I had a blast working the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Marathon and 1/2 Marathon expo. It was great to bring a year’s worth of work together and meet so many people. Some of which I had been talking to through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And others it was the first time we had interacted.
During the RnR Raleigh expo, I worked in our big booth to assist runners in registering for RnR Raleigh 2015 as well as other races in the series and give them a promotional shirt for that event. There were many people that registered for RnR Raleigh 2015, but also Savannah, Vegas, San Diego, Chicago, and Virginia Beach later this year.
In addition to being an ambassador for the race, I agreed to work at the expo. After volunteering at the Run Hard Columbia Marathon last month, I knew it was necessary because I know the importance of volunteers. They are essential to the success of many races. Regardless if it’s a local 5K with small crowds or a destination race with thousands of runners, races need assistance.
Why should you volunteer?
1. To serve. Races of all sizes need help with registration, packet distribution, set up, clean up, parking organization and more. What’s great about that is anyone can volunteer for these positions. However, they also require professionals to provide medical support, emergency support, and photography.
2. For motivation. As a runner, you are immersed on your immediate surroundings and getting from the start to the finish. As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to cheer on participants, hand them that needed nutrition along the course or see other things that you would otherwise have missed.
3. To learn. Serving as a volunteer gives you a hands-on experience behind the scene of a race so you can gain tips that might help you in future. It’s one thing to come to a race as a participant. But it’s totally different when you volunteer or work on the operations side.
4. To network. It’s an opportunity to meet and see other runners as well as race officials. The running community is large and small at the same time. Depending on the type and location of the race, you are bound to meet and interact with the same people.
5. For freebies. Many races give their volunteer race team shirts, feed them and share other goodies.