The Rock ‘n Sole run has been an annual half-marathon/quarter-marathon/5k that has gone on for seven years. It is a test for the strength and endurance of a person and is a way for a person to grow. Thousands of people, men and women alike, took this challenge on the morning of June 10, 2017, and proved their capabilities. However, instead of actually running in the marathon, my Chinese Community group volunteered to help cheer on the runners after the twelve mile mark. Although it was nothing compared to actually participating in the run, the entire experience was both fulfilling and entertaining.
By motivating the runners, it felt like my group had achieved our ultimate goal. Hearing people say afterwards that the group of people behind the art museum helped them run was incredibly rewarding. Seeing people start to run faster due to our cheering, helped us realize the reason why we were volunteering. It was to simply motivate and push the people to do the best that they could do. One specific time right after reaching the twelve mile mark, a man was walking. Directly after seeing our group screaming you can do it and you’re awesome, he began to pick up his pace and started to run. He had even said something along the lines of “looks like I should at least start running for you guys.” Cheering and whooping made me realize that even the smallest amount of motivation could go a long way.
Our job for the runners was also extremely entertaining. One specific aspect was that our group utilized our Chinese culture and performed a lion dance to encourage the runners to keep going. Under the blanket of the lion, it is hard to see what is going on in the outside world, so you just dance and cheer. At the same time, we enjoy ourselves and we know that the lion is posing as a sort of entertainment that the runners enjoy too. In addition to the lion, I extremely enthusiastic when it came to cheering. I would be in front of a line volunteers, extending my hand to be the first person to high five the oncoming runners. Not only me, but the rest of my peers were all screaming so loudly and for so long that our voices were raspy and inaudible. For almost two full hours, we made sure that each person got the equal amount of cheering, whether they were in first or in last; we screamed like there was no tomorrow.
After this experience at the Rock ‘n Sole run, I definitely intend to come back. Many volunteering opportunities that I have taken have been enjoyable, but this one was special. It was a beautiful occasion to be outside, it showed our culture to society, and it was inspiring to see thousands of people running and being healthy. It was unlike anything that I have ever done, and I cannot wait to be able to do it again.
By Emily Wang
Photos provided by Jianguo Sun