Chapter Fifteen
VOLUNTEER DIVISIONS

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There may be a requirement for some or all of the following (depending on the race):

Split-timers . Could be one for Mile 1 and 2 of a 5K or miles 1 through 5 of a 10K, or have clocks stationed at the mile markers.

Security/crowd control. Two or more persons, usually at the back of the chutes. For major races it also helps to have two to six persons out front to keep the spectators off the course.

Lead bicycle. Rarely used anymore except for major races. If interested persons can be found, however, it would be a good idea to have one or two at the front and one following the last runner (if no other sag wagon is available).

Course marshals. Requirement depends on the course and the availability of additional volunteers. For some races a few marshals are vital.

Start. For races with start lines a long distance from the finish line it may be necessary to have a crew responsible for coordinating activities at the start and getting the race launched.

Aid stations. As large-race fields have attracted more "recreational" runners, aid stations at the start, on the course and at the finish have become more critical. For major events it may be necessary to solicit "outside groups" to handle the aid stations, but supervisors from the race management organization may be assigned to each station.

Registration. For smaller races some volunteers can be assigned to registration and given a second job once the race has started. For major events outside help for registration may be available, e.g. from a sponsor. If the race is computerized and race-day registration is allowed, teams should be assigned to do the data input, which must be completed before the scoring process can begin.

Volunteer coordinator. This job has become vital and has proven to be a tremendous aid to the race director. The coordinator must be able to do more than just write down check-in/check-out times and tell volunteers what jobs they have. He or she must be able to adjust the assignments to cover no-shows and to generally organize the volunteer check-in procedure, including providing information about the race, handing out T-shirts and equipment, and making sure all volunteers know about refreshments, post-race parties, etc.

For major races an assistant volunteer coordinator should be provided to handle the distribution of shirts, volunteer identification (name tags, passes) and equipment (Chronomixes, stopwatches, bullhorns, etc.).

The volunteer coordinator (and assistant ) may be able to assume additional responsibilities during the race, but they should not be placed in scoring or other jobs that would make the check-out process difficult.

Setup Crew. Having a small group assigned to arrive half an hour earlier than the other volunteers in order to set up most of the course, start, finish and scoring area seems to work well. These volunteers can all be given other assignments once the setup is completed.

Ideally there would be a "take-down/clean-up" crew for dealing with the post-race work, but almost always those who are willing to stay turn out to be the same dedicated volunteers who were also willing to show up early.

Course director. Experience has shown that it is difficult for one person to direct the race itself (registration, start, finish and scoring) and take care of the course. In almost all cases, a course director should be assigned who will take responsibility for closing the course to traffic, marking the course (including placement of cones), setting out the mile markers, and setting up the on-course aid station(s). He or she may need several volunteers to assist.

This person may or may not be the transportation/course control driver or co-driver, depending on the size of the race. For smaller races the course director can also be the driver or co-driver and stay with the van. For larger races, when management of several persons or crews is required, it would be better not to have the course director assigned as a driver of one of the vehicles.

 

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