THUNDER BAY – Sports – 26.2 miles – 42.2 kilmotres – 138336 feet. However you measure it – it’s called a marathon for a reason.
Not only is it a major accomplishment to run that distance, it takes a tremendous effort to ensure the course is safe for runners to do so.
That’s where volunteers come in.
Now in its 3rd year, the Thunder Bay Marathon – Miles with the Giant needs over 200 volunteers to man the barricades that block traffic from the race route on Sunday, September 23.
“Volunteers are so critical – without them we’d never be able to hold this event,” says Charla Robinson, Marathon Director.
This year, race organizers are encouraging teams of volunteers to get together and help out at the event. Groups will be placed along the same area of the route.
“We really want people to have fun with this experience,” explains Robinson. “Anyone can form a team – be it a sports team, a group of friends from work or a high school club. We’re asking teams to think creatively about how to add excitement to the day – wear a uniform or a special costume, bring some noisemakers or music, invite your mascot – the sky’s the limit.”
Already, several volunteer teams have signed on to cheer runners as they go by. Staff and friends of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation are eager to support participants and say thank you to those who have chosen to raise funds for the Foundation as part of their Miles with the Giant experience.
“We’re excited to be involved with the marathon again this year,” said Glenn Craig, President & CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. “100% of the money raised by participants will stay in Northwestern Ontario. It is through the generosity of our donors that programs dedicated to healthy living are available in our community.”
Also back to volunteer this year are mother and daughter team, Marilyn and Candyce Gural. They’ve been involved since the marathon’s inaugural year in 2010 and hope others will consider joining them.
“The marathon is something that’s really positive for this community,” said Marilyn.
Candyce adds, “The best part about volunteering is the opportunity to cheer on the participants – so many of whom I know. They train so hard and it’s nice to be able to help out so they can achieve their goal.”
As for what you can expect as a race day volunteer? “About a six hour day – but it’s a six hours you won’t soon forget,” says Robinson. “Being part of a marathon is an exhilarating and emotional experience.”
To become part of the amazing group of volunteers, or for more information about the marathon, please visit www.thunderbaymarathon.com.