Considering signing up as a volunteer? First of all, thank you from us and all the participants. Without you, the race doesn’t happen! Second, we wrote this blog post so you can learn how volunteering works, what you’ll be doing, and, of course, how to actually sign up to become a volunteer at the race this fall.
Volunteers play a critical role at most events, Gourdy’s Pumpkin Run included. Race day simply wouldn’t happen if volunteers weren’t there to help check people in, assist in parking, direct people on the course, and give our runners and walkers their finisher’s medal.
Beyond the various race day tasks that volunteers make happen, the amazing, positive vibe of the event is even more present when we have joyful volunteers! It sounds very cliche, but it’s true. Smiles are contagious, and when we have positive, motivated volunteers helping out on race morning, it makes everyones experience that much better!
Read on to see how it works, the benefits of volunteering, how we’re keeping everyone safe during COVID-19, and how to sign up:
How it Works
In a nutshell, you sign up online to become a volunteer, show up at the designated time, and help make the race rock! Of course, there’s more to it, so let’s dive in.
First, you’ll want to find an event near you (see the list of locations and dates further down) and make sure you’re free that morning. Once you click through the event, you’ll land on the volunteer page and see a few options. We break our volunteers into short shifts throughout the morning. One key requirement is that you need to be able to be on time and stay for the duration of the shift.
After signing up (which takes less than two minutes), you’ll receive a confirmation email. You’re now all set and will hear from us again ~1 week prior to race day. We will send you a reminder and some more details then, but just plan ahead to arrive on time and be ready for a fun, fast-paced morning!
Once on-site and parked, you’ll check in at the volunteer tent, receive your longsleeved volunteer shirt (pictured below), and work with our volunteer coordinator to prepare for the day. You’ll then head to your respective area, whether it’s packet pick-up, helping on the course, or assisting at the finish line area. We take an all-in approach and will shift volunteers around throughout the morning to help wherever is needed. You might be helping direct parking at first, then handing out medals, and even helping pick up any trash left on the ground. It’s fast-paced and time will fly by!
After your shift ends, you’ll check out at the tent and receive whatever reward you opted for (see the ‘Benefits’ section further down).
As our way of saying ‘thank you’ on behalf of the runners and walkers, we want to reward you for making the event a success! Beyond having a great time making a difference at the event, you’ll receive the following:
- 2020 volunteer shirt
- Light snacks and beverages throughout the shift
- Choice of either a free race registration or a donation to a charity of your choice
We get a lot of questions on the free registration and the donation to charity, so let’s dive in to how that works. For the free race registration, you can use it this year before or after your volunteer shift, save it for 2021, or opt for our ever-popular Virtual Run.
When you go to choose a volunteer shift, you will see details on each of the above options, which all depend on what time the shift starts and ends. Simply go to choose your shift and carefully read the options as they are detailed out for each volunteer shift!
Another popular option is to volunteer for a donation to charity. This is a great way to raise money for any charitable organization. Basically, when you go to sign up, you’ll be asked what you want your shift to go towards (i.e. free registration or donation). If you select the donation option, you will be prompted to enter the name and URL where we can make the donation. Once the event ends, we will make the donation!
We’ve also partnered with Girls on the Run as our national charity partner for 2020. They are an amazing organization that we’re thrilled to help this year. If you aren’t sure who to donate to and prefer to let us decide, your volunteer shift donation will default to them so we can help make an even bigger impact! Learn more about our partnership here.
We understand you might not be sure if you want a free registration or a donation made. No worries! You can always let us know when you’re checking in on race morning. Further, if you change your mind between now and then, we can update it in person once you’re checked in!
Keeping Everyone Safe
We have been preparing for this event all year and have had time to plan ways to keep all of our runners, walkers, staff, and, of course, volunteers as safe as possible during the pandemic. Things are ever-changing and we fully expect more changes as we get closer to fall. Regardless, we have implemented a bunch of measures that will make the entire experience fun and safe for everyone!
As mentioned above, we will be adjusting our procedures based on guidelines as we get closer to race day. If things are better by then, we will relax some of them. Otherwise, some safety measures to expect as a volunteer:
- COVID-19 screening questions before being allowed to start your volunteer shift
- Temperature check upon checking in
- Notification to stay home if you’re not feeling well or if you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the previous 14 days leading up to race day
- Gloves and masks provided to volunteers
- Spacing of tables and tents to help create more distance between everyone
- And, of course, plenty of hand sanitizer
We recently wrote a blog on the precautions and changes we’re implementing for the race overall, so check that out here if you’re interested.
How to Sign Up
Signing up takes two minutes. Find a location and date that works for you and sign up by clicking the links below:
- September 12: Lansing, MI
- September 19: Chicago, IL
- September 19: Detroit, MI
- October 3: Louisville, KY
- October 3: Milwaukee, WI
- October 24: Akron, OH
- October 31: Cincinnati, OH
- November 7: Maryland
- November 7: Columbus, OH
- November 14: Central Texas
If you sign up and at a later point realize you can’t make it, please email us so we can remove you. As we have explained, volunteers play a critical role. If you can no longer make it, we need to free up your spot so someone else can fill it! You can reply to your confirmation email or simply shoot us a message: [email protected]
If you have friends or family that can help out, please be sure to invite them once you’ve signed up as a volunteer. We cannot express it enough: volunteers are crucial and the more, the merrier!
We would love for you to join us this fall. Whether you sign up as a volunteer or opt to register for the 5K, we’re thrilled to have you part of our fall tradition. Stay safe, stay active, and we will see you soon!
(PS- If you’re in, click here to choose an event and sign up!)