Maybe you have an injury that has you out of competition for a while. Maybe you are thinking about doing your first 5K, sprint triathlon, obstacle race or cycling tour event, but still have not had the courage to sign up for one just yet. Or maybe you are just in a training rut and not sure what should be your next goal, your next endurance race.Well if any of these situations is resonating with you right now, then I have a simple answer for you: Race Volunteering.
With races nearly every weekend, race directors are usually in dire need of volunteers for their events in a number of different areas. This is a good way to give back to the endurance community when racing, for whatever reason, isn’t in the cards for you right now.
If you’re used to getting up at the crack of dawn daily, then why not take that vitality to a local endurance event in your area and help with race day set up or race day registration. If it’s a large race there may even be an area for bag check, which you could volunteer to help out with.
More and more, races of all types and distances have packet pick up the week or so leading up to the race event. Many times they have these packet pickups at local shoe stores, event expos, etc. Also, there are times race directors need people to put together swag bags, which the athletes will receive when the pick up their bib number.
You Want Some Action?
Even though you’re not competing, you want to be right in the thick of things come race day. If that is the case, then maybe volunteering at one of the water or aid stations (if you have medical training) along the course is a good fit for you. Also, being at the finish line at any race is great because it allows you to see a wide range of emotions from people who have just gone through a personal journey, which they have now completed. Have you ever been at an Ironman at 11:59 p.m. and the entire crowd is cheering their heads off for the athletes coming down the final stretch, so they can hear those wonderful four words they’ve dreamed about hearing this night, “…You are an Ironman!” – simply chills.
Music has become a part of the atmosphere of many endurance races these days, and maybe you or your band wish to give back to the community and share some of your sweet licks with thousands of people passing by. It may not be a swanky smoked filled club, but you’ll be surprised how many people you will motivate and touch by you being there with your music.
Moving But Not Racing
Marathon and half marathon race directors are many times looking for pacers for different pace groups. It’s quite rewarding helping people reach their time goals. When you do it right, people are quite appreciative. In a similar vein, if you’re more of a cyclist, then you can be a lead vehicle for a number of different race distances. Just make sure you know where you’re going on the course.
If you are an endurance athlete and volunteer for an event, you’ll observe and experience things that you may have taken for granted:
- The amount of work which goes into putting on an endurance event.
- The gratitude one receives from cheering on other athletes.
- The joy and sorrow athletes go throughout the race.
- The drive of the human spirit.
While it’s fun and exciting to race, there is definitely something to be said about helping out at an endurance event – an energy that is almost palpable.