volunteering at a triathlon

We love the volunteers at triathlons and in fact, we ourselves, with our families, have been volunteers at a few.  But, not all jobs are created equal and especially if you are bringing the kids along, you need to pick the right one so everyone has a positive experience and seriously, so no one gets hurt.

But, it can be very, very tricky picking that perfect volunteer position at a triathlon.  There are so many things to take into consideration.  So, we’re here to let you in on what we’ve learned over the years.  We’ve laid out what jobs to pick depending on your likes and dislikes and your personality.  See which category you fit into and choose your ideal job!

If you like gross stuff…

And you are a morning person – you must be a wetsuit stripper!  Although we would suggest wearing gloves, goggles, and take a very long, hot shower afterwards.  Truth is, you do not want to know what some of the triathletes do in their wetsuits.  In reality, you most likely already do know.  Let’s just say when you pull off that wetsuit, wetness goes flying everywhere!

exiting the swim course at a triathlon

If you like it low-key…

Sign up to hand out t-shirts in the volunteer tent.  No real worries here except getting the t-shirt size right and maybe double checking a list.  And, oh yeah, the volunteer food is usually near by – bonus!

If you are bossy…

Be a crosswalk blocker.  Although we need to tell you, this is a very important job!  You can cause an accident between an athlete and a spectator, if you are not careful.  Hold your line and no matter what, be bossy and don’t let that spectator cross the course until you feel like it’s safe to do so!

If you like touching people- no not in that way!

Be a suntan lotion applier.  Yes, it is a real job!   When the athlete get off their bikes, the suntan lotion has most likely been taken off by the swim and sweat from the bike.  Put on a pair of gloves, dip you hands in the suntan lotion buckets, and give a triathlete a good slathering.   Then, repeat on the next triathlete.

twcvolunteer

If you have good ears…

Be a transition bag person.  Actually, this is my son’s favorite job, but it can be tricky.  See, triathletes come running out of swim or off the bike and run to where their bags are.  They will yell their number (just remember they are oxygen deprived, so what they may think is yelling may be very quite) then maybe another volunteer will yell the number, but more than one triathlete will be coming at a time.  Your job will be to hear that number and run to get the bag to pass to the triathlete.  This job is not for the hard of hearing or those with short attention spans, because let me tell you, you get it wrong and you can really ruin some triathlete’ s day.  They  will all of a sudden find the loud voice and forget, we are all volunteers

If you have bike envy…

There is only one job for you – bike transition!   And, there are multiple opportunities; at bike check in, during the race, or at bike pick up.  But just think, you young up to 2500 triathlons bikes.  Checking our components, wheels and set ups, oh my gosh!  Just know this is not the sport for young ones as they are responsible for some very expensive wheels.

If you are loud…

Sign up for a bike or run aid station.  Many of these stations are out in the middle of the course and the triathletes not only need the goods you are first screaming out and then handing out, but lots of cheering as well.  Be there for them!

triathlon aid station

If you are with a group of friends…

Get together and sign up to run one of the least spectator-populated  aid stations.  It’s good to be with friends and get a station covered for a day or shift.  The day can get long and having friends with you makes it go much faster and you’ll have so much more fun.

If you are an early bird…

Get up and get it done and have the rest of the day to yourself – work in the morning transition area.  You’ll get to spend time with a bunch of zombies in spandex, most of whom are a ball of nerves and waiting in line for the port-a-potty.

If you always wanted to be a tattoo artist…

There is only one job for you – body marker!  It’s where I started off and really enjoyed it.  Your job is done before the starting gun goes off, so you have the rest of the day for whatever.  But, the best part is you get to mark some really awesome bodies, including those pros!

volunteering at a triathlon body marking

If it’s your first time…

Sign up for transition, gear bag, or body marking.  It’s where you’ll get the least amount of questions and where you can watch the action.

If you have a steady hand…

Be a bike catcher.  This is another great job for those with bike envy, but requires a VERY steady hand!  You see, the triathletes come flying off their bikes and you have to be ready to catch said bike.  Next, you get to hold on tight while you walk it gently back to the right position, so the number on the bike and the rack match.  One major precaution here – wear gloves, because what happens in that saddle more than likely stays on that saddle.

So, moral of the story:  Before you go and sign up for a volunteer position at the next triathlon, do your homework; know what you like and what you want to stay far away from; sign up for that race on the website; and then go get the job done!

 – THE TRIWIVESCLUB

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE VOLUNTEER SPOT AT A TRIATHLON?