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 #!
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?