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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Can't Run? Volunteer!!

I do love to run. I love the race atmosphere. But sometimes, you just cannot do#alltheraces due to not having #allthemoney. So one of the things I love to do is VOLUNTEER! 
Pom Poms & Cowbell are NECESSARY for #alltheFAB 
Volunteering means giving all the encouragement to runners!! woohoo!! We runners love and need that race day encouragement! It really can make a race.It most certainly has for me. 
I mean ... how can you not smile when you see friends at an aid station. 
Or when you run into a banana and superman on the home stretch of a long hot race? 
Wanna volunteer but not sure what to do?

1. If you are working as a course marshal, you need to have fun. GET your cheer on and do not stand there like a lump. When you see a runner cheer, clap and ENCOURAGE! You are there to give support and direction.  If you are not the sort who likes to cheer, be loud and get your cowbell on...then chose another job! You also need to give directions, so know WHERE runners are supposed to be and let them know Point, gesture, yell! Bring cowbell, signs and pompoms with you!! 
2. If you are not cowbell crazy, waterstations are also an awesome gig. You are there to hand water to a runner. Tips for success (as in having everything ready before runners descend upon you include) setting up the table, preparing and filling the water/nutrition coolers, filling hundreds of cups, organizing the stuff on the table, and setting up garbage cans. Set up those garbage cans  even a ways away from the table. If everything is set up beforehand you won't run out of water, and you can cheer too! And everyone has a job. At races with hundreds (or thousands) of runners, you need to be ready for the waves of runners. This is a fun job but one of the most important EVER! We runners need water. And, are ever grateful for it!
3. If you are more behind the scenes kind of person, Package Stuffing can be fun. Assembly lines work well in my experience to fill up the runner goodie bags. You might be behind the scenes on this, but I love the social aspect of this too. It is a smaller setting and you are not dealing with runners on course. I often do this job and then can run on race day!
4. If not package stuffing, then Package Pickup or Race Registration! You get to chat with folks, hand out bibs or race packets and, in general, have fun in a more laid back way. It is not quite as hectic as race day. If you have done this before know that at times there will be lines for the bibs. And, so folks are a little type A and get impatient with standing in lines. Smile,  thank people for coming, wish them luck on race day and everything will run a whole lot smoother.

4. If you like feeling busy and do not need to chat too much on your volunteer gig...try out Race Set Up or Tear Down. This isn't all heavy lifting, but it can be. Usually its about getting it done quickly and unloading or loading equipment. This is not usually something to do with kids. Races need help here - and you get a heck of a physical workout! Behind the scenes is very important and really is appreciated! 

5. If you want to run, you could be a PACER or Pace Bunny. This is a REALLY important job. this is not an "Oh goodie I am gonna run this race for free"....This is all about leading other runners and help them keep a certain pace. Check your ego. You are here to help runners achieve a goal time. You need to be confident about running a specific time with consistent splits. A good pacer should lead a group at least 45 minutes slower than their Personal Best and you should  practice running at that pace several times before the race.
Any Race. Any Time. Big or Small Needs Volunteers. Consider giving back a little. 
You will have SO MUCH FUN! 
It is awesome and inspiring all rolled into one! 
Volunteers are the heart of every single running event! Over 1,500 volunteers are needed for the 52th Scotiabank Calgary Marathon Race Weekend. Volunteering for the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon is a great way to give back to the community, support healthy lifestyles and active living and be part of Canada's longest running marathon. We HEART Volunteers. 

I have had heaps of fun volunteering for Calgary Marathon...there are a TON of opportunities. I run the race, but I stuff packages or help with package pickup. It is fun and a great way to meet other peeps (or see runners you know). 

Check out Calgary Marathons volunteer opportunities HERE and sign up! 
This runner thanks you!!

*As a ForeRunner I was given a race entry for 2016, however all opinions, thoughts and feelings are entirely my own.

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