I've done the Martian marathon for the last five years, the full twice and the half three times. It's a given in my world. Last month I volunteered a RunningFit race specifically for the $30 voucher to be used at the Martian. It's good for any event they sponsor, but why would I do anything else...?
Then I started thinking...idk...I've done it 5 times...the medal is nice, but I already have a rack of them...the shirt is nice, but I have a drawer full of race shirts and plenty more in the basement that I never wear. Besides, even with the voucher, the Milky Way 26k (5k and half) would be $50 out of my pocket and I spent most of my Christmas money on a race in Tennessee. Maybe...I skip it this year? I do the Pig for the bling and to keep my streak alive, I do Chicago for the experience of running with 40,000 people amid 1.7 million spectators. The Martian is a good training run, but I'm not feeling compelled this year. I'm not in shape to set a new PR and while its close and convenient, I can log my miles elsewhere for free. Besides, if I skip the Martian, then I skip Heroes on Hines half - which I would only do for the Hines double bonus medal - and I've just saved over $100.
Then they posted on Facebook, looking for sweepers. They need 4 people to walk the full behind the last finisher, at a 15:00 pace, encouraging the finishers, collecting errant Gu wrappers along the way. In exchange, the race is free, and includes a race shirt, volunteer shirt and the medal. I'm going to apply. They prefer a ready made team of 4, but I'm still going to apply. If they pick me, I'll walk the full, and if not, let it go. I either get a free marathon entry, or I sleep in late and save my legs. Win-win :)