At 6 a.m. Saturday, a team of 70 Savannah State University volunteers prepared for an onslaught of runners on campus for the annual Rock 'n' Roll Savannah Marathon and Half-Marathon took place.
The International Students Association was part of the group representing the school.
“As an international student, it’s one way to say 'thank you' to the city, the school and the people for having us here. I love volunteering almost every year and I enjoy the fanfare that goes with giving bottle of water to the runners,” Beverly Asemota, a senior political science major from Nigeria, said.
The marathon started at the intersection of Bay and Bull streets and ended at Drayton Street and Park Avenue. Part of the marathon goes through Savannah State's campus near Camilla Hall, where the ISA helped with water station 12.
Members of the ISA said the event means more to them because people from all over the world participate in the race.
M.D. Simon, a computer science major from Bangladesh, has volunteered twice before this year's race.
"I love the experience! It is so fun to volunteer in the event," he said. "The environment is very energetic which I loved the most about it. Going to campus early morning and getting together with other volunteers to set up water station for the runner is exciting to me! It’s also fun to cheer for the runners.”
The association showed that SSU understands the international piece of the race. Students help motivate the international participants.
“We get a list of the countries that are representing before the run, so we make signs," ISA co-adviser Melanie Smith said. "We have students from all around the world so we don’t depend on the Google translator. We have natives to do it. The runners freak out when they see their flags and signs in their languages, this helps motivate them to continue."
The organizers of the marathon in Savannah donated a dozen flags to the International Students Association to put up with the signs. The flags are now on display outside Gardner Hall.
According to Smith, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon can actually be use as an Olympic time trial “ If someone is trying to qualify for the Olympics, if there is someone just working at their own time, it is a national recognize race, it’s big.”
Being part of something national is a good experience for the students. “I have being volunteer since 2015. The experience has been awesome, because it gives one a sense of fulfillment, knowing that you have participated in something worthwhile” told Asemota.