Volunteering – Is It For You?
Is volunteering for you? Personally, I think volunteering can be for everyone!
Having worked behind the scenes at a number of different events in our city, I know the work involved in making an event successful. For months and months, sometimes close to a year, there are people working to make the event a success for everyone involved.
Races are no different. Whether it is a smaller local race or the city’s main race of the year, there is much work to do. As a runner, I so appreciate the races available to me in my city. As a way to give back I try to volunteer for a number of them. My kids have even come out to help when they can. Races depend on their volunteers to help in a variety of roles, from race kit pick ups, water stations, safety/first-aid, bag check, the list goes on.
I’ve met some really special people while volunteering at races. Some are former runners, who no longer run but love the running community and it’s their way of continuing to be involved. Some volunteers do so as a way to meet new people. Some family members get involved as a way to support their spouses or kids who are racing at the event. Volunteering at a race is a great way for students to get their volunteer hours. Whatever your reasons, race directors recognize the efforts and value brought to the race through the volunteers.
What Can I Do?
There is a place for everyone! If you are quiet and like to work behind the scenes, you can organize the shirts, bibs and medals ahead of time. If you like connecting with people then maybe race kit pick up or the water station is a place for you. Do you like cheering for people? Maybe your team or business would like to host a water station? Be creative and check with your local event to see how you can be used.
During the race you have runners running their very “first” race distance, maybe it’s a 5K, 10K or full marathon. You also have runners going for a personal best or trying to qualify for a goal race. During the race we are accomplishing different goals, we are giving it our best.
How About Those Spectators?
Do not underestimate the role you can have as a spectator. You might be cheering on your loved ones, but I’ve been a witness to a husband that went ahead of his wife on the entire race course meeting her every 3-5Km to cheer for her….I happened to be just ahead of her and he innvertantly cheered for me along the entire course as well. At some point I stopped and thanked him for his consistent presence on the course, that we ALL appreciated his love and support for his wife. He was an encouragement to many that day!
So if you are a regular volunteer with your local races can I just say THANK YOU! I appreciate you so very much! If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like or if you should get involved in a race, can I encourage you to stop thinking about it and go ahead and sign up to volunteer. These are the moments in life that you can be rewarded so much more by giving , you will feel empowered and encouraged and yet by your giving you are empowering and encouraging the people you are supporting. Guaranteed it’s a WIN-WIN for everyone!
Do you have a special memory of someone who volunteered at a race?