To All Who Volunteer For This Happy Race, Thank You!
I stepped out of my comfort zone during the 2014 Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend to offer my services as a runDisney Volunteer during the Family Fun Run 5K. And by comfort zone, I mean a 1:30 a.m. wake-up call to report for duty at 2:30 a.m. Albeit early, I was excited to be hanging up my running shoes for the day to serve as support.
As a runDisney Volunteer at Disneyland® Resort, your day begins by checking in, receiving your official race crew T-shirt, snack pack and station assignment. These assignments can range from pre-race water to post-race refreshments and everything in between, depending upon the race you’re volunteering for. In addition to offering us a Fitful nutrition box, there were a variety of warm beverages to enjoy while we waited.
I was immediately taken aback by the amount of young people and local community groups that had volunteered their time in an effort to either earn volunteer hours or support ACF, Anaheim Community Foundation, the designated non-profit charity for this year’s event. There were also a number of fellow runners who, like me, were participating in the Dumbo Double Dare and simply wanted to support their fellow runners. I was also impressed to see Mike Bone, Race Director of the Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend, on-hand to provide operational support and chat with staff and volunteers – a sure sign of a great Race Director!
I was happy to have received post-race refreshments as my assignment, as I knew I would get to congratulate runners as they came through the chute to exit into the family reunion area. I was also happy to have gotten to meet some fantastic people! I think the team I was assigned to work with was my favorite part. We immediately got to work moving boxes from pallets to tables, unpacking their contents and arranging them in an organized manner while maintaining a safe working environment.
It was inspiring to see the smiling faces of race participants as they came through the chute after having completed a 3.1 mile journey through the Happiest Place on Earth. Over 6,000 runners comprising of every group dynamic you could think of came out to show their #DisneySide during this event. And the costumes were amazing! I think Kronk had to be my favorite. I hope he found a new groove running Disney.
Once all runners had cleared the course, we began the process of repackaging unused nutrition packs, breaking down cardboard boxes to be recycled and then signing out for our shift. I have to say, I left this experience with an entirely new appreciation for our runDisney race volunteers! So don’t forget to thank them during your next runDisney event.
Are you interested in becoming a Sports Enthusiast Volunteer at Walt Disney World® Resort or a runDisney Volunteer at Disneyland® Resort? Select the highlighted link for more information and to get started!
Faith is the runDisney specialist on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, here to answer your questions and to help you plan your runcation!