Obsess over safety (and don’t take any lip)
Above all else, we want runners to be and feel safe. While runners know their health and well-being best, volunteers have the “final word” – for example, preventing runners from leaving an aid station if there’s lightning. If a runner needs medical attention, they should become your sole focus.
Push runners to the finish (even if it’s not pretty)
We want everyone who starts the race, to finish the race, even if they’ll barely beat the cutoff. As a volunteer, you play a huge part in this by fueling, caring for and encouraging our runners. A joke and a smile go a very long way, especially for someone who’s having a bad day on the course.
Be happy (and prepare for grumpy)
Happiness is contagious. If our volunteers are happy, our runners are far less likely to succumb to the sense of unhappiness that can emerge after 3+ hours of running. With that said, recognize running for 3+ hours can make someone not themselves, so give grumpy runners some leeway. Some may snap, but please don’t snap back.
Focus on the runner (but not for too long)
When a runner comes into an aid station, they should have a volunteer’s undivided attention. Meet their needs quickly and effectively, so they can get back to running and you can help the next runner into the aid station. Similarly, don’t let a runner spend too much time in an aid station – get them moving again!
How to setup an aid station.
How to operate an aid station.
How to breakdown an aid station.