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