By Karen Lozano
If ShadowChase Running Club volunteer Melanie Wiegand had a theme song, it might be from a Clint Eastwood movie.
As part of the club’s race timing team, she gets a taste of the good, the bad and the ugly. Weigand, along with Susan Cooper, Danielle Myers and a few others who pitch in from time to time, has the unenviable job of determining who wins and who places in local races by providing each runner accurate finish times.
“I really love timing,” said Wiegand. “I have learned a great deal and want to continue learning.”
The timing team mainly uses the club’s Jaguar timing system, which uses chips on runners’ bibs. While it is quite accurate, it’s not 100% efficient, therefore she must keep a close eye on runners as they cross the finish line to make sure their bibs are read by antennas.
“Watching the runners coming through the finish line is about the best thing,” she said. “Most people are very proud no matter what their time may be. … It’s also fun to watch the runners accomplish their individual goals at each race.”
The “bad” part of her duties: “Timing a race is always a bit stressful, but ‘Coop’ knows her stuff and I have a great time working with her and others.”
The ugly: “The worst thing is when the reader doesn’t read a runner and we cannot figure out the reason immediately.” Wiegand and company must then spend time evaluating results and possible misreads, quite often while under the gun as runners await the awards ceremony.
Wiegand, a ShadowChase member since 2010, said she doesn’t know what inspires her to volunteer. “I enjoy working with all the members I have worked alongside, and I also feel appreciated for what I do. That’s always helpful, to feel the appreciation for a job well done.”
Besides helping time races, Wiegand has been involved with data entry for the Modesto Marathon, and likes doing that job as well.
“I really enjoy helping in any way I can.”
Wiegand is a fifth-grade teacher at Stockard Coffee School.
“I know there have been times when I have not been able to help out as much as possible because of work — report cards, parent conferences, etc.,” she said in true teacher fashion. “Most times however, I look forward to the diversion of programming chips and the other things that come along with the task.”
Wiegand joined ShadowChase when friends asked her to come out and run with them. “Then I met (Director of Membership) Heidi (Ryan) and she welcomed me so warmly that I was hooked.
“I really enjoy the people I have met in the running group,” she added. “There are many wonderful people involved in the group.”
If you know a ShadowChase Running Club volunteer you would like to see in the spotlight, please contact Karen Lozano at firstname.lastname@example.org.