I am so honored and humbled that I was chosen as one of the 16 race ambassadors for this year’s Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon. A lot of people have asked me things like, “How did you become an ambassador? What all were you expected to do? Do you have a discount code? Do I really have to run with my passport?” Let me answer those questions…
How did you become an ambassador? I applied! Each year, usually in December, the Detroit Free Press Marathon asks for applications to become a race ambassador for the next year’s race. The application has questions about your running, social media, and any groups you are a part of. They are looking for outgoing individuals who are active on social media and are excited to spread the word about this race! They have hundreds of applicants each year, and only selected 16 of us this year. If you love this race and you have a good social media presence, consider applying! It is so much fun.
What all were you expected to do? Spread the word about the race, answer questions and guide participants to information, volunteer at the information booth at the expo, run ANY of the races, and most of all – HAVE FUN! We were given guidelines on posting with suggestions on how often to post on all different forms of social media. We were each given unique discount codes to share with our friends, family and followers. We had access to the team at the marathon who had answers to all of the questions our followers asked if we didn’t know them. We had to be engaging and there was some work to do, but when it is something you enjoy and for an event that brings you happiness, it definitely doesn’t feel like work!
Do you have a discount code? Yes. As I mentioned above, we were each given a unique discount code to share with our friends, family and followers. We were also given heads up from the team about special discounts from the marathon – like during the 4th of July holiday when a better discount was offered, etc. We kept our followers informed of price increases and deadlines.
Do I really have to carry my passport? If you are running an international race in the future, yes. The answer to this question will always be yes. You must carry your passport, enhanced driver’s license, or whatever other document/card you can use to cross the U.S./Canada border. We ambassadors have lots of great advice on how and where to carry them. Bottom line though – you MUST have this. Many runners commented to me after the race that they noticed the border patrol seemed stricter this year than in year’s passed. I myself saw several runners stopped because they did not have their bibs showing or they were carrying fluids. If you’re stopped and you don’t have your passport, EDL, etc. – well, you probably aren’t going to finish the race. And nobody wants that to happen. So if you run this race in the future – yes, yes, yes, you must carry one of these documents!
The group of ambassadors this year was phenomenal. We all had unique stories and backgrounds. It was a lot of fun learning about each other, sharing our ups and downs throughout the year, and spreading the word about this race we all love so much. Some of us met at different events throughout the year, and some did not meet until race weekend.
For me the best part of my duties as a race ambassador and the part that summed it all up was working with each other at the expo. I chose the Saturday morning shift and worked along side four of the others. It was busy – we had lots of people coming up to us asking questions about what they should and should not carry with them, wondering what corral they were in and whether or not they should or could change it, seeking advice on when to get to the race and where to park, and looking for encouragement and tips about the race from us. I love working expos and packet pickup almost as much as I love running the races themselves. It is always so fun and inspiring to hear other people’s stories. Sure, sometimes you run into some stress and a few grumpy runners occasionally, but as someone who has been in their shoes I understand where those feelings come from!
The 3.5 hours that I spent working at the expo flew right by. I wanted to stay and do more, but I also knew how much was ahead of me, and that being on my feet all day would not be the smartest choice the day before my marathon. As I said on my Facebook post earlier this week – I may not be an official ambassador in the future, but I will always be a huge ambassador for this race! I just love the Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon.
More parts to come – stay tuned for race recap part 4 coming at ya tomorrow!