April 17, 2023

National Volunteer Week: Pre-event

SHARE: Copied!
Image for National Volunteer Week: Pre-event

Did you know that our Volunteers tracked 17,027.9 hours in 2022? From virtual packing to finish line Hospitality, our events are filled with the incredible people supporting the Marine Corps, the community, our runners and our organization. In honor of National Volunteer Week, we wanted to highlight the various roles of the individuals that make this well-oiled engine go. Even introduce you to a few!

Without our volunteers, we couldn’t do it. It’s as simple as that.

Pre-Event Volunteers

Before the pomp and circumstance, early morning jitters and announcements of event morning, there are countless hours of work. Whether it is packing up the warehouse or the smiling face answering questions, there are many roles a volunteer fulfills during “pre-event” week.  

Virtual Packing Virtuosos

Many of MCMO’s events offer runners an opportunity to participate from afar with a virtual component. These dedicated participants take on the distance when their schedule allows during a certain timeframe, eventually submitting their results. Though unable to join live and in-person, the accomplishment of these individuals is still celebrated with the event shirt and medal.

Virtual Packing Volunteers

Instead of being draped at the finish line by a Marine, these medals are provided in a branded package by the friendly mailperson. For some of the smaller events, this may only be a couple hundred packages. Others, like MCM Weekend and the annual virtual event kicking off each year, require over 1,000 packages to be packed and mailed out. This entails a day long (sometimes up to three days) operation of multiple three-hour shifts of volunteers who gather, bundle and seal the packages containing the event shirt, medal and other goodies.

At times, these volunteers may even assist with other pre-event needs – like assembling the popcorn boxes for the Marine Corps 17.75K!

Popcorn Boxes

Warehouse Working Party

While some people are stuffing event packets, others are packing supplies ranging from hydration and nutrition to the red arches and PR Bell. Traditionally a few Marines stationed aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, this group works hand and hand with MCMO’s warehouse team to gather and load needed items onto trucks for each event.

Imagine working in a warehouse with the loading dock open performing hard manual labor for hours in the heat of the Summer. Needless to say, it isn’t the cushiest job.

“For me, and I mean this with all sincerity, outside of the staff there is no more important resource to this organization then the men and women who volunteer their time to support us,” expressed Eric Pugh, MCMO supply technician and safety officer. “There is no doubt in my mind that without their unwavering and steadfast support, some of the tasks I have been assigned since arriving here would have been way more challenging, if not outright impossible.”

Packet Pick-Up Pros

Pugh’s sentiments can also be applied to those who volunteer time-after-time at Packet Pick-Up. Whether it’s welcoming the runners and assigning their bibs to those passing out the shirts, these individuals are often responsible for the first impression of the event weekend. In some cases, they are or were previously participants themselves.

“I do the MCM10K in honor of my boss’ son who passed away in Afghanistan. I initially started out (volunteering) because I had to pick up my own packet for the 10K. It was supposed to be a one-time thing.” explained Lennis Montague. “I enjoy being around the Marines and getting to converse will all the people.”  If you have run a MCMO event since 2012, you likely have met Montague.

Another familiar face is that of Sid Busch. Having volunteered at 50 plus events, Busch enjoys passing out the bibs and always answering the questions. “As I am getting older and having health problems, since I can’t run the events anymore, I volunteer at the events,” said Busch. “I get to see all the runners. It’s a lot of fun.”

His favorite though? The Marine Corps Marathon, of course. “I always tell people that if you are truly serious about running one marathon and never running another, it has to the Marine Corps Marathon because you get to see every major monument there is and if you don’t get emotions going up toward that finish line, you have no emotions.”

The Healthy Lifestyle Expo during Marine Corps Historic Half Weekend and the MCM Health and Fitness Expo welcome anywhere between 25,000 to 100,000 runners and their friends and families. With volunteers like Lennis, Sid and many others, we know our runners are provided the best service as they prepare for their run.

“Creating memorable, achievement-oriented, experiences for our participants is the mission of the Marine Corps Marathon Organization. A mission that’s enabled by the dedication of over 2,300 volunteers who support every phase of each event on an annual basis,” expressed Alex Hetherington, MCMO director. “The “must do, will do, can do” reputation of the United States Marine Corps is what inspires both our runners and volunteers, and is the essential difference in quality and degree which defines Marine Corps Marathon Events!”

Our pre-event volunteers are the first step in providing a memorable running experience for our participants each event weekend. Thank You.

Register for the Marine Corps Historic Half

It’s the greatest half in history! Run through historic Fredericksburg from the retail hub of Central Park, through quaint downtown shops and restaurants, up Hospital Hill to a finish line bathed in stars and stripes.