Category Archives: Volunteering

Volunteer To Be Part Of The Runner’s Rite Of Spring!

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run needs thousands of volunteers to make The Runner’s Rite Of Spring® the finest 10-mile race in the nation. From helpful people handing out bibs at the expo to smiling fans working water stops along the course, there are so many volunteers that impact the race experience!

Photo courtesy of Don Libes, on Flickr

One of my favorite race day traditions is to make it a point to thank the volunteers. I know I couldn’t finish the race without the volunteers at the water stops, and might have been lost without the volunteers answering my questions at the expo. I am thankful for everyone who took time out of their days to make my race experience better.

Maybe that’s because my first experience with the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run was not as a runner, but as a volunteer. I volunteered through my credit union employer to man the Memorial Bridge center divider.

Photo Credit: Heather Mundwiler

Volunteering with a few of my credit union co-workers at the 2009 race
(I’m second from the left)

We had to get to our position on the course very early on race morning, but even that had it’s own reward!

Photo Credit: Heather Mundwiler

The Memorial Bridge looked a little bit different as the runners took to the course!

Photo Credit: Heather Mundwiler

One of the great things about volunteering for is that there are many volunteer positions that you can do even if you are running the race, since there are volunteer slots on Friday and Saturday, as well as on race day. Check out the options and sign up here. And, if you volunteer this year, you will receive a guaranteed race entry for next year!

So Many Volunteer Opportunities!

Since my first time volunteering, I have continued to volunteer when I am able. I have been a course marshal at the Memorial Bridge twice, assisted with a Credit Union for Kids Silent Auction benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and handed out bananas at the finish line. Volunteers are crucial to the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run success!

I asked Nita Lalla Roncone, CUCB Volunteer Coordinator, about some of her favorite volunteer positions and what perks volunteers can earn.

Nita’s favorite volunteer positions are Expo Hall Security and the Volunteer Registration Team. Expo Hall Security acts as a roving information team to direct runners, volunteers, and expo visitors to various sites. As a runner herself, Nita knows the importance of these volunteers.

I think it is key to have a lot of staff familiar with the race interact with the runners and answer questions “on the fly”

The Volunteer Registration Team implements the paperless registration process by using QR code readers to scan in the 2,500 volunteers. The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run is working toward environmental sustainability in all facets of the race, and this is one semingly small step that can make a big difference. You can read more about the sustainability efforts of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run here.

Nita highlighted Course Marshal as another fun volunteer position. 175 Course Marshals needed for both the 10 mile and 5K races. These volunteers are transported to their location on the race course and cheer on the runners as they run the race!

Photo Credit: Heather Mundwiler

As for first timers, Nita says “We also have many first timers who are unfamiliar with the competitiveness of the lottery system, and so when they don’t get a spot in the race, they volunteer to secure the spot for the following year. Turns out they have so much fun volunteering and realize how great it was to get a spot in the race, that they return year after year. We have many volunteers who are repeat volunteers, and we honor all of our volunteers at an annual Friday night volunteer appreciation party.”

Wait, did someone say party?

Yep! The Friday night volunteer appreciation party is just one of the benefits of volunteering for Cherry Blossom. They include:

  • Guaranteed entry code for next year’s race. The guaranteed entry is transferable, so if a non-running friend volunteers , they could transfer their entry to you. Or, if you get into the lottery, you can transfer your entry to a friend.
  • Volunteer Appreciation Party. Last year this was a catered wine & cheese event, free for all volunteers.
  • Being part of something bigger than yourself.  Nita reminded me that “The Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run has been recognized by Washingtonian Magazine as something you have to do when you live in Washington. Even if you aren’t a runner, this is a great way to be part of the DC Community.”
    OK, so you’re ready to volunteer, right? Great! Sign up as directed below depending on what kind of Volunteer you are:

How To Select Your Spot And Sign Up

When you sign up to volunteer, you can select your date/time/position, so sign up early to get your preferred slot.

Photo courtesy of
Don Libes, on Flickr

Medical Volunteers:


If you volunteered in 2016 you have until this Wednesday, March 1, to register with your guaranteed entry code. 

If you are registered and can’t run, the bib transfer program is open through this Tuesday, February 28.

Thank you so much to Nita Lalla Roncone for answering all of my questions and to Don Libes for letting me share just a few of his photos from his 11 years volunteering for Cherry Blossom!



Why We Love The Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

This week is all about love. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re sharing why we love the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. It’s not called The Runner’s Rite Of Spring® for nothing!

CUCB Valentine

Show your love and support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals here!

We’d love to hear why you love the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run–tell us in the comments!

Continue reading Why We Love The Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

Keep Calm And Volunteer

If you’re in the Northeast United States, or at least the Mid-Atlantic, then like me you’ve spent much of the past week hiding from the cold and snow.  Here in Washington DC, we reacted to #Snowzilla with our customary coolness under fire (just picture a ballroom of cats given enough catnip to power several zip codes’ worth of Christmas lights, and then setting a herd of Roombas upon them.  Did I mention the ballroom was on the Titanic?).

This probably has resulted in you being cooped up, or stuck on your treadmill.  Runners get a little crazy when they can’t Do That Thing They Do (that song is in your head now, you’re welcome).  All of this snow, slush, and ice might have you feeling a little behind when it comes to training, especially if you’re new to running, or if the 10-mile distance is a new frontier.  I suggest remembering this mantra:


You might well wonder what the heck volunteering has to do with training. You’re a long distance runner.  You gotta think Long Term. Continue reading Keep Calm And Volunteer

Sustainability and Going Green at Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run


Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day we’d like to highlight some of the efforts that the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Race is making to ensure that it is a sustainable road race.

Over the past few years the CUCB race committee has recognized the importance of being an environmentally friendly event and has formed a dedicated sub-committee to manage these efforts. This committee manages a certification process through the Council for Responsible Sport  that recognizes athletic events that are going above and beyond to protect the environment in which they operate.  For the CUCB 10 Mile Race, this means making sure that event venues are environmentally friendly and that the National Parks grounds that the race course is run on remains clean and preserved for the future.

We couldn’t do any of this without continued support from runners and volunteers.  We had 22 amazing “Green Team” volunteers helping out on race day, to make sure that as much waste as possible was diverted from landfills and recycled or composted.  These volunteers worked hard to make sure that water bottles were recycled, banana peels were composted and that heat sheets were collected for “upcycling.”  We also collected 68 bags of clothing at the start line and donated them to Goodwill Industries.

The sustainability efforts of the CUCB 10 Mile race did not just happen on race day.  At the shoesSustainability Booth at the Health and Fitness Expo, we collected 195 pairs of gently used athletic shoes to donate to MORE Foundation Group.

We also partnered with TapIt to make runners aware of local establishments who would refill a water bottle for free.  This service makes it easier for runners and those out and about for the day to refill empty water bottles instead of throwing them away in purchasing water.

A free bike valet service was offered at both the Health and Fitness Expo and the race, and we arranged for Metro to open two hours early on race day.

While we’re happy with our progress, like any runner trying to beat a PR, we are continuing to plan to make the 2016 race an even greener and more sustainable race.  We welcome ideas from our runners and appreciate your feedback.

About the Authors:

Kim Nemire is the lead team member of CUCB’s dedicated sustainability committee.  She’s responsible for coordinating all the efforts of the sustainability of the race and affiliated events.  Currently, Kim is working on a goat farm in rural Illinois helping make goat milk soaps and goat cheese.

Anna Dengler is a member of the sustainability team.  She is responsible for coordinating outreach and communication efforts of the sustainability team’s mission.  She currently works at a software company in Baltimore.

Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run Charity Ride at Biker Barre

What’s up with this weather, huh?  Not very conducive to outdoor training!  Good news – I’ve got a great way for y’all to keep up your cardio without stomping through the snow and ice: spinning!

children's miracle network hospitals
Give a miracle!

So, here’s the exciting news: I’ve teamed with Biker Barre to host a Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run Charity Ride!  With a $14 donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (classes at Biker Barre are normally $22 per class!) you will get a seat in the class, a 2015 Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Race t-shirt, a great cross training workout, and best of all, you’ll sweat for a great cause!

Spinning is a wonderful cross training workout, whether you’re training for your next race, or recovering from one.

  1. Spinning adds variety to your workouts.
  2. Spinning is low impact and will give your joints a break.
  3. Spinning will help you strengthen muscles that you don’t use as much when you’re running.

I started spinning as a way to maintain my cardio after developing an injury from my first marathon.  Spinning was a welcomed change – and it only took a few weeks before I learned to love it.  Three years later, I’m an avid spinner and instructor, sharing my love for the bike at a local studio in Capitol Hill: Biker Barre.

The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is a non-profit international organization that helps to treat millions of children across the U.S. and Canada.  Every dollar that you donate will support research and training, and will pay for uncompensated care that saves and improves the lives of as many children as possible.

You want in?  Great!  Here are the details:

  • Date: Saturday, March 7th
  • Time: 1PM-1:45PM
  • Where: Biker Barre: 738 7th Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003 (The closest metro stop is Eastern Market Metro.  There is also street parking available.)
  • How to reserve a spot in the class: The only way to reserve a spot is to email with the subject line ‘Cherry Blossom Run Charity Ride” and tell them you would like to reserve a bike with Lauren R.  They will send you an email confirmation of your reservation, as well as a link back to this site so you can donate.  Please make sure to email BEFORE donating to ensure you get a spot in the class.

More details about the ride:

  • Never been to Biker Barre? That’s ok! The only thing we will need from you is to sign our liability waiver. You can do this ahead of time by creating an account online here and click on the ‘sign-up’ link at the top of the page (you do not need to sign up for a class, just create an account.)  Every rider must sign this waiver.
  • Already been to Biker Barre?  You’re all set 🙂
  • Arrival Time: Plan to arrive fifteen minutes before the class. You will need time to sign in and set up your bikes.
  • What to Bring: Just bring water – we’ve got the towels for during and after class!
  • What to Wear: Wear comfortable workout clothes. Try to avoid pants that are too loose and flowy. Normal workout-appropriate sneakers will work just fine.
  • To Donate: Donating online is safe and easy! To make an online donation please click the “Support Me” button on the top of this page.
  • Question: Please email me!

Nervous to try your first spin class?  Don’t be!  Here are some tips to help you feel more prepared.

Lauren Rice CUCB BlogLauren is a midwesterner-turned-DC-transplant who still geeks out every time she runs down The National Mall.  She is happiest with her camera in hand and loves to cook up delicious recipes for her food blog, Just a Pinch (  When not crunching numbers as a non-profit financial analyst, Lauren is teaching spinning, running the streets of Capitol Hill with her lab, Gus, or continuing her studies towards becoming a Registered Dietitian.  This will be her third Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run and she’s got her eyes on a PR!  Follow her adventures on Twitter + Instagram.

Very Important Volunteers

Did you know it takes more than 2,000 volunteers to organize the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run?

No doubt about it, volunteers are the fuel that keeps the 43-year-old DC racing tradition running smoothly.

Volunteers are so important to the success of the race, the organizers throw in some serious perks to thank everyone involved. The most sought after? A guaranteed entry for the next year’s race. So if you love all things Cherry Blossom and had hoped to kick off your spring running season with the Credit Union race, have no fear! Volunteer, and you won’t have to go through the pins-and-needles, hand-wringing lottery process. (We’ve lost one or two nights of sleep crossing our fingers to get in around lottery time).

CUCB lottery
Cross your fingers!

So I talked to Nita Lalla Roncone, the volunteer coordinator to find out what you need to know about volunteering for the 2015 Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.

Roncone says there are more than 50 spots left for volunteers, scattered over four days and two states (plus the District of Columbia).

“Volunteers pick up elite athletes from the airport, direct runners from the metro, distribute t-shirts, hand out water, organize runner-bibs, sell merchandise, control the crowd, cheer the runners, and so much more,” Roncone says.

Roncone says the best part of being a volunteer is meeting the runners.

“Seeing them at the expo, after they have trained hard for this race and are gearing up for the big run, and then seeing the joy (and pain) on their faces after they conquer the distance and wrap themselves in a heat blanket… knowing that you were a part of the magic reminds our volunteers that we are all part of something bigger,” she says.

And for runners who got in? Don’t forget to thank the volunteers.

CUCB volunteer
Volunteers are VIPs!

“Volunteers are the foundation of the race,” Roncone says. “Can you imagine having a race without volunteers? There would be no water, no medals, no entertainment. You wouldn’t even know what your time is when you cross the finish line since there would be no one with a microphone to tell you the time. We have so many volunteers that you see – handing out t-shirts and race packets at the expo – and so many volunteers that you don’t see. Those are the ones who set up everything and take it all down. They make the magic happen: tents get set up, water stations are built, heat blankets are unloaded and distributed, as are bananas, water, and food.”

Not a runner? The entry is transferrable – and a great way to make a runner friend’s day. Convinced? Head on over and sign up here!

Oh and how could we forget? Volunteers also score a 2015 Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile long-sleeve volunteer t-shirt.

From the CUCB blog team, a huge THANK YOU to everyone to makes this incredible race what it is! See you on the course!


nataliediblasio blog

Natalie started running in the second grade and hasn’t stopped since. In her day job, she is a reporter on the breaking news team at USA TODAY. In the way-too-early mornings and shouldn’t-you-be-exhausted-by-now evenings she’s busy running, practicing yoga at her favorite studio, acting as President of the American News Women’s Club or writing for Run Washington, and Runner’s Breakfast. Natalie is a chronically starving marathoner, loud laugher and wannabe triathlete in training for her first half Ironman in June.

Making Lemonade From Lemons

LemonadeSo, you didn’t get selected for the 2015 Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run or 5k. You might have really had your heart set on it, but it’s time to come up with a contingency plan.

I have a couple of suggestions that might help soothe the sting of lottery loss, depending on your running schedule and interests.

Volunteer Entries

If you have a back up race, but want to run the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run someday, we would love to have you join us in 2015 as a race day volunteer! Volunteers get a cotton long sleeve tee with this year’s winning race design, a guaranteed race entry for 2016 (at prevailing entry fees), and great running karma!

I missed out on the lottery for the 2010 race so I volunteered as a course marshal for a guaranteed 2011 entry. My job was to protect the giant, expensive clock at Mile 9, and make sure runners weren’t getting too far off course. My role let me see every single person who finished the race – starting with being awestruck by the elite athletes, clapping and shouting for the age groupers, cheering for the middle of the pack, and shouting encouragement for the folks beating the sweeper bus. I’ll never forget how fast the elite athletes seemed when they were zooming right past me, and how great it felt to push the runners who needed a boost at the end of Hains Point.

There are tons of other race day volunteer roles, too, you can visit the volunteer sign-up page to choose one you think you’d like. Bring friends to keep you company – all of the guaranteed entries are transferable so non-runners can get good karma on race day too!

Charity Entries

If you really want to run the 2015 race, we also offer charity race bibs to runners who fundraise for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. You can register as a charity runner and earn a bib for the 2015 race by raising $500 no later than February 28, 2015. You could be training for something bigger than your next PR – your fundraising efforts help treat children regardless of ability to pay. You can even get a whole fundraising team involved to support each other’s efforts! Remember to read through all of the registration instructions – you have to register as a race entry fundraiser to be eligible, and after you raise the $500 there will still be a registration process for the race that you will receive via email.

Bib Transfers

Finally, if you can’t wait until 2016 but you don’t really have a knack for fundraising, we offer a bib transfer process during the month of February. You post what you’re looking for on our forum and hope that someone with a bib they can no longer use is willing to make the transfer. Note: this is the only sanctioned way for one runner to get another runner’s bib. It’s very important that we have accurate information about who is running the race, and the only way to update that information is to use the bib transfer process in February. You can transfer your bib to someone you know and skip the forum arrangements, but for everyone’s safety we do need to be strict about updating bib and runner info through the official process.

I hope to see you at the finish line this year or next – I know you’ll enjoy the race whichever year you join us!