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.
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:
Matt and I went to Norway and Sweden for 10 days of hiking and exploring. Our AirBnB in Bergen, Norway was around the corner from Barry’s Bootcamp. It’s just called “Barry’s” in Norway. I wonder if the word “bootcamp” doesn’t translate.
After a week of challenging hikes, Barry’s wasn’t exactly what we needed, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to take a New York favorite while abroad. Also, fun fact: Despite the fact that EVERYTHING is more expensive in Norway (compared to the US), Barry’s is cheaper!
We visited on a weekend, and Barry’s in Norway follows the same calendar as in the US, so it was a Full Body workout (the schedule varies by day of the week). My short vacation in Norway doesn’t make me an expert on it’s culture, but it’s hard to escape the view that Norwegians are fit. Here read this study about the culture of fitness in Scandinavia. Even in the US the Barry’s regular is a self-selecting crowd and the average participant is in pretty solid shape. I steeled myself for a tough workout and that’s what we got.
On a Saturday afternoon in mid-March, I finished a terrible 3-mile run. It was one of many terrible recent runs.
I don’t have a sports agent. Speaking frankly, only one person would care if I quit running. I am married to him. So I called him. He answered from a chair lift in Beaver Creek. I got right to the point.
Me: Matt, I want you to be the first to know. I’m taking a break from running.
Matt: Does this mean you’re not running the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler?
Me: Exactly right. This interview is over. It’s my turn to order at Muffins Cafe. Love you.
I hung up the phone and I didn’t run for a month. I still found myself in DC the weekend of the Cherry Blossom race since Matt was running and I love our yearly trip. I used to live in DC and coming back for a weekend is always a delight.
One of my closest friends, Tricia, lives in DC and is the chief of staff in a congressional office. Tricia had convinced her entire team to sign up for the race with her. Then she didn’t train for it. A natural born leader, she planned to run the race anyway. The day before the race, we had the following exchange:
Unlike everyone else, I have not started out the new year with a fitness frenzy. I have run a grand total of ZERO miles in 2018. In fact, my last Strava entry is from Christmas Day; I did a 3-mile jaunt in Kyoto and haven’t hit the pavement since. But sinful as it may be to say: I love running. (Which means sometimes I hate running and that’s normal.) So I’ve signed up for a few races to make sure I get back on track.
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Here’s what I have signed up for so far. Are you registered for any of these? Any must-race events I should get on my calendar?