By: Bear Caudillo
I’ve mentioned before how running has changed my life but to have it transform in powerful ways was unexpected. I look at the titles I’ve held as a runner. Mentor, Pacer, President, and Ambassador, running sure has a way of rewarding someone who has never won a race.
I look at these shirts and think my gift was never speed but sharing the same passion for hard work that fast runners have. I’ve donated a lot of my race shirts to local organizations or second hand shops over the years but my “title” shirts remain in my collection.
My mentor shirts remind of all the wonderful people I’ve met and trained with. The 3 times a week meets and the Saturday long runs. I look at the 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, Marathon programs I was a part of and know each “season” has so many success stories.
The love for running and the potential it has to change someone’s life really showed through mentoring. I mean, I got to see lives change with every mile. On those race day mornings, I would wear that Mentor shirt with pride, not because I was one for the program but the trainees were just an inspirational bunch to represent. Those years are unforgettable.
The president shirt held a lot of responsibilities. I got a soft introduction to what race directors do. The run club was a first in North Hollywood. I didn’t use my feet as much for this chapter of running. Late nights, phone calls, and emails. The smiles and good times by the club members were the goal. I wanted to do something different. We did that with our “Pizza Mile”.
I am Straight Edge (abstaining from alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes) and running a club that involved beer on Mondays was also a task in itself. The nights I did run with the club were a blast! The party run was palpable. It came to an end for me eventually as Mondays became a very busy day in my personal life. I wish the new version of the club the utmost best.
I’ve been a pacer for 4 years and my pacing shirts are always worn with a purpose. It is also my most common shirt. If you’re not familiar with pacers, they are the runners you see at races with sticks that have times printed on them. Pacers are essentially “Running volunteers”. We are there to help you. I love pacing because I get to give back to the sport that gave me my life back and seeing it do the same to others is a joy. I am always honored to hear your stories on race day. Whether it’s a runner’s training regimen or the last minute game plan, I love hearing it all. Pacing to me has been at the heart of who I am as a runner.
Pacing has also afforded me to meet runners in other states! I have paced races in Arizona and Utah. I am blessed to continue my mentor days with pacing.
Last but not least, my Santa Clarita Ambassador shirt. I get to represent YOU! I also get to represent the race. Santa Clarita is my favorite city to run in (see previous blog). The city has always been good to me. I felt it was natural to work here too! Last year, I enjoyed my mornings in Santa Clarita so much that I decided to work at Six Flags for Fright Fest at night. The community here is amazing on all fronts. I am grateful for the years as an ambassador because my love for the race, people, and community grows every year. I can’t see myself training anywhere else. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I look forward to seeing you on race morning. Pizza suit and all. Let’s party!