Marathon season is officially here in the northeast, with cool, crisp temperatures and falling leaves. Two of the upcoming 26.2-mile races, New York City (Nov. 5) and Philadelphia (Nov. 19), first began as 3 laps around the local park - - Central Park in NYC, the Art Museum loop of Fairmount Park in Philly. Both now take runners away from the boring loop courses and into neighborhoods and historic sites instead.
If you've never run one, it's a good time to start putting in a foundation for a 26.2-mile race in 2018. For motivation, it's fun to venture to Manhattan for their race and watch wave after wave of runners go by on First Avenue.
Another option, besides being a spectator or running, is to be a race volunteer. How to do it? “Most go through our Web site and sign up there,” says Edwin Ortiz Jr., Assistant Manager for Volunteers and Community Outreach for the New York Road Runners, the group behind the New York City Marathon and other races.
Check out the Web sites of popular races near you for a chance to volunteer on race day. You'll be surprised how much work is involved behind the scenes, and how much each race depends on their volunteers. At a recent New York City Marathon, 6,000 volunteered to help about 40,000 runners navigate safely through the city’s five boroughs. “That seemed to be enough to get the job done,” says Ortiz, “but we could always use more.” How about you?