Let me tell you, I think race volunteering is the way to go!
You don’t have to pay. You don’t have to train. And you still get fun free stuff!
As I’ve mentioned, one of the reasons that I wanted to volunteer at the Hartford Marathon in particular was because I used to work in Hartford for the building where the race expo is held and had worked on developing the relationship between the Hartford Marathon Foundation and the XL Center.
I had registered to volunteer 2 days – the first day at the XL Center at the expo and the 2nd day down at Bushnell Park for the race itself.
I arrived on Friday morning around 9:45am for my 10am scheduled shift at registration. We got a quick tour (which I didn’t exactly need having worked there…) and then went over everything we needed to know about working registration.
The Hartford Marathon was using a “dynamic registration” vs. having pre-assigned bib #’s, so basically I had a computer, someone would walk up, give me their ID and I’d pull up all their info. After confirming which race they were participating in (5k, half or full marathon) I’d grab the appropriate colored bib from my pile and enter the bib # into their profile page, click “assign” and voila! I just assigned them their bib #!
I know that doesn’t sounds like a ton of fun, but let me tell you I had a blast!
Basically here’s what I heard during the orientation, “here’s a free t-shirt, now stand here and talk to people about running for the next 5 hours.”
It got busy at times and we had to keep people moving as quickly as possible, but during slower times I asked people how their training went or if someone walked up with a shirt from a different race on I asked about that race and I even got to play sports psychologist a bit when first time racers mentioned how nervous they were!
I even ran into a bunch of people I knew from when I used to work up there, so it was fun catching up and talking running with them for a bit!
Oh, and I mentioned we got a free shirt, but honestly it’s one of the best race shirts I’ve gotten! First of all, they had men’s & women’s sizes, it was a tech shirt (a good material one, not 50% recycled cardboard and 50% Brillo pad) and the design wasn’t horrendous – definitely one I’ll wear when I’m running!
I was supposed to work 10am-3pm, but I was having so much fun that when they mentioned they could use some more help that afternoon I volunteered to stay and ended up working until about 6:30pm!
I loved helping out at the expo and it was great to talk to all the runners coming through, definitely something I’d do again!
Stop back tomorrow to read about my race day volunteer experience –
I got to work as an elite athlete assistant!
Have you ever volunteered at a race? What “job” did you help out with?
Hi, It’s people like you that make these races possible.If they had to pay everyone we’d be paying $200 for every race, not just Boston.
As last year’s Boston Marathon Expo I wasn’t a volunteer. I wasn’t running but went to the Expo to meet friends. About 20 of them ran. I stood at the top of the escalator waiting for them. I had my 2012 Marathon jacket on and people must have thought I was an official.
The lady from the Hynes Convention center stood next to me in her blue blazer and credentials around her neck. I got more questions than she did! I’ve been there many tmes so I was able to answer most questions, and yes I had a ball! I had lost of laughs with the lady who actually worked there. She kept telling me I was doing a good job!
Awesome that you helped out without even actually being a volunteer! At registration you could definitely tell the volunteers who were runners and had been through this themselves and those that weren’t – the runners were much more chatty and concerned with getting people accurate information whereas the non-runners would be like, “I don’t know, just go to the information booth over there.” Always helpful to have people with experience helping out!
I had a great time though and am looking forward to doing it again!
I’m envious of your shirt… I ran in my wine and dine shirt the other day and if I were Champion I would be mortified to put my logo on that crap. And bib pick up is the best.
Tell me about it! I’ve never actually worn ANY of my runDisney shirts, the material and fit is TERRIBLE – they’re all being saved to make a blanket out of one day.
I am so jealous of this! (Is that weird?) It sounds great! I’ve been thinking of volunteering for a race for a while, I just have to figure out which one!
Let’s try to find one to volunteer at near us! I was going to volunteer for NYCM, but I decided I’d rather just go and watch this year since I’ve never been. Plus, with MCM the weekend before and W&D the weekend after I did’t necessarily want to be committed to another “running” weekend.
Isn’t volunteering the best? Clearly, as runners, we’d do anything for a “free” tshirt- even better when it’s tech! Love that design!
Yeah, they did a good job with the shirts – these weren’t actually the race shirts, these were one of their merchandise shirts for sale, but I saw the race shirts and they were nice too!
I really like the shirt design, and so happy you can use it outside of the race.
Nice to have a running / race shirt (even though I didn’t run, only volunteered!) that I’ll actually wear!
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Sounds like fun! I’ve volunteered at a few races as a course marshal and at water stations in the past. It’s been a while though. I’ve been so busy this last year working at races and running races! But I want to volunteer at something big, like an Ironman, next year.
Oh, I bet a big event like that would be fun to volunteer at! Let me know if you decide to do that!
SO sorry I missed you this weekend! We ended up getting to the expo a little later than planned and didn’t have a whole lot of time to hang around. I think I saw you on the way out, but there were still so many people coming in/waiting in line and I felt so bad about bothering you while you were working — didn’t look like you had a moment’s rest! I was looking around at the finish line, too, but of course that was madness. (Good madness, though — definitely a lot of fun!) I’m glad you had a great time, though, and hope to see you at a race soon! This really makes me want to volunteer at a race sometime soon! Also, I really liked the shirt, too…I ran the half wearing it. 😀
Oh, I’m sorry we missed each other! We’ll definitely have to make it a point to meet up at a race soon!
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