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Running Events: Volunteering at the London Marathon

By Tania TilbrookApril 28th, 2015

Being a part of an event where 37,675 people from around the world run a marathon through the streets of London is an amazing thing. The excitement and emotion of it is overwhelming. Of course, it takes a huge number more people to organise the infrastructure and make sure the event goes smoothly for those competing and fundraising. That is where our student volunteers come in.
We spoke to two of our current students who volunteered at the Marathon on Sunday: Mariana Villena and Beatriz Ucero.  Both said how much they loved the atmosphere of excitement and being a part of such a huge, world famous event. They both said that events like this are their inspiration for developing a career as an event manager.

What can you expect from volunteering?

Event managers are always busy long before the event starts and well after it finishes. Both our volunteers were busy all day from about 9am – 5pm, working for different charities to support runners who had pledged to raise funds.
First up is helping to set up the charity station so everything is ready for when the runners arrive and to make sure the charity has a bold presence at this high profile event. Mariana was working with Muscular Dystrophy UK and this was her first experience of volunteering at a large scale event. She focused on being hands on with blowing up balloons and setting up banners while watching what was going on around her. She told us she had no idea what to expect from volunteering and found it was a great opportunity to learn how big events and event teams are co-ordinated successfully.
Beatriz explained that volunteers also work on sign posting the area from the finish line to the charity station and then to whichever nearby pub the charity has chosen for its post race celebration.  She was working with Queen Elizabeth Foundation and her favourite bit was getting to talk to so many different people including other charity workers who are all at different stages in their careers. She even bumped into a number of ex Ashdown students who have gone on to secure jobs in charity organisations.
“It was really good to network with so many people, especially working with the other charities. I made some really good contacts during the day and everyone was really friendly.”

Why be an event manager and why volunteer?

Mariana’s perspective on the day: “The runners were really excited and the atmosphere was brilliant. There was so much energy, and everyone was smiling. It was a really nice experience to give the runners more energy in any way I could. I learned so much by getting involved and watching other people who have more experience in events management.”
For other students or for anyone considering a career in event management, Beatriz advises you start volunteering at live events as soon as possible. She is keen to tell other students how important it is to make good contacts in the events industry and that volunteering is a fantastic way to get involved in big events and raise your profile.
We talk a lot here at Event Academy about how critical volunteering is to building your career(4) in event management, but it’s always good to hear our students say it of their own accord. Registering with Event Academy gives you the opportunity to get involved in some of the best events London has to offer and share the experience with event professionals from all over the City.
If you love being part of the buzz of so many people coming together for a live event and want to start your dream career, what are you waiting for?
If you need any more encouragement, read what one of the organisers for fundraising at the London Marathon said about the volunteers from Event Academy below.
“Just wanted to let you know they were all outstanding yesterday, very professional and a pleasure to work with. Hope it gave them a little glimpse into life in a charity and the London Marathon.”
– Piers Gilbert, ex student and charity fundraiser for Global Environment Facility

*Credit: Photograph taken by current student, Mariana Villela, with thanks for her permission to use it with this post and on our website.


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