5 reasons to volunteer at the NYC Marathon

Come late summer and early fall, marathon fever will hit New York City. But by then, it will be too late. If you’re not running this year, I have a marvelous suggestion on how you can be get in on the action: volunteer.

There are still a handful of volunteer spots left at the 2019 NYC Marathon. Volunteer opportunities fill up very quickly so I am sure these spaces won’t be available for long.

Finish, NYC Marathon
Finish, NYC Marathon

I volunteered in 2018. I registered the day after I crossed the 2017 marathon finish line. I’ve always loved the NYC marathon and I knew I wouldn’t be running it two years in a row. So the day after I crossed the finish line, I signed up to hand out water at Mile 25. Then I waited 364 days for my big chance. Marathon Day brings out the best in NYC. Plus there are too many street closings to do much else but enjoy the marathon, so you might as well get in on it.

Volunteer opportunities are diverse: you can hand out water or gatorade, you can put medals on the finishers, if you have a medical license you can provide real-time support on the course, you can hand out bibs at the expo or you can help with logistics for tens of thousands of runners at the start.

Need a little more convincing?

Here are 5 reasons to volunteer at the NYC Marathon:

1. You get the best seats in the house. When you’re an official volunteer you stand on the course. You’re close to the runners without being in their way.

pro runners up close


Pro Shalane Flanagan at the NYC Marathon
Pro Shalane Flanagan at the NYC Marathon

I (wo)manned a water station near Mile 25. This meant I stood at the perimeter of the race course and offered water and gatorade to runners as they zoomed toward the finish. Including the professionals. It was incredible to be SO close to greatness. This is also a great option if you have a loved one running and want to be sure you see them!

2. The swag. I got a spirited hat, scarf and rain poncho as you can see here, all marking the occasion. The gear keeps you warm and tags you as an official part of the race. It’s yours to keep.

3. The vibes. Capture the spirit of the event without training. You are part of the marathon. Part of the excitement and part of New York’s special day. The energy is so high you’ll get a workout just from cheering.

4. Meet great people. I didn’t sign up with a friend, but I made some! People volunteer for a ton of different reasons and you’ll meet a diverse crowd. For me, this is a huge pro. I spent much of my volunteer time chatting with a woman who had a son running the race and a young woman who had just caught running fever and was thrilled to be close to the action.

volunteer NYC Marathon

5. Give back. Volunteering is good karma. It takes a lot of work to put on a race of this size and caliber. As runner, I wanted to give back. You’re helping maximize someone else’s race experience. That’s a good thing.

Want to learn more about volunteering at the NYC marathon? All you need to know is right here.


  1. June 3, 2019 / 9:45 am

    Interesting — I remember seeing slots until the end of October last year. I guess it goes in waves. But I agree, you see some of the best things. I did the NYC Half shirt volunteer station this year and medal engraving last year. Always magical

    • Nicole
      June 3, 2019 / 9:53 am

      so magical! have you ever volunteered at the NYCM?

      • June 3, 2019 / 12:00 pm

        I haven’t, but contemplating it. I’m not reliably in the city that weekend

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