Very Important Volunteers
By Nicki Conroy 2016 Asheville Marathon Ambassador
If you think you or your group can handle a little more excitement than just cheering – VOLUNTEER! It takes hundreds of volunteers to make the Asheville Marathon & Half run smoothly. We call our Volunteers: VIVs! Very Important Volunteers! There are a variety of ways to help as a volunteer – and runner’s couldn’t be more thankful for the support on race day, even if just to stand and cheer! Family and friends are encouraged to volunteer at the event to see your family member up-close and personal during the event! Each race takes volunteers to help the experience for runners be fantastic.
Nicki, one of our Ambassadors, volunteers frequently at her local races when she is not running the race. Here is what Nicki says about volunteering at an event, “I volunteer at a lot of 5Ks as I dislike running that distance. I’ve done everything from race day registration to packet pick-up to road marshal to finish line. I’ve set up and manned water stations. Almost all these people you see in these positions are volunteers.
I think every runner should tell a volunteer thank you during a race, particularly those in the later miles of a race. I ran a 15K that had 13,000 runners. As I was on the bus back to where the car was parked, a volunteer on the bus said she couldn’t believe no one had thanked her. 13,000 runners and not one thank you! Usually, runners are much more appreciative of those giving of their time to make races great.
Every race needs volunteers. Most race organizations are small. In some cases, it is the race director and that is it. In other cases, it may be one or two people but not enough to make a whole race enjoyable.
If you are not a runner, you may enjoy volunteering at a race for many reasons. You are going to meet amazing people because I think that runners are all amazing people. Giving back makes you feel good. This fact has been written about in many journals. The act of volunteering and giving of yourself helps you like yourself more and improves your outlook. You may think you are only giving to those running the race but you are actually giving back to your entire community. Races have huge economic impacts on communities. By helping a race, you help everyone.”