Volunteers are a huge part of the friendly, open and incredibly supportive running community. Runners giving back is what keeps the community ticking, events from being cancelled and friendships growing. Without the generosity of volunteers, Race Day would look completely different, trails would be littered with trash and there would be a whole lot less smiling. With Fall race season in full swing, look at your schedule and find a time to give back in one of these five ways.
One of the easiest ways to give back is to volunteer at a race. Without Race Day volunteers, water stops would be unmanned, packet pick-ups would be mayhem and race day registration would be a thing of the past. Think about your last race and count the number of times one of the volunteers was a part of your day. The best part of pitching in for a race is that there are lots of jobs available for anyone who wants to lend a hand (you can even be a pacer). From packet pick-up days before the event to post race water stop clean up, there’s sure to be something that fits your preference and schedule.
Traveling for a race but still want to help out? Consider running for charity. Many races partner with charities who are happy to provide race entries for those who meet specific fundraising goals and deadlines. This option is especially useful for those who are trying to earn entry into a sold out race or participate with a team of fellow charitable runners.
Just say ‘thank you’. Something so simple can put a smile on any face, especially when it’s unexpected. Most Race Day volunteers have been awake for hours by the time you see them and are looking for a nap, not kind words. Saying ‘thank you’ at each water stop, whether you grab a few ounces of fluids or not, when you receive your medal and pick up your gear is sure to brighten a tired volunteer’s day.
Runners are shoe hoarders. With a few pairs in the regular rotation, some older ones in the garage, a beach pair, a trail pair and those cruddy old ones for yard work, there can be upwards of ten pairs in any home. Donating old shoes that aren’t too beaten up means they can be given to those in need while pairs that are all but worn through can be recycled into sports surfaces.
Clean your favorite trail, road or path. Keeping the running landscape clean helps ensure safety and keeps the environment everyone enjoys from decaying. Local running groups typically have one or two meet-ups each month when members will get together and tidy a few miles of roadside or trail.
Volunteers are an indispensable part of the running community. Give a little bit of your time, fundraising skills or old shoes today and become an invaluable part of it.
Want to volunteer? Cont