Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Giving back

When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others - Chinese Proverb

It's easy to take and not pay it forward. We're all busy with professional and personal demands and it is very easy (or convenient?) to forget the bigger picture sometimes. The reality is, though, that we all rely on others no matter how independent we try to be. Whether it is reliance on our family, on our employers or on complete strangers, there is not a single day that goes by that any one of us can say that we were truly independent. As a result, I feel quite strongly that if you take, you need to give something in return.

I've spent the last two weekends doing a little to give back - first, two days for the Ride to Conquer Cancer and last weekend as a volunteer at the Scotiabank Half-marathon. Despite some nasty weather for the two-day ride, it feels good to be part of something important to my community. Over $11 million dollars were raised for the benefit of the BC Cancer Foundation as a culmination of the efforts of nearly 2,800 riders and volunteers!

Although somewhat less philanthropic, it's also easy to forget that every single athletic event is the culmination of the spirit of volunteers. The events I participate in would simply not happen were it not for the many people offering their time and assistance! It is a positive first step to say thank you to the volunteers and express appreciation for their time while you are wrenching gatorade from their hands or getting them to help you put on a pair of stinky sneakers in transition.....getting involved yourself is a fantastic way to give back to the sport.

While road races and triathlons have a big volunteer component, ultra running in particular impresses me with its culture of volunteerism. Many ultras even require their entrants to have proof of volunteer hours as a pre-requisite for participation! Although I'd like to believe that everyone who participates in events takes the time to volunteer at one, I know many people who simply never have given back....and think that it's a great idea to make it a pre-requisite!

So, the next time you have a recovery week and a few hours, get in touch with a local race director or sign up as a volunteer on the website of one of your favorite races. Not only is it a great way to get a front row seat for the action, but the reality is that many road races and tris would not happen without the effort of volunteers. So, for the love of our sport(s), get involved! :)

Team KPMG at the Ride to Conquer Cancer

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