Along the 26.2 miles of the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM), runners receive water, Gatorade, Honey Stinger, Band-Aids, Jelly Belly Sport Beans, petroleum jelly and of course, encouragement from smiling strangers. The hundreds of smiling faces belong to the dedicated volunteers supporting the MCM community through rain, sleet and grueling heat.
It’s next to impossible to assist 30,000 participants without nearly 1,850 event-day altruists. Nor would the Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO) succeed in hosting nine event weekends annually without the commitment of 2,700 people filling 3,300 roles handing out fluids, t-shirts, medals and snacks, dressing as mascots, directing runners and distributing baggage.
Throughout April, National Volunteer Appreciation Month, the MCMO will put volunteers center stage in appreciation for their indelible contributions to the 45-year legacy of the MCM.
Our first spotlight features Tanya Washington and the family of volunteers from Semper Fi & America’s Fund, a charity partner of the MCM. Washington is the Event Manager, Community Events and Volunteer Coordinator with Semper Fi & America’s Fund whose mission is to provide immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to combat wounded, critically ill and catastrophically injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.
Here’s what Washington had to say about volunteering.
How do Semper Fi & America’s Fund volunteers participate in the MCM every year?
Semper Fi & America’s Fund volunteers participate in the MCM in many different ways. We all work together to assist our service members and their families who are participating in the events, assisting runners at the MCM Expo, hosting our annual Pasta Dinner, manning Water Point 8 and welcoming runners to our Charity Hill tent.
Why is volunteering important to you?
Assisting those who preserve our freedom is important. It is the least we can do to support those who have given so much.
What is challenging about volunteering?
Wishing we had more time to volunteer! Semper Fi & America’s Fund volunteers are not only a team, but a family. We love coming together and sharing the Fund’s mission with the community about who we are, what we do and who we assist.
What is your most vivid memory from your time as a Marine Corps Marathon volunteer?
This past MCM was AWESOME! It went from raining cats and dogs to a warm, sunny, steamy day but the runners and our volunteers were MOTIVATED! We were soaked but we had a blast!
Why should more people consider volunteering with the Marine Corps Marathon or any of our charity partners, like Semper Fi & America’s Fund?
The MCM gives everyone—athletes and volunteers—the opportunity to embody the U.S. Marine Corps’ spirit of honor, courage and commitment. Where else can you do that and have fun at the same time!
If you’re inspired by this feature, check out volunteering opportunities with the MCM Organization or with Semper Fi & America’s Fund.