I like to run (OK, jog slowly, but I prefer to call it running), I like races, and I like volunteering (once I am out the door and/or at the event). So volunteering as a course marshal for a small local racing company is a great source of frugal fun for me!
I've been volunteering for a little over a year now. I started when I wanted to train for some longer-distance trail running events and realized that entering races could quickly become a non-frugal hobby. When I learned that each volunteer would receive a $20 "race credit" at each event they helped with, I talked UFF Dad into joining me (to double the credits) and we made it a habit. This year, as his business and volunteer work have been more demanding, I've been doing more races on my own (I was awfully glad to have him with me as we shivered by the river at midnight on New Year's Eve), which is not quite as much fun but still enjoyable.
Here is what I love: it is wonderful to be a part of a sport and a community that supports getting outside and exercising together regardless of speed, size, age, gender, or body type. Everyone gets the same encouragement, cheers, health benefits, and feeling of accomplishment. I think this is one of the reasons to enter races--or volunteer at them--being part of this encouraging group.
It's true that just how enjoyable the volunteering is depends a little bit on weather. (At least in the moment; sometimes the worst weather makes the best stories afterward. The second event I dragged UFF Dad to found us standing on the side of a mountain in pouring rain and hail for five hours…it's a wonder he ever agreed to do it again!)
I got lucky today. After a day and night of sideways rain, this was my post:
This is what I did during the pauses, besides chat with walkers and bikers on the path:
And to top it all off, look at all the swag I came home with!
Official Race Crew T-shirts for both UFF Dad and I, a credit for my own next event, some snacks, and a delicious breakfast burrito from the post-run feed, which I had for lunch.
Money spent today: $0
Does anyone else enjoy volunteering for entertainment?