Our friends at Join In UK have put together the A-Z of running volunteering to show several ways of taking part in your local community without dusting off the trainers…
A is for Announcer
The booming voice of confidence that tells the crowd and runners when the race is about to begin, keeps you up to date with who’s crossing the finishing line and that your blue Fiat is about to get towed.
B for Bags
How do they get from the start line to the finish? Volunteers, of course.
C for Coaching
From the enthusiastic friend who took you for your first run, to the coach at the local athletics club, these people are a key part of your running journey.
D for Details
The choice of refreshments in your goodie bag. The turns of phrase on your flyers. The positioning of the water stations. Chances are there will have been creative brains behind the scenes making sure everything is just right.
E for Event organiser
Without them the starting gun wouldn’t fire; there’d be no route or timekeeping. This person is the coordination king.
F for Fundraisers
Friendly faces with big buckets, or excellent wordsmiths applying for grants – both of whom raise vital funds for community clubs and charities.
G for Guide runner
These incredible athletes train with blind runners and help guide them around the route.
H for High-fives (and hugs)
Probably the only time you ever embrace a total stranger, but mid-run these unexpected displays of affection are vital. You thrive off them and it helps pick up your pace.
I for Information point(ers)
They know the loos from the drinks stations and maybe even have a giant foam finger. The bunch with all event details learnt off by heart.
J for Join In, of course
Join In puts more volunteers into community sport by matching volunteers with local clubs and events. Find local events that need your help on our site.
K for Kit
The team who post your race day vest, the stranger who frantically irons on your name, and the kind relative who helps pack your kit – these people are all helping out to make sure you’re race ready.
L for Last mile
Notoriously known to be the hardest part, but packed with the loudest, most enthusiastic volunteers to drive you across the finishing line.
M for Marketing
How did you find out about the run? A flyer, tweet or email? Someone has to get the word out there!
N for Nutrition
Whether you’re a pro who spends months sticking to an eating plan or an amateur desperate for an energy boost, we all need fuel to get us through the race. The nutritionists lending their advice and the spectators sharing their jelly babies can help lift you for that extra mile.
O for Ouch!
No one likes to think about it, but blisters and other injuries are an unfortunate part of running events. Hopefully, you’ll never need their help, but it is nice to know the medics are at hand. These professionals perform an important role en route.
P for Pacesetters
You don’t have to sacrifice your own run to help out. There’s a team of volunteers at events that helps keep runners on track for their target times.
Q for Queues
From the starting line to the massage table, there’s a team of helpers that manages these lines and gets everyone through quickly.
R for Rewards
The guys that give out the race medals and goody bags are volunteers too.
S for Stewards
How do you keep the way clear of cars? Where’s the next water station? The stewards are there to make sure the day runs smoothly.
T for Thank you
Volunteers like to be appreciated. A simple way to play a part is to make sure you say thanks on your way round (if you’re not too out of breath).
U for Updates
From updating info on your website to sending out tweets live on the day, this team works behind the scenes to keep you up to date.
V for Volunteer coordinator
This guy is running the show, making sure all the volunteers are trained, happy and raring to go.
W for Water stations
These helpers make sure these oases are visible and water is handed out quickly and safely.
X for Xtra loud cheerers
Underestimated friends, family and strangers dedicate their weekends to shouting on the sidelines and boosting you to the finish line.
Y for Yellow jackets
You can’t miss the high-vis jackets on the way around; they’re there to help.
Z for zzzzzzz…
After the event, it’s time for some R&R. Often that post-run sports massage comes courtesy of a volunteer.
To find a local running club or event that needs help visit joininuk.org