Tag Archives: Volunteering

Volunteer To Be Part Of The Runner’s Rite Of Spring!

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run needs thousands of volunteers to make The Runner’s Rite Of Spring® the finest 10-mile race in the nation. From helpful people handing out bibs at the expo to smiling fans working water stops along the course, there are so many volunteers that impact the race experience!

Photo courtesy of Don Libes, on Flickr

One of my favorite race day traditions is to make it a point to thank the volunteers. I know I couldn’t finish the race without the volunteers at the water stops, and might have been lost without the volunteers answering my questions at the expo. I am thankful for everyone who took time out of their days to make my race experience better.

Continue reading Volunteer To Be Part Of The Runner’s Rite Of Spring!

Keep Calm And Volunteer

If you’re in the Northeast United States, or at least the Mid-Atlantic, then like me you’ve spent much of the past week hiding from the cold and snow.  Here in Washington DC, we reacted to #Snowzilla with our customary coolness under fire (just picture a ballroom of cats given enough catnip to power several zip codes’ worth of Christmas lights, and then setting a herd of Roombas upon them.  Did I mention the ballroom was on the Titanic?).

This probably has resulted in you being cooped up, or stuck on your treadmill.  Runners get a little crazy when they can’t Do That Thing They Do (that song is in your head now, you’re welcome).  All of this snow, slush, and ice might have you feeling a little behind when it comes to training, especially if you’re new to running, or if the 10-mile distance is a new frontier.  I suggest remembering this mantra:


You might well wonder what the heck volunteering has to do with training. You’re a long distance runner.  You gotta think Long Term. Continue reading Keep Calm And Volunteer

Sustainability and Going Green at Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run


Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day we’d like to highlight some of the efforts that the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Race is making to ensure that it is a sustainable road race.

Over the past few years the CUCB race committee has recognized the importance of being an environmentally friendly event and has formed a dedicated sub-committee to manage these efforts. This committee manages a certification process through the Council for Responsible Sport  that recognizes athletic events that are going above and beyond to protect the environment in which they operate.  For the CUCB 10 Mile Race, this means making sure that event venues are environmentally friendly and that the National Parks grounds that the race course is run on remains clean and preserved for the future.

We couldn’t do any of this without continued support from runners and volunteers.  We had 22 amazing “Green Team” volunteers helping out on race day, to make sure that as much waste as possible was diverted from landfills and recycled or composted.  These volunteers worked hard to make sure that water bottles were recycled, banana peels were composted and that heat sheets were collected for “upcycling.”  We also collected 68 bags of clothing at the start line and donated them to Goodwill Industries.

The sustainability efforts of the CUCB 10 Mile race did not just happen on race day.  At the shoesSustainability Booth at the Health and Fitness Expo, we collected 195 pairs of gently used athletic shoes to donate to MORE Foundation Group.

We also partnered with TapIt to make runners aware of local establishments who would refill a water bottle for free.  This service makes it easier for runners and those out and about for the day to refill empty water bottles instead of throwing them away in purchasing water.

A free bike valet service was offered at both the Health and Fitness Expo and the race, and we arranged for Metro to open two hours early on race day.

While we’re happy with our progress, like any runner trying to beat a PR, we are continuing to plan to make the 2016 race an even greener and more sustainable race.  We welcome ideas from our runners and appreciate your feedback.

About the Authors:

Kim Nemire is the lead team member of CUCB’s dedicated sustainability committee.  She’s responsible for coordinating all the efforts of the sustainability of the race and affiliated events.  Currently, Kim is working on a goat farm in rural Illinois helping make goat milk soaps and goat cheese.

Anna Dengler is a member of the sustainability team.  She is responsible for coordinating outreach and communication efforts of the sustainability team’s mission.  She currently works at a software company in Baltimore.

Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run Charity Ride at Biker Barre

What’s up with this weather, huh?  Not very conducive to outdoor training!  Good news – I’ve got a great way for y’all to keep up your cardio without stomping through the snow and ice: spinning!

children's miracle network hospitals
Give a miracle!

So, here’s the exciting news: I’ve teamed with Biker Barre to host a Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run Charity Ride!  With a $14 donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (classes at Biker Barre are normally $22 per class!) you will get a seat in the class, a 2015 Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Race t-shirt, a great cross training workout, and best of all, you’ll sweat for a great cause!

Spinning is a wonderful cross training workout, whether you’re training for your next race, or recovering from one.

  1. Spinning adds variety to your workouts.
  2. Spinning is low impact and will give your joints a break.
  3. Spinning will help you strengthen muscles that you don’t use as much when you’re running.

I started spinning as a way to maintain my cardio after developing an injury from my first marathon.  Spinning was a welcomed change – and it only took a few weeks before I learned to love it.  Three years later, I’m an avid spinner and instructor, sharing my love for the bike at a local studio in Capitol Hill: Biker Barre.

The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is a non-profit international organization that helps to treat millions of children across the U.S. and Canada.  Every dollar that you donate will support research and training, and will pay for uncompensated care that saves and improves the lives of as many children as possible.

You want in?  Great!  Here are the details:

  • Date: Saturday, March 7th
  • Time: 1PM-1:45PM
  • Where: Biker Barre: 738 7th Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003 (The closest metro stop is Eastern Market Metro.  There is also street parking available.)
  • How to reserve a spot in the class: The only way to reserve a spot is to email info@bikerbarre.com with the subject line ‘Cherry Blossom Run Charity Ride” and tell them you would like to reserve a bike with Lauren R.  They will send you an email confirmation of your reservation, as well as a link back to this site so you can donate.  Please make sure to email info@bikerbarre.com BEFORE donating to ensure you get a spot in the class.

More details about the ride:

  • Never been to Biker Barre? That’s ok! The only thing we will need from you is to sign our liability waiver. You can do this ahead of time by creating an account online here and click on the ‘sign-up’ link at the top of the page (you do not need to sign up for a class, just create an account.)  Every rider must sign this waiver.
  • Already been to Biker Barre?  You’re all set 🙂
  • Arrival Time: Plan to arrive fifteen minutes before the class. You will need time to sign in and set up your bikes.
  • What to Bring: Just bring water – we’ve got the towels for during and after class!
  • What to Wear: Wear comfortable workout clothes. Try to avoid pants that are too loose and flowy. Normal workout-appropriate sneakers will work just fine.
  • To Donate: Donating online is safe and easy! To make an online donation please click the “Support Me” button on the top of this page.
  • Question: Please email me!

Nervous to try your first spin class?  Don’t be!  Here are some tips to help you feel more prepared.

Lauren Rice CUCB BlogLauren is a midwesterner-turned-DC-transplant who still geeks out every time she runs down The National Mall.  She is happiest with her camera in hand and loves to cook up delicious recipes for her food blog, Just a Pinch (www.justapinchblog.com).  When not crunching numbers as a non-profit financial analyst, Lauren is teaching spinning, running the streets of Capitol Hill with her lab, Gus, or continuing her studies towards becoming a Registered Dietitian.  This will be her third Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run and she’s got her eyes on a PR!  Follow her adventures on Twitter + Instagram.

Very Important Volunteers

Did you know it takes more than 2,000 volunteers to organize the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run?

No doubt about it, volunteers are the fuel that keeps the 43-year-old DC racing tradition running smoothly.

Volunteers are so important to the success of the race, the organizers throw in some serious perks to thank everyone involved. The most sought after? A guaranteed entry for the next year’s race. So if you love all things Cherry Blossom and had hoped to kick off your spring running season with the Credit Union race, have no fear! Volunteer, and you won’t have to go through the pins-and-needles, hand-wringing lottery process. (We’ve lost one or two nights of sleep crossing our fingers to get in around lottery time).

CUCB lottery
Cross your fingers!

So I talked to Nita Lalla Roncone, the volunteer coordinator to find out what you need to know about volunteering for the 2015 Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.

Roncone says there are more than 50 spots left for volunteers, scattered over four days and two states (plus the District of Columbia).

“Volunteers pick up elite athletes from the airport, direct runners from the metro, distribute t-shirts, hand out water, organize runner-bibs, sell merchandise, control the crowd, cheer the runners, and so much more,” Roncone says.

Roncone says the best part of being a volunteer is meeting the runners.

“Seeing them at the expo, after they have trained hard for this race and are gearing up for the big run, and then seeing the joy (and pain) on their faces after they conquer the distance and wrap themselves in a heat blanket… knowing that you were a part of the magic reminds our volunteers that we are all part of something bigger,” she says.

And for runners who got in? Don’t forget to thank the volunteers.

CUCB volunteer
Volunteers are VIPs!

“Volunteers are the foundation of the race,” Roncone says. “Can you imagine having a race without volunteers? There would be no water, no medals, no entertainment. You wouldn’t even know what your time is when you cross the finish line since there would be no one with a microphone to tell you the time. We have so many volunteers that you see – handing out t-shirts and race packets at the expo – and so many volunteers that you don’t see. Those are the ones who set up everything and take it all down. They make the magic happen: tents get set up, water stations are built, heat blankets are unloaded and distributed, as are bananas, water, and food.”

Not a runner? The entry is transferrable – and a great way to make a runner friend’s day. Convinced? Head on over and sign up here!

Oh and how could we forget? Volunteers also score a 2015 Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile long-sleeve volunteer t-shirt.

From the CUCB blog team, a huge THANK YOU to everyone to makes this incredible race what it is! See you on the course!


nataliediblasio blog

Natalie started running in the second grade and hasn’t stopped since. In her day job, she is a reporter on the breaking news team at USA TODAY. In the way-too-early mornings and shouldn’t-you-be-exhausted-by-now evenings she’s busy running, practicing yoga at her favorite studio, acting as President of the American News Women’s Club or writing for Run Washington, HalfMarathons.net and Runner’s Breakfast. Natalie is a chronically starving marathoner, loud laugher and wannabe triathlete in training for her first half Ironman in June.

Time to Care: Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Today’s post is from guest blogger Terry Orzechowski, Executive Director of Patient Experience and Ombudsman at Children’s National Medical Center.

Eighteen years ago, I came home from work on a summer day to find my oldest son, Daniel, complaining of chest pains. He said he felt like his heart was beating too fast. I placed my hand on his chest and found it was racing. He was seventeen years old.

I didn’t even call 911. Immediately I put him in the car and drove as fast as I could to the emergency room at Children’s National Medical Center. They had him in a bed and working on him within three minutes of our arrival. The emergency room staff allowed me to stay with Daniel until they needed to shock his heart to stabilize the rhythm, before transferring him to intensive care for further treatment. They directed me to the waiting room then.
As Daniel’s heart raced, so did my mind. My husband had just boarded a plane for business travel and had no idea what was going on. Our younger son and daughter were still at the pool and would also need to be informed, without worrying them. As I waited and worried about my son, a resident who had been in the room as Daniel was treated joined me in the waiting room. He said he knew this was scary. He said he’d sit with me until the doctors came out. I can’t remember his name, but I’ll never forget that he took time to be there with me.

Daniel was found to have Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a heart condition present from birth that leads to increased heart rhythms. Although his case was challenging, his treatment worked well. He had a cardiac ablation, a catheterization process, and didn’t require a pacemaker or medication to keep the rhythm steady.

Daniel also had understanding doctors who worked with him that summer to monitor his heart, keeping in mind they were dealing with a teenage boy. Dan was about to enter his junior year in high school. No one that age wants to walk around with anything indicating they have a medical condition. Dr. (Jeffrey) Moak worked with him about the timing for wearing a heart monitor. He and all the staff at the hospital really treated my son with respect.

Today, Daniel is 35 years old and well, with two sons of his own.

Our experience at Children’s had a profound impact on me. So did subsequent trips to the hospital for my younger son to be treated for asthma and an immune deficiency. I wondered if I could ever be lucky enough to work for Children’s. A couple of years later, I opened up the classified ads and job listings and spotted the Children’s logo right away. I eagerly applied to be director of volunteers at the hospital, and was hired for the job. Fifteen years later, I’m now Executive Director of Patient Experience and Ombudsman.
I’ve been a parent sitting in the waiting room, waiting for test results to find out what’s wrong with my child. That’s always on my mind as I encounter other parents who bring their children to the hospital.

The experience of how parents and their children are treated at Children’s is equal to the quality of the medical treatment they receive. And that makes such a difference. They care what we know, but they also care that we care.

Daniel today, healthy and happy with his wife and two sons.
Daniel today, healthy and happy with his wife and two sons.

Become an online fundraiser and support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals as a Credit Union Cherry Blossom runner! 


Go Green at CUCB!

volunteer with recycling sign
Go green!

It’s that time again and everyone is thinking green!  Whether it’s adding an Irish folk song to your running playlist or carbo-loading with a Guinness we’re all thinking a little greener this week.

With the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile three weeks away the Greening Team will be constantly thinking green… even if it is in a slightly different sense of the word.  We know that what we do today will have lasting effects far into the future.  While we’ve made it a goal to find innovative ways to reduce reuse and recycle wherever possible, we still need your help.

So here are some easy ways to go green on race weekend:

  • Bring your own water bottle. Not only will this be environmentally conscience but you’ll be able to fly by the water stops on the course.
water bottle recycling
Recycle those empties or bring your own! 
  • Recycle water bottles and plastic wrappers. We understand that it’s not always easy to bring your own water bottle, so if you do take a water bottle at the end of the course please recycle.  Also, once you’re done with your delicious Larabar snacks those wrappers are recyclable too. We’ll have an ample amount of recycle bins and volunteers to help you dispose of your empty water bottle and other plastic wrappers. Did you know that the average time for a plastic bottle to completely degrade is at least 450 years? It can take some bottles 1000 years to biodegrade!
recycle bin
Recycle that wrapper!
  • Recycle Heat sheets. Because the spring weather is so unpredictable this year we will be providing heat sheets to our runners, so if you do take a heat sheet at the end of the course please recycle.  We’ll have an ample amount of recycle bins and volunteers to help you dispose of your used heat sheet.
Compost bins, like minions, love bananas.
  • Compost left-over food, especially banana peels. We don’t want to have any unfortunate accidents with runners slipping on banana peels!  Did you know that composting helps prevent pollution? Composting organic materials that have been diverted from landfills avoids the production of methane and leachate formulation in the landfills.  From a global warming point of view a given amount of methane is 23 times more threatening as a greenhouse gas than the same amount of carbon dioxide. So if food waste can be kept out of a landfill by composting it instead, our environment benefits!
  • Donate old shoes and clothing. It’s always a bit chilly on race morning, so don your old crazy sweats to keep you warm (you know, that rouge sweatshirt from the college you didn’t even go to!).  As you begin your race leave the discarded clothing at the side of the corral.  We’ll be collecting everything to donate to a local charity after the race.

We are working with the National Park Service, who manages National Mall and Memorial Parks (where you are running!) to really focus on environmental sustainability efforts during our events. We want to preserve the grounds we run on so that future runners and visitors can keep enjoying the monuments and cherry blossoms for decades to come.

Your number one job is to have fun and run your best race possible!  Our job is to make the race safe, fun and enjoyable for runners and spectators.  It is all of our responsibilities to work together to help preserve the environment and  ensure that many more runners get to experience the same great race in the same beautiful space in the nation’s capital.

-The Greening Team

Read more about the environmental initiatives of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile.

2014 Running Goals

Can you believe it’s January already? I’m not much for making New Year’s Resolutions (or keeping them!) , but I do like to set a few goals for the new year. Not surprisingly, I have a few running-related goals that I thought might resonate with other runners.

2014 Goals

  1. Volunteer at a race. The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Run needs 2,000 volunteers to help the event run smoothly. Did you know that if you volunteer this year, you can earn a guaranteed entry for the 2015 race?  (You can learn more here.)
  2. Run a race for fun and/or pace a new runner through their first race. Even when I plan to just “have fun” in a race, I usually end up pushing myself as soon as the starting gun goes off. One way to force myself to take a different approach would be to pace a new runner through his or her first 5K. If you have more time to give back to the community, you might want to consider getting involved with Teens Run DC, a local organization with a mission to empower at-risk youth to envision and work towards personal goals through a mentoring and distance running program.
  3. Sign up for a new race. With so many great races in the Washington, D.C. area, I tend to fill my race calendar with the same races year in and year out. Last year I was excited to run in the inaugural US National Road Racing Championships 12K (a USTAF event) in Alexandria, Virginia, and it was a fantastic event. Even if I can’t enter another brand-new race, there are lots of other great races close to home that I’ve never entered.
  4. Pack my running gear. Last year I had the opportunity to run in several new cities–you can see the photo recap on my blog here.  With several business trips already lined up for 2014, I plan to pack my running gear and do my best to get in a run before or after my meetings.

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? 

Other than the CUCB, what is your favorite local race? 


Courtenay is an attorney and Virginia native, born, raised and living in Alexandria, Virginia. She started running after graduating from law school, and has been hooked on the endorhpins ever since. Her favorite race distance is 10 miles.