A Thank-You Letter to Volunteers from Drew Dinan

I had an entirely different post planned for today. There are still a few days of the Hawai’i adventure we need to get through, and much, much more. (For example, I’ve recently discovered a Very Old Book that might just be one of the most beautifully written adventure books I’ve ever laid my eyes on.)

But just as we humans tend to make plans, whatever it is out there that makes the Universe go around tends to enjoy changing them, and this time, I can’t even be too upset about it (not that we ever should; there’s really nothing we can do about it anyway).

And so it happens that instead of a book recommendation or a continuation of the Hawai’i research trip report, today, I’m sharing a link to a short article written for Ultrarunning Magazine by Drew Dinan, a runner every volunteer can only dream of coming through their aid station.

I’ve been on both sides of the game; I’ve both volunteered uncountable hours at aid stations, having been so fortunate as to have runners like Drew come through, and crawled through aid stations, having been so fortunate as to have volunteers like Drew had. Luckily for us volunteers, there are many runners like Drew, and luckily for us runners, there are many volunteers like the ones he writes about.

I myself have been wanting to write a thank-you note for volunteers for a long time, even though—or, perhaps, exactly because I’ve spent so much time out there, in the pouring rain, in the scorching sun, in the midst of a gale. Being a volunteer is a privilege, and one of the most raw and beautiful experiences. And sometimes, it gets tough. So a thank-you note for my fellow volunteers, for having been out there by my side, sounded like a good idea. But I couldn’t have done it better than Drew. And so, I humbly ask you, read his words, whether you’re a volunteer, a runner, or neither (yet). They will warm your heart and make the next rainy race a thousand times better, no matter which side you stand on.

With love,
—P

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