Runners participating in the Woody's RV World Marathon and Half Marathon braved the rain as they began their run at 8 a.m. Sunday morning. The marathon used parts of the trail system for the course

Volunteers key to enduring popularity of Woody’s Marathon

A record number of runners — more than 1,600 — participated in this year’s Woody’s Marathon, but the marathon wouldn’t have been able to run without the help of its army of volunteers.

A record number of runners — more than 1,600 — participated in this year’s Woody’s Marathon, but the marathon wouldn’t have been able to run without the help of its army of volunteers.

Janice Dempsey has been involved in some way with the marathon since its start in 1998 as both a runner and as a volunteer.

“I’ve run the marathon, I’ve run the half a few times. Last year I ran the half,” said Dempsey. “But in between when I’m not running I always volunteer.”

This year she was set up on the race handing out drinks, directions and support for participants.

“I love being there and I love the fact that when I’m running there are people out there helping you, cheering you on, showing you the direction,” said Dempsey. “It’s fun to be part of it all.

“I usually like being at the finish line, I like putting the medals on and seeing the faces of the participants as they cross. It’s really exciting.”

For four years now Kirsten Barschel has helped out at the race. She used to run herself, but decided to help out in the local running community.

“There’s the nervous anticipation of the race before when people are picking up their package and they’re excited to see what their training has done for them,” said Barschel. “On race day when everybody is lining up to go it is excitement, and after the race everyone has those endorphins flowing and everybody is happy with the accomplishment.”

She has had several tasks over the years, including package pickups for runners, prize tent and helping at the finish line.

Darlene Henderson, one of the marathon organizers, said without volunteers the marathon wouldn’t be able to take place. More than 300 people volunteered in some capacity. Some work race day, the days leading up to or helping set up the marathon.

“We have volunteers who have been here for 16 years,” said Henderson.

Henderson said the volunteer appreciation night a week before the marathon saw only about 100 people show up. She hopes more volunteers start to come out to be recognized for their contribution.

It rained throughout the race, but most runner don’t mind, said Henderson. The weather had a greater impact on the after-race festivities as people were more likely to go home after running.

“People try to find a place indoors as opposed to being outside and enjoying the sunshine,” said Henderson. “When the sun is shining, the field by Lindsay Thurber is full of people and everybody is just sitting on the grass and enjoying the day, but that couldn’t happen this year.”

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