It feels good to do good: why you should volunteer at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend

Volunteers are such a key part of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. Their hard work and dedication is what makes the event happen. Race weekend volunteers are there in the early days and hours before anyone has lined up at the starting line on Saturday, until long after the last person has crossed the finish line on Sunday. They are handing out race kits, ensuring runners and walkers stay hydrated, keeping participants on course and congratulating finishers with medals and kudos.

There are many benefits to volunteering, you can make friends with your fellow volunteers, learn new skills, gain confidence and even feel happier and healthier. Studies have found that acts of kindness are linked to increased feelings of wellbeing. Helping others can also improve your support networks and encourage you to be more active. This, in turn, can improve your self-esteem.

There is some evidence to suggest that when we help others, it can promote changes in the brain that are linked with happiness. This is known as the “helper’s high,” a term used to describe the feeling you can get after volunteering. There is a  prolonged calmness, a reduction in stress, and a greater sense of self-worth after doing something kind for someone else. Biochemical analysis has revealed that the “helper’s high” is accompanied by positive changes in the body’s immune function and a lower level of stress hormones.

Essentially, when we help others, we feel good.

We asked Run Ottawa members to share their memories of volunteering at past Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekends:

I did volunteer one year when I was injured and wasn’t racing…watching the smiles and thank you’s from people running the course puts things in perspective. Volunteers are an integral part of any race. As a runner, I am thankful for them and as a volunteer, it is great to be a part of the event! – Clark Carvish

I have volunteered at race weekend many times, even when I have raced that same weekend. – Gary Ruch

Volunteering is such a great way to see family and friends achieve their goals. I began volunteering with the YMCA and after a few years moved to the road crew, the final kick of the races, what a spot to be! Now you can find me in the recovery area—that’s nutrition, not first aid. I love seeing all the participants and helping them get their mojo back! – Ingrid Koenig

I have volunteered at race weekend many times, most years at race kit pick-up and one year at the finish handing out medals. I love handing out race kits and seeing the excitement and nervous glow in the eyes of the participants. Finish line medal volunteer is quite a happy and emotional adventure. – Debra Kennette

I’ve volunteered several times for the Run Ottawa booth. It gave me an opportunity to promote Run Ottawa and all the benefits it offers to members and the community. Furthermore, I got to meet and chat with other runners, even runners from different countries. – Guy Lavergne

Plans for the 2024 edition of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend are ramping up and you’re invited to play an integral part! Volunteer to be a part of Canada’s biggest running festival!