Race Volunteerism

Logo from the Team Ortho website

As a runner of almost two years now, I’ve always appreciated the people who spend their time volunteering to make it possible for me to run a race. Whether the volunteers were responsible for course safety, water stations or handing out finisher’s medals, I have always made sure to thank them because without them, many of the races I have participated in could not happen.

I have always been someone who loved volunteering, but had never done so with a race. It crossed it my mind numerous times, but the thought of getting up even earlier in the morning than absolutely necessary makes me cringe. When Team Ortho was seeking volunteers to help put food bags together for the Minneapolis Marathon and I didn’t have to get up with the sun, I jumped on the chance.

On June 2nd, I spent approximately four hours assembling food bags for race participants. The task was simple, requiring repetition but no thought. We simply placed four items in a small drawstring plastic bag. Sure, we had to move boxes of bananas, salted nut rolls, chips and popcorn around, but it was nice to have a task to do where I was on my feet and physically moving, considering I sit at a desk 40 hours a week for work. The rest of the volunteers were pleasant as we chatted about running (what else?!).

Team Ortho, the organization behind many popular events in the Twin Cities including Polar Dash, Get Lucky and Monster Dash, offers volunteers “bones” as an incentive. Bones are basically a point system that can be traded for future race entries and race gear. Since Team Ortho events offer some of the best race swag around, their Bones are a fantastic incentive to volunteer!

I’ve already registered for volunteer shifts to support both the Minneapolis Duathlon and Women Rock events. I’m looking forward to these shifts because I like supporting the running community and making it possible for others to participate in running events.

If you’re a runner and haven’t yet volunteered for an event, I highly recommend doing so. It’s a good feeling to support others and gives you a better appreciation for race volunteers when you’re out there running. Remember to thank the volunteers you see out on your race courses!

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