Runners have a camaraderie with each other that runs deep. We look for ways to help each other reach our goals through donating, volunteering or coaching runners into the sport. Yes, that's why runners rule! We asked several Flock Leaders, members of our Volée team, to tell their personal experience giving back to runners in their community, and why it's awesome.
I coach for Girls On The Run and serve on the board of directors of our local GOTR council. I also use Charity Miles to support GOTR and EMC whenever I walk or run with my son! As a lifelong athlete who is a mother to a son I really love having the opportunity to share the lessons I have learned through 38 years of participation in sport with the girls I coach. I am incredibly grateful to be able to teach them to reframe their negative self-talk into positive messages, to set goals and believe in their own power. And since I coach at my son's school I am getting to watch these girls grow up and see them put the topics we discuss into action. I truly cannot imagine a more important, fulfilling way to spend my afternoons.
Left to right: Sheila Wordell and Holly Roberts
I volunteer coach at my daughter's high school for cross country. Inspiring, motivating, encouraging the kids to develop themselves as runners and a lifelong joy of running. Every meet we ran was over 90 degrees so teaching them about importance of hydration. Answering questions about shoes, workouts, etc.
I pay it forward by volunteering as a running buddy for Girls on the Run and by signing my niece and nephews up for their first races and buying them their first pairs of running shoes! I love helping kids get into running, it is so rewarding to see their pure enjoyment and satisfaction when they try their best and I like to think that I am giving them a gift that could last their lifetimes. Watching my niece run with a huge grin on her face reminds me of the simple, natural joy of running.
I volunteer at local races and hold weekly "running office hours" at an area running store in connection with my job. Every week I run with someone new. Running in Rochester is all about community. I love to support others and strive to inspire folks to step outside their comfort zones to try something new. The journey is so much about working hard to better youself and being a part of that realization for others is a true gift.
Kelly Burns Gallagher
I am a race director for three races: a 5K, 1/4 marathon and 1/2 marathon. Last year we raised $17,000 for our charitable organizations. In addition I frequently donate new and gently used running and triathlon gear and clothing to women who are unable to afford it. I find that cost is often a barrier to entering a sport. Helping women be able to feel confident while there out running is not just an aesthetic thing, it also helps them stay in sport and reap all the awesome benefits.
I coach a blind runner who lost his eyesight while fighting for our country and our freedom. He recently qualified for Boston! I love the ability to give back to someone who has sacrificed so much. He proves to me that anything is possible if you are determined enough. Guiding him and watching others guide him during marathons is proof that the running community is an awesome thing to be a part of.
I am a race director for a local run that raises awareness and funds for a local program which provides chronically hungry children with a backpack filled with child friendly, nutritous food, for them to enjoy over the weekend when school subsidizes meals are not available. As a race director, I am able to combine several of my passions: running, event planning, and helping those in need (especially children). #RunLocalSupportLocal
I pay it forward by being a race director for Girls on the Run of Milwaukee, a marathon pacer, lead marathon build up runs, organize virtual race meet ups, city running tour guide, and of course coordinate midwest Oiselle meet ups! Community = unity. From helping girls to be strong and healthy in mind and body to helping encourage and guide runners to achieve their marathon dreams goes beyond the physical rewards but towards a happier community in general.
I pay it forward by volunteering at packet pickups and at the races, water stops or the finish line. I also Coach My First 5k/10k Training Programs. I am always very thankful for all the volunteers at a race, so when I get the opportunity to volunteer, I jump on it. I honestly get so much from coaching the My First 5k/10k Training Groups. It is truly awesome to be next to someone, who has never run before, and they turn to you with a big smile and say, "I can't believe I just ran for 3 minutes straight". Then to be with them on race day and cross the finish line with them. I always get big hugs after that!
I pay it forward by volunteering at race day registration. I've also raised over $5000 for the Alzheimer's Association NYC through running the NYC marathon. It's scary to imagine what a race would be like without the volunteers so I'm happy for the opportunity to volunteer. It's also a great way to meet new people. Running for a charity is a great way to raise awareness for important causes.
I volunteer at local triathlons and running races setting up supplies and registration. Running is just as much about the community as the actual physical running. I like to be a steward to positive thinking, support, and comraderee for everyone in our sport, and volunteering at races lets me do so (and cheer on my friends!).
I have volunteered at local races by posting blogs about the events and trying to get the word out about new and upcoming races. This is an amazing way to give back locally to races that may not get much attention. I also have helped some work friends trying to tackle their first 5k or 10k. My love of running, runs deep, and I really love to see people pushing themselves and doing things to better themselves, mentally and physically.
I enjoy volunteering at a few events each year and love cheering for races whenever possible. It's fun to provide support to runners and to see them smile when they are working hard or having a rough day, plus I have fun giving back to the sport that supports me when I race. It's important to remember how many volunteers and race staffers it takes to run an event, even a small one. We benefit from that each time we race, which makes it important to support others and to give back to the sport we love.