Volunteering is a wise option if you are not quite ready to commit to your first Ironman Triathlon.
You may be unsure if the Ironman is a challenge you feel you want to undertake at this point in your life. There’s no shame in that. It makes more sense to be absoulutely certain before jumping into something like the Ironman that is so all consuming of time, energy, and monetary costs.
Pick a venue where you would like to make your first Ironman attempt when the time is right for you. Contact them and offer your services as a volunteer. I’m sure you will be welcomed with open arms.
If possible, take a weeks holiday and volunteer for the days leading up to the race, as well as race day itself. This will give you an excellent feel for what the Ironman Triathlon is all about.
I’d highly recommend being out on the marathon/bike course as an aid station volunteer. Often there are aid stations that do double duty. You will see the athletes during the bike and the run. Believe me, if you needed a nudge to help make your committment to enter the Ironman yourself, this will do it.
Perhaps the best place to be is right at the finish line. It may be difficult to get a spot here, but if you can—do it! Being in the transition area at the race finish is quite an experience. You’ll be tripping over your feet as you run to sign up for the next year. It’s a very moving experience.
There are several bonuses that go along with being a volunteer.
1)You witness first-hand ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
2)You are a HUGE part of them reaching their goal.
3)You get a really nifty volunteer t-shirt.
4)You will meet volunteers and athletes from all over the world.
5)You will most likely be able to go to the carbo dinner and awards for free.
6)Best of all, you can get up the morning after the race and enter for the next year and be assured of getting in. So make sure you bring your checkbook and and necessary documentation.
You really can’t lose by being a volunteer. Either you will be instumental in helping others achieve their goals and/or the volunteer experience will be the catalyst for you filling out an entry for next year’s race.
So don’t feel pressured to do the Ironman right now! It will be there for you the next year or the year after that. It will call to you and one day you will be truly “Ironstruck” and you will live the dream.
In the course of my 20 year Ironman career I’ve seen many people decide to try their first Ironman after seeing one first hand. Hopefully my article on volunteering will be useful to you in reaching your decision.
The name of my site is “Ironstruck”.
The address is triathlon-ironman-myfirstironman-ironstruck.com