Volunteers at the heart of U.S. Bank PPP

600 will come out on race day to help out

The magic behind the PPP

BEND, Ore. - From the mountaintop overlooking Bend, to the water running through it --there's more than 30 miles of course -- thousands of athletes, and Bend's favorite race: the U.S. Bank Pole Pedal Paddle.

Athletes have their tools to prepare.

And so do volunteers.

"Notes, and maps and spreadsheets, oh yes oh yes," said volunteer PPP run captain Nick Campbell.

It's the magic making mayhem manageable.

"It's amazing how organized it is. What really makes this race work is are the people behind the race," volunteer coordinator Suzanne Lafky said.

And while you're home fueling up for go time before the race, they're already bringing their A-game. 

"Last year I started at 5:30 (a.m.) or so -- dark and cold," Campbell said.

And come PPP day, roughly 600 volunteers will come out to make the race happen.

"Each area that you can think of has what we refer to as a team captain, so they're responsible for everything at that location," Lafky said.

Thirty team captains staff each leg of the course and all transition points.

"I assemble volunteers for the run course, I make sure they're in their appropriate location, I make sure the aid stations on the course are stocked and ready to go," Campbell said. "And we support the runners as they come through."

Three days before the race, Campbell is already feeling out the trail -- ready for game day after spending months planning. 

"If I do my job right, the race is almost a non-issue," Campbell said.  "It's all the prep, all the setup."

The job: Making your race work, brought home by the people working to watch you succeed.

"It's just a lot of fun -- you see a lot of smiles out there," he said.

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