Volunteering at IMWI

I’ve been asked why I put forth so much time + effort to volunteer at races when I’m not a participant. That is such an easy answer…I do it because I LOVE IT! I LOVE supporting other, I LOVE the energy that surrounds race day, and I LOVE seeing the joy radiate from the athletes when they achieve something they once thought was impossible. I LOVE watching them cross that finish line and all the emotions that come with it!

Last weekend, I volunteered to be the captain of the women’s change area at Ironman Wisconsin and a few myths came about throughout the day that I want to take a few minutes to dispel.

  1. “I didn’t know that the volunteers moved all of our gear. I thought paid Ironman employees did all of this and that it was just magically done when we finished the race.” As an athlete, our race fees do not pay for all the moving around of our gear, directing of traffic (yes some officers get paid for this, but the volunteers on course don’t), and handing out water + food on the course; even the staff in the medical tent are volunteers.
  2. “I thought our race fees went to paying for people to work the even like you.” I am not paid. The captains of different areas are also volunteers. We are not paid for the time we spend emailing all of our volunteers, coordinating all of our volunteers, running the area we are volunteering in, and making all of the decisions we have to make throughout the day (no matter how difficult they may be to keep athletes safe)…but I wouldn’t change it for the all the money in the world!
  3. “If you don’t get paid, do you at least get a free entry into a race?” The captains of different areas are not given a free entry into a future event. We are given a free shirt, cap, and lanyard…nothing more. We do this because we LOVE supporting others, LOVE the race day atmosphere, and LOVE seeing the smiles on so many faces when we get to help athletes throughout the day.
The many volunteers in T1 at Ironman Wisconsin!

Remember to thank a volunteer when you are racing. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to do what you love (or it would cost so much more)!

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6 thoughts on “Volunteering at IMWI

  1. Great post!!! Yes, when we volunteer–we VOLUNTEER! We spend the day (or sometimes weekend) away from our families, pay for our own gas to get there, and work our butts off all day so that the athletes can have the smoothest day possible. Good for you for stepping up as a captain-it’s a big job. Thank every volunteer you can on race day 🙂

  2. Awesome post!! I’m not at very many races that I don’t participate in but I have been 2 Ironman races that I didn’t participate in and volunteered. I loved every minute of it!! I also always say thanks to the volunteers!! I said extra big thanks to the Copenhagen volunteers that were braving the pouring rain to help us out!! 🙂

    1. Thanks Leslie! It is so much fun to volunteer and watch the emotions pour out of the athletes racing…especially when I’ve felt so many of them myself while racing. I truly know what they are experiencing and it is awesome! Yes, the volunteers also brace the same weather conditions that the athletes do and it isn’t always rainbows and unicorns! 😉

  3. Thanks for volunteering. I met the iron hippie when I got off the bike. Even though we have never met it was great to see a face that I knew, thanks to your blog. And I managed to finish the darn thing. Hope to see you all next time.

    1. You’re so welcome! It is fun to give back! So awesome that you met the Iron Hippie! HUGE congratulations on crossing that finish line! It isn’t an easy course. We will be in the change tent at IMWI again next year, so hopefully we’ll see you then!

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