Enthusiastic Jan Howes Sees Positivity and Energy in Volunteering for IRONMAN
By Lisa Beck, Harmony Public Involvement
Jan Howes is an “original volunteer” with IRONMAN. She started in 2010 when the first IRONMAN was hosted in St. George. When asked why she volunteers, she responds, “Oh my gosh … why not? I’m not athletic. I get a lot of energy from being around the athletes, and it fills you up.”
Elaborating, Jan says, “You get to meet people, and they are kind, wonderful and funny. They restore my faith in the humanity of the world. All we hear is negative. They are wonderful people from everywhere. Our world is kind, and there are good people here, and it’s about celebrating life. I hope I can say I will never quit!”
Through the years she has had many responsibilities to help ensure the success of the event, but is currently the captain of packet stuffing for registration and T2 Support. With 3,000-4,000 athletes expected to descend on St. George for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships from September 11 -18, registration is no easy task. Through previous IRONMAN Races, Jan has organized a team of volunteers who assist her.
On race days, she serves as T2 Support, which is the area where athletes transition from cycling to running. Prior to the race, all athletes prepare their gear bags, and these are checked in and organized. As a cyclist is nearing the T2 area, their number is called out, and their gear bag located. It is handed to them, and they change into different shoes and other clothing. Because of the organization by Jan and others, it helps the athlete move quickly through the transition with minimal impact to their time. They keep the gear organized for easy pick up by the athletes following the race.
One aspect of volunteering which keeps Jan coming back year after year, is the Volunteer Coordinator, Colby Neilson. “He gets straight to the point and is so good. He tells us what we need to do, and he’s funny. He is just a really good person. His professionalism is what I like. It keeps me organized and on my toes. He goes out for all of the captains. He makes us feel we are integral for the success of this event.”
In addition, she has met people and has made many new friends. “It was difficult going initially on my own. Jean Rogers was my partner for years, and she has since retired from IRONMAN. As I have grown older,” Jan continues, “I can stay active and involved. The other volunteers are extremely friendly. We have a lot of fun. I have a good team to support.”
When Jan isn’t volunteering for IRONMAN or the Huntsman Senior Games, she keeps busy at her day job at Workforce Services. It was at work where she was first introduced to IRONMAN. “Someone stopped by and dropped off posters about the first IRONMAN event. One guy was running around the office saying wouldn’t this be fun. I thought so too, so I volunteered,” said Jan.
What are the benefits for getting involved and volunteering? According to Jan “it’s an experience they will remember for the rest of their livess”
“To have this class of sporting event in St. George is incredible! I compare it to volunteering for the Olympics. You’re actually helping these athletes. Volunteers are critical to cheer them on at a point where they might give up.” Jan stated. “It makes me really happy we can be that involved with an athlete’s success. Come on, give it a try!”
You can get involved with packet stuffing, T2 Support or many other opportunities by visiting the volunteer sign-up page.