Eight Reasons Course Volunteers Run this Race

I can’t count the number of times that I have said this but Course volunteers are the unsung heroes of race day. They don’t get to see the beginning or the end of the race, but the support that they give to participants along the way is totally invaluable. They keep participants on course, they keep them hydrated and motivated and in the rare emergency can be their link to safety. Here are the top eight reasons why we can’t show enough appreciation for the volunteers who run our race.

  1. They are our eyes and ears on the street. Working at ground level, watching all of the action is the best way for us to learn what works and what doesn’t. That feedback is essential to course operations.
  2. They power and motivate our runners. There are few things more inspirational when you are dragging yourself through the miles than a smile and an encouraging word. Course volunteers can make the difference between just finishing a race and finishing strong.
  3. They keep a tight rein on traffic. Let’s face it. We can put up road closure signs until we are blue in the face, but there will always be drivers who think that doesn’t apply to them. Our course marshals and hospitality station workers help us make sure that our participants don’t have to worry about it.
  4. Medical needs? We got you covered. Did you know that not only do we have roving medical bikes (Manitoba Ski Patrol volunteers), but our hospitality station leaders and course marshals work directly with Athletic Therapists, St Johns Ambulance and ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) to create a web of support for any runner in distress.
  5. They are the know-it-alls of the course. When participants or spectators have questions about…well, just about anything… knowing a course marshal is there to help is a huge relief.
  6. All of the emotions of race day without the running. Experience the push, the sheer effort of will, the happy moments, the hurt miles, every mile of it. All you have to do is watch the faces of the 10,000 participants on race day. It is truly inspiring.
  7. It’s an opportunity to dress up on the street outside of Halloween without any funny looks. We love it when our course volunteers dress up in crazy outfits, bring noise makers and yell like crazy people. It’s the stuff that runner’s dreams are made of.
  8. Believe it or not, they will remember you. I can still remember to this day a race I ran probably seven years ago. I was running the last mile and I was hurting hard. I was looking for a place on the sidelines in case I needed to eject my Gatorade. I looked up at a course marshal who locked eyes with me and said “You can do it, you are so close, hang in there”. I knew they were right. I straightened up, corrected my gait, took some deep breaths and pulled it out. They saved my race and I don’t even know their name. That is the power of course volunteers.

United Way Winnipeg