As the full marathon runners ran down the Wildcat Hills Saturday, Sept. 28 through the wind and rain, they were greeted by several local business personnel and volunteers at aid and cheering stations. For the volunteers, the Monument Marathon is an opportunity to give back to the community and provide encouragement to the runners.
Sandberg Implements was the first aid station off of Sandberg Road south of Gering. Kelly Sandberg, Gerald Bacon, Doug and Joyce Stuckert have volunteered every year for the Monument Marathon.
“We just want to help the runners,” Sandberg said. “We’re right on the corner, so that’s why we do it.”
Joyce Stuckert said she also likes to provide the runners with encouragement as they reach the five mile mark of the run.
Sandberg picked up the water, Gatorade and energy snacks at Five Rocks Amphitheater at 6 a.m. Saturday morning before heading to the station.
Gerald Bacon, 83, has also volunteered almost every year at the Sandberg Implements station.
“It’s fun to do just watch them come and helping them out,” Bacon said.
Jagger Leicester was at the second station along the full marathon route helping pour water and Gatorade before handing it off to his mother, Annette and other volunteers. Leicester helped for his second year and said it’s great to come out and help. For his mother, she hopes her children understand the importance of giving back.
“I want to teach my kids to be involved in their community,” Leicester said. “It never hurts to give back.”
Sandy Brown volunteered at a station in front of Geil Elementary School along with her Simmons Olsen Law firm coworkers.
“It’s so inspiring to see people of all ages and from all over the country out here running,” she said. “They are really appreciative you’re out here.”
Brown said it is fun to support her community.
Just up the road from the law firm’s station, Cherokee Frahm-Thayer of Nelson, Nebraska, Leah Newman of Gering, Nebraska, and Shannon Piccone of Denver, Colorado, stood cheering on the runners. The University of Nebraska Medical Center nursing students said they braved the cold to promote fitness and health as part of their community service hours.
“As future nurses, we’re promoting healthy lifestyles,” Frahm-Thayer said.
Newman added, “There’s a lot of age groups, so it showed me how anyone can do it if they put their mind to it. It motivates me to learn how to run a marathon.”