those who ‘run’ the marathon
by Jennifer MacKinnon | May 5, 2014
Just for fun, before writing this article, I Googled “how
to organize a marathon.” The first website to pop
up explained that you can organize a marathon in just 13
steps. These organizational steps include “select
a date and location” and “find out what licences
or other permissions you will need.” The one thing
it didn’t talk about was finding the people to actually
put on the event.
Organizing an event the size of the Sudbury Rocks Race,
Run or Walk for Diabetes is a huge undertaking. Planning
begins in May of each year, just as the current year’s
event is wrapping up. It takes a full year to make sure
that all details — the 13 organizational steps mentioned
above, plus about 10,000 other steps — are looked
The first, and key step for a successful event like this
is to get the right people involved. If you don’t
have those people, the event will struggle to succeed.
The Sudbury Rocks event needs about 300 volunteers in order
to take place, in addition to the 20 people who are already
part of the organizing committee. The organizing committee
over the years has been mostly made up of runners and members
of the Sudbury Rocks Running Club, however, there are also
a number of dedicated, community-minded volunteers who aren’t
The great irony of the Sudbury Rocks Race, Run or Walk
for Diabetes, in my opinion, is that the people who run
the event, and whose favourite sport in the whole world
is running, don’t get to run in the event. They are
running around the event during the event, but not actually
running in the event.
I have said to Vince Perdue, former race director and a
continuing organizing committee volunteer, that I would
love to see him run the race he helped to build. Vince always
says that for him, being behind the scenes is a far more
satisfying place to be than running the race.
All grassroots sports clubs have these passionate people,
the ones who love the sport so much that they want to share
it with others. Hockey never seems to have a shortage of
parents who loved the game as a child and are willing to
help this new generation learn to love the game, too. Or
the mom who saw how competitive swimming gave her so much
in life, that going to the Laurentian pool to coach at 6
a.m. is something she does happily. Or the dad who gives
up cross-country skiing himself so the trails are groomed
and kids are driven to loppets.
And this is what is so amazing about our volunteers —
they love the sport so much they would rather provide others
the chance to participate than to participate themselves.
These people really are building our community for the
These volunteers don’t need a medal to hang on the
wall. Their accomplishment is seeing happiness spread to
And thanks to these community builders, we will have future
generations of passionate volunteers continuing the tradition.
Jennifer MacKinnon is a dedicated
SudburyRocks!!! committee member with 20 years experience
in the non-profit field, and has been involved in numerous
sports organizations as a coach, committee member and proud