The Chicago Marathon: a Volunteer Perspective

The Chicago Marathon: a Volunteer Perspective





On Sunday, October 7th thousands of runners all over Chicagoland were up before the sun to top off months of training by running the Chicago Marathon.  Hundreds of others were up before the sun to don the ubiquitous blue jacket of the Chicago Marathon volunteer.

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As a key volunteer for Aid Station 13 at mile 18 I not only got to wear Volunteer Blue, I also got a sexy reflective vest.


My job?  To make sure the north side of Taylor Street had enough water and Gatorade volunteers, that the volunteers were raking up cups as we went, and that no one was in danger of running out of fluids.

My Gatorade and Water Coordinators made sure everyone knew how to mix the Gatorade and how many cups high the tables needed to be stacked.

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After that, my job was mostly as a spectator and supervisor while occasionally jumping in to help hand out fluids.




Photo courtesy of Veggie Next Door

One of my favorite parts of volunteering is that you get to see the entire race from start to finish.  From the elite men and women

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to the everyday people who insist on finishing this race even if it means walking on the sidewalks behind the sweeper trucks.  And everyone in between.  Guys dressed up who stop to dance to the music from the DJ.  People wearing outfits the probably spent hundreds of dollars on and people running in cotton t-shirts and leggings that could have come from the thrift store. Fast and not so fast.  Joyful and pained.

Yes, as a volunteer you’re on your feet for 8 hours.  Yes, you have to rake and shovel thousands of used paper cups.  Yes, you have to stand out in the cold (or heat some years).  But you get to witness almost 40,000 people go by as they take part in an event that will test their limits.  And you get to know that many of them couldn’t do it without you.

Thanks to everyone who volunteered at the 2012 Chicago Marathon and congratulations to everyone who ran!

Filed under: Running

Tags: races, volunteering

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    Erin Vandenberg

    I'm a 30-something who decided to get off the elliptical and expand my fitness horizons. Since moving to Chicago in 2008 I've run marathons and biked miles. I've done group fitness classes and lifted weights on my own. And now I want to share my fitness finds with you!

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