Dear Dumb Runner,
Why do volunteers and staff at the finish lines of races always ask you questions that you are unable to answer no matter how simple?—Stephanie, Richmond, Indiana
Because volunteers and staff at the finish lines of races are sick, sick people. That's why.
Think about it. Why do you think they chose to work the finish line, of all possible places? These people could have asked to distribute shirts, or help with bib numbers, or hand out cups of water, or rake up those same cups once they've been discarded. But no. They opted to staff the finish line, where they get a front-row seat of runners at their worst—exhausted, hurting, disoriented, incoherent, maybe even physically injured. It's like they're working on an assembly line, except instead of widgets trundling by, one after another, they get to inspect a steady stream of broken spirits.
Who else besides a disturbed individual would volunteer for such a job? And who else but a total sadist would then torment these shells of their former selves by asking cruel and unusual questions, such as...
- How are you? and
- Are you feeling OK? and
- Would you like a space blanket? and
Keep this in mind the next time you finish a marathon. Let these "helpers" know you're onto them. Then shuffle slowly, slowly away.