"What's a bike marshal?" you might ask.
Bike marshals help race directors keep race courses safe for runners. They act as eyes, ears, and voices for the race. Since they're very mobile, bike marshals help clear the course for runners, can respond to emergencies, and help keep race organizers posted on the locations of runners on the course.
I've been volunteering as a bike marshal for a couple of years now. Here are some of the reasons I continue to bike marshal:
1) To meet new people.
(photo credit: Julian Reggans)
I've had the opportunity to meet and work with a wide variety of interesting people working as a bike marshal for a variety of events over the last couple years.
(photo credit: Wendy Shulik)
After being intimately involved with the logistics of a race, I have come to really appreciate the time and effort organizers and volunteers commit to make events successful.
Have you run a race that was very well executed? How about one that was poorly done? Take 5 minutes and write a review on BibRave, the place to find and review races on the Interwebs!
3) Take a break from running while still staying connected to the running "scene."
(photo credit: Peter Mone)
Whether forced by injury or by choice, it can be good to take a little break from running or racing. Volunteering as a bike marshal is a great way to keep you in the loop with your running buddies, and since you'll be riding the course at least a couple times, you can enjoy the post-race festivities guilt-free!
4) Gain a greater appreciation for runners.
(photo credit: Jenn Kincaid)
Runners come in all shapes and sizes! As a bike marshal you may get an opportunity to ride with the leaders of a race or maybe you'll be assigned to keep tabs on the back of the pack. Either way, I've learned to appreciate and be inspired by runners of all levels.
5) Help others achieve their running goals.
(photo credit: Kyle Larson)
It's totally cheesy of course, but without each volunteer, there would be no race for runners to test their meddle against each other, the elements, the distance, and themselves. Bike marshals help contribute to a healthy, safe environment for runners.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in becoming a bike marshal for a local Chicago running event, I coordinate bike marshals at a number of Chicago races throughout the year!
Already racing or out of town?
Share this blog and help me recruit bike marshals!
Thanks for reading!