking forward to the event, aside from having to start my day at a raw 4am. Setting up each water station which all had been strategically placed along the course, with just the right amount water cups, Gatorade packets, oranges and bananas is what consumed mine, and the other 5 course manager’s time until race start. Once everything was set I braced myself for the race start and the chaos I thought would follow.
I knew there were around 4,000 runners participating in our race, but being out on the course and not at the starting line really set a different tone. When the runners actually passed me, I was overcome with emotion, something I wasn’t planning on for the day.
The combination of knowing that all these runners chose to run our marathon on Kiawah Island, seeing the volunteers eagerly helping any runner that needed it, plus having a front row seat to 4000 people accomplishing their lifetime goals, was pretty motivational. Needless to say, the whole day I was holding back tears. Rotating around the course, I was becoming choked up at the most simple actions. Seeing kids holding handmade signs for their moms and dads, runners motivating other runners as they passed each other, residents standing in their driveways with their own “water” stations, everyone was working together to accomplish the same thing, to cross the finish line.
Throughout the day, I cheered runners on by calling out their names posted on their bibs, met with the volunteers, and organized waste from trash from recycling. What I wasn’t doing was tending to the “chaos” I was expecting to occur. Nothing about race day was chaotic, maybe because of the planning or maybe because every runner knew the day would bring challenges and obstacles, but they were ready to face them.
From working my first Kiawah Island Marathon, I discovered that although I love working Holidays around the resort, working the Marathon is undoubtedly my favorite day of the year. It gave me reassurance knowing that you truly can accomplish anything you put your mind too, especially because I witnessed 4,000 people doing that exact thing.
Written by Chelsey Stegmaier — our Kamp Kiawah Manager