How many races have you participated in this year? Lots? How many times have you thanked the volunteers at those races? Hopefully every time you see one! Volunteers are an integral part of making races a pleasant experience for participants.
Here are several reasons to donate some of your time to volunteering:
You stay connected to running.
Recovering from an injury or a previous race? Volunteering at a race keeps you connected to the sport you love without having to run. Races are always bursting with energy and excitement from the runners, which will easily carry over to you, keeping you motivated for your next big day.
You meet other runners in your area.
Trying to make new running friends? Always, right? Volunteering at a race gives you a bit more freedom to meet new runners from your area without having to worry about pre-race jitters. Most likely, some of those volunteers also belong to a running group, so it’s a nice “in” if you’ve been wanting to join one. If you already belong to one, it’s a great way to invite new members into the fold.
Not that this should be your main motivator, but lots of races give out free shirts, medals, and other swag to their volunteers because they know what an integral part of the race day experience they are. Sometimes races even offer discounted or free entry to their event the following year!
You’re doing good for the running community.
Perhaps one of the most beneficial reasons to volunteer at a race is the good you’re doing for the running community. Not only that, but you should feel pretty darn pleased with yourself after accepting the numerous thank-you’s you’re bound to receive.