Volunteers are the oil that lubricates the gears of Spartan Race. Wherever you are at an event, you’ll see the souls in red shirts helping at obstacles, handing out medals or water and helping you along the way.

But why would anyone want to volunteer? In her role as Volunteer Coordinator, Katie Morrison explains why volunteering is a smart choice.

“Volunteers get an inside peek at what it takes to produce a Spartan Race.  Volunteers work closely with our staff to deliver an amazing Spartan experience, and get to encourage and support their fellow Spartans as they race.  They also get to assign burpees! Volunteers receive a volunteer t-shirt, snacks and the immense gratitude of competitors and staff.”

The assignments, tasks and jobs that you could do are extremely varied. Even with no experience, as training is given, anyone can help out should they want to.

“There are many different volunteer opportunities with Spartan Race from pre-race, to race-day, to post-race. Before the race even begins we have a dedicated group of volunteers help with our course build”, says Katie.

“These volunteers work closely with our build staff and get a sneak peek of the course before anyone else.  This is a great opportunity for volunteers with carpentry, painting, or event production experience, but there are also tasks that non-experienced volunteers can lend a hand with.  Volunteers also help with packet-stuffing before the race, helping our Registration staff prepare all of the racer bibs.  On race day, volunteers help in our Registration area (handing out racer packets and checking in spectators), our Kids Race, Bag Check, our Finish Line (handing out medals, bananas, and water to the finishers), Merchandise area, and on the course (enforcing obstacles and ensuring the safety of all participants).  Post-race volunteers help our build team with the break down and load out of our materials.”

But how do you go about applying? Very simply, as it turns out.

“Before the race, volunteers should express their interest in volunteering by visiting our web page right here.  If the event isn’t for a few months, the volunteer will just sign up under a general interest link.  Once the event is 1-2 months out, specific volunteer shifts will be posted and the volunteer coordinator for that specific event will contact you with instructions.  Day-of, volunteers will check in with either the Build Production Assistant (for Build shifts), the Registration team (for packet stuffing shifts), or the Volunteer Coordinator.  The Volunteer Coordinator will check you in and give you a t-shirt, snacks and a sandwich, and your assignment for the day.  You will then report to a specific Spartan staff member who will train you and get you started for the day.  At the end of the day, you will check-out from your shift.” 

Naturally, volunteers get more than a pat on the back and a firm handshake for their troubles, too.

“Spartan Volunteers get a t-shirt, snacks, lunch, a great time and a FREE race. The free race can be used either at the event that you volunteer, or at any future US Spartan Race except the Death Race or Ultra Beast. Our full day volunteers receive an EXCLUSIVE Spartan volunteer hoody. Furthermore, nonprofit groups of 10 or more volunteers are also eligible for a $50 per person donation for full-day volunteering.”

“Volunteers are the heart of Spartan Race.  They dedicate their time and energy to help Spartan Race put on an amazing, life-changing event for its participants.  Without the selflessness of our volunteers, we would not be able create such an epic experience.”

Go to Spartanrace.com to sign up to volunteer today!

See you at the finish line…

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[Editor's note: I came across Niki's blog over at www.andthisislifeilove.blogspot.com and I wanted her to share her experience training for her first-ever Spartan race, coming up April 30 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Here's her story...If you want to share yours, send an email to BethC@spartanrace.com]

by Niki Kenney

Niki Kenney

My friend DP has been trying to get me to sign up for races with him for months.

Considering I spent the greater part of last summer on the couch, due to a serious burn injury, I continually turned him down.  I had fallen out of shape and just couldn’t find the courage to train again, lift again, and put in the grueling effort of caloric maintance and protein slamming.

But, DP knows what it’s like to love running.  Knowing that before my annoying injury last summer, I loved running too, he never gave up asking to join him in a race.  Somehow, one day, he convinced me.

He asked me to sign up for a Spartan Race.  It was “only a 5K” and I was “perfectly capable of handling it.”  He even threw in that I could race for free if I volunteered to help with the race.  Free t-shirt, free race, helping out afterwards and watching other runners finish.

What doesn’t sound awesome about that?

I told myself I could use training for a 5k as an excuse to get my couch-shaped rear back into running shape.

My boyfriend and I joined the local YMCA, where our good friends regularly attempted to tone their bods. We made plans and promises to support each other in this newly acquired get-fit challenge.

I was PSYCHED, energetic and hopeful.  I had a run in my future.  Alongside my closest friends, I had a gym schedule loaded with spin, running, lifting and random other classes, each prepared to rock my world back into shape.

At some point during the second week of 5 A.M. spin classes, I contacted the Spartan Race volunteer director to officially sign up for the Spartan Race and offer to help out for free entry.  I had mentioned the run to my girlfriend at some point, and being that she had never raced before, she had casually agreed it would be a fun adventure for us.

Disregarding a final approval, I accidently tossed her name into the email as a fellow runner/helper.  Following the sign up email, I googled the race while at the same time gchating with my friend quickly to inform her that she would be getting contacted re: racing and volunteering.  I went back to the googled Spartan Race video window and my jaw dropped.

WHAT THE HECK DID I GET MYSELF INTO?!!?

I quickly cut and paste the url box into my gchat window, but totally played it cool (as if I hadn’t just witnessed a race like no other). I let her know that she was already signed up for the run, but that she should watch a video about it as soon as possible so she knew what she was up against.  Without waiting for a response, I went back to Google and began looking for a slice of sanity in this seemingly impossible endeavor I had unknowingly signed up for.

I figured, after about ten minutes of abusing “the Spartan race” in my Google window, that I was going to have to back out.  There was no way I could possibly compete in this sort of race.  Mud? Water? Barbed wire? Obstacle course? All I wanted was a 5K! NOT a death wish! (insert kicking and screaming).

Minutes of googling turned into days, and weeks.

I didn’t back out.

I watched video after video of the “not your typical 5K.”  I didn’t see a torturous race. I saw fun; I saw smiles; I saw the high of finishing such an incredible, different kind of race. I saw Spartans.

I read testimonials and of competitors and comments by supporters.  I didn’t read regret or anguish. I read positivity, happiness and excitement. I read about Spartans.

I emailed handfuls of questions to Spartan race veterans.  Their responses were not to train like I’ve never trained before and give up if I wasn’t in shape in time.  They encouraged me to prepare safely and excitedly for an invigorating, “helluva good time,” won’t ever forget it, run. I heard back from Spartans.

I became enthralled with running blogs and supporters of health, exercise and eating well.

Somewhere in there, I even convinced my boyfriend and another friend to sign up for the race and volunteer.

I’ve spent nearly every single day in the gym. I’ve blogged about the workouts, and the burn. I’ve hated life when my alarm went off at 5 A.M. and cursed at my own legs when I didn’t think they could possibly carry me any longer.  But I still keep on training to get back in shape.  I work at it every day for my journey to Spartan.

I received confirmation from the run volunteer this week that I would be running in the first heat.  Remembering that I had read at some point that the first heat was when the fierce “elite competition” usually races, I quickly shot back an email asking her if this was true.  Spoken like a true Spartan, her response: “I’m not sure. . . things have changed slightly, and I haven’t been filled in on all the details . . . Don’t worry about it though, all the volunteers are elite in my mind :) ”.  I was at ease.

I am by no means in as good of shape as the competitors highlighted on the Spartan site.  I don’t run as far as my new blogger friends. I wouldn’t consider myself completely back to being fit. But I am different than I was a month and a half ago.  I’m a new person, with a new attitude and a new outlook on fitness and physical challenges.

This is corny, and probably only the thousands of Spartan racers would really understand, but I’m Spartan strong.

And in a few short weeks here, I’ll be able to call myself a true Spartan racer.

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