5 Reasons You Should Volunteer at the Philadelphia Marathon This Year



The Philadelphia Marathon is looking for volunteers who are willing to pitch in on race weekend, November 21st through 23rd. There are all kinds of opportunities available, from registration and t-shirt pick-up at the Expo to food distribution at the Rothman 8K to water hander-outer (that’s what they should be called, anyway) at the marathon.

Volunteers will get free race swag for their efforts, of course, and the satisfaction that comes with pitching in. But if that’s not enough incentive, I asked a few runner friends why volunteers are so important at races and how they contribute to the magic of the event. (If you’re rolling your eyes at the word “magic,” I will assume you’ve never run a race before. Because the energy of race day—from the spectators, volunteers, race organizers and runners—is nothing short of magical.)

Here, five reasons you should sign up to volunteer.

1. You are a big stress-reliever. 

“Volunteers reduce your stress for runners by making it possible to focus solely on executing their race,” says Best of Philly running coach John Goldthorp. “You don’t have to carry water, wonder where to go, or worry what will happen if you get hurt.”

2. Your high-five does more than you think. 

“I’ve never gotten a high five I didn’t love,” says Lululemon run club leader Heather Falck. “They make me smile and prove the muscles in my face don’t hurt.” Every runner knows this is true.

3. There is an art to your job.

You might think that handing out water to a fast-moving runner is something you could do in your sleep—but you’d be wrong. Knowing exactly how to absorb the runner’s speed with your wrist, release at the precise moment so he doesn’t spill water all down the front of him, and replenishing your stock so the next runner has something to grab is no easy thing. Runners know this, and deeply appreciate it. “A volunteer skilled in handing off a cup of water makes a big difference,” says triathlon, running and swimming coach Marcy Gialdo.

4. You help countless people achieve goals they never dreamed possible. 

Think about it: Most people who run a marathon are not doing so in hopes of winning prize money. For everyone except the first 50 in the pack, crossing the finish line is a goal—a hard-earned goal for which they’ve been training for months, maybe even years. You’re willingness to give of your time to help them achieve that goal is not something runners take lightly. Even if they are too out of breath to thank you for it, know that your efforts are making lots of people’s dreams come true.

5. If you’re a runner, you can pay it forward.

Runners who are not participating in this year’s marathon should, more than anyone, jump at the opportunity to volunteer their time. After all, you’ve been the recipient of volunteer kindness in the past, so what better time than the present to give some of your own? “Most of us have run a race at some point, and the work volunteers put into the race helps make it a more enjoyable experience,” says Philadelphia Runner’s Ryan Callahan. “So if you’re sitting this one out, consider paying it forward in honor of everyone who has volunteered when you needed them.”

Convinced? Thought so. Get your volunteering on here.

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