Have you ever wanted to be a Spartan Race Volunteer? Get unprecedented access to the inner workings of what it takes to make a Spartan Race happen? Earn a free race and possibly even some free swag? Do you have questions of what it takes to be a Spartan Race Volunteer? Read on and sign up. Volunteer with Spartan Race.
Volunteering with Spartan Race is an amazing way to work with the talented staff that helps make your hobby possible and to see all the thought and execution that goes into making an event possible. Sure, you do get benefits in the form of free lunch, free race(s) and the possibility of free merchandise, but that isn’t why we do it. We volunteer because we love what Spartan Race has to offer, we love how it has changed us, both emotionally and physically, we love the bonds it has formed and the joy we feel when we cross the finish line under our own power and can safely say with pride “I did that!”
Building a course will give you a similar feeling of pride, while running you can approach an obstacle and see potentially hundreds of Spartans hurl themselves over the 8ft wall you put up, or nail a spear throw while you man an obstacle on race day, smile for years to come when they look at the medal you placed around their neck, or wear the shirt you sold them at the merch tent. There is no end to the impact you will have on a Spartan’s life, and what is the cost to you? With just a few hours of your time, you can change someone’s life.
Volunteering is different for each company you work with, I intend to focus on Spartan Race in particular, but that doesn’t mean you wont have equally great experiences with other groups.
How to sign up?:
Spartan Race has a custom page on their website dedicated to the volunteers. Please go to Be a Volunteer and select your event from the drop down list. The process varies at this stage based on how far out you are from an event.
- Far Out – If your event is in the distant future you will be able to pre-register. What this does is put your name on a list of people interested and when the Volunteer Coordinator (VC) opens up the event you will get an email asking you to sign up for a shift. At this time the process will reflect the “Short Term” instructions.
- Short Term – If you are just signing up, or received the email telling you to choose a shift you will be presented with a list of dates, times and positions that are available for your event. Upon filling out the form and signing up for a shift you will receive a confirmation email and you are successfully registered, remember your commitment and follow any instructions your VC sends you via email.
What are the requirements/Who is eligible?:
- Be at least 14 years old. Under 14 is permitted, but they must be accompanied by an adult and will not be allowed to be a part of the build or break down crew. Under 14 is only allowed on event day.
- Sign a volunteer waiver which will be emailed to you and is also on the Spartan Race website.
What does volunteering entail?:
Volunteering is a simple process. You will receive instructions via email on where to be and when as well as what to bring. For build and break down, all tools are provided. You will need to bring a signed volunteer waiver with you and be ready to have a great day helping on site with some amazing staff members. Based on your role and day you are on site you will be assigned a staff member who is trained in either the construction of an obstacle, setting up Bag Check areas, etc as well as being paired with multiple other volunteers who will assist on a task. On race days these staff members are referred to as “Zone Leaders”, they will cover multiple obstacles, bring you to and from your station, are your point of contact to the company should you need anything, and they will provide you with the radio training you will need as well in case of a medical emergency.
It is advisable to wear comfortable footwear and clothes appropriate for the task you have signed up for and the pending weather, hot days means shorts, cold days mean coats. Water station staff may get splashed inadvertently and for cold weather events you would want to have planned ahead for this.
Build crew will need to be mindful of whether they feel jeans or shorts are more appropriate. All build and break down teams will be given Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) this includes a hard hat and safety glasses. They are to be worn at all times or you will be asked to leave the site.
What “Jobs” are available and what does each do?:
- Build Crew – This position begins upwards of 10 days in advance of an event, you can volunteer for one day at a time. You will be paired with a staff member and additional volunteers, you will be tasked with bringing materials to build sites, building obstacles, or setting up remote aid stations.
- Assistant VC – In this position you will work to assist the VC with checking in volunteers, ensuring they have their volunteer shirts, have been made aware of snacks and available lunches, etc.
- Gladiator – You will BE the last obstacle that a participant faces. This position is a coveted one, and comes with its own set of rules, if you violate any of them you are removed from your duties. This is a hard position as you will face hundreds of runners over the span of your shift.
- Obstacles – In this role you will be out on course, it will be your job to ensure that runners know the rules of an obstacle, follow them, and are subsequently completing burpees if they have not completed the obstacle. You will also be responsible for calling in any injuries to the medical staff until they are on site and assisting. This selection also includes aid stations, where you will be filling cups for racers.
- Festival – This position covers a lot of various areas, this could mean ensuring that bottled soap is available in the shower areas, that trash is removed from receptacles. You may also be tasked with handing out medals and shirts to finishers, or checking for heat jumpers at the starting gate.
- Registration – Here you will check IDs of runners, provide their packets, write heat times on supplied bracelets, register “day of” runners or mark competitors with their numbers for photo identification and tagging.
- Packet Stuffing – This job is preformed before the event, typically the night before, and is as it sounds, you will stuff bibs, timing chips, etc into supplied envelopes and box for use on event day.
- Sponsorship Set Up – This role will assist various event sponsors assemble and stock their displays, this could be Zico Coconut Water, Weetabix, Air National Guard, Snap Energy, Etc.
- Merchandise Set Up – This task helps stock merchandise and stage over stock for event day sales
- Merchandise Sales – On event days you will help process transactions and ensure that displays and inventory is managed to provide the highest quality merchandise to customers and that we are adequately stocked to provide those items to customers.
- Spectators – This role will help provide an amazing experience for the guests of Spartan Race and its competitors. Many friends and family come to see our competitors and it is up to you to help them have the best experience possible, whether that is being knowledgeable about what areas of the festival have food, bathrooms, etc, or helping spectators understand what obstacles are where and how to get to them so they can get the best view possible.
- Bag Check – This role is to properly tag and place runners’ personal items so that they can confidently embark on the course knowing that when they return their items have been taken care of.
- Break Down Crew – This role is similar to build crew, however you will be tasked with disassembling obstacles, loading shipping containers and helping stage items for shipping to future venues. This role may include basic inventory tasks to ensure that all Spartan Race equipment has been accounted for (such as tools, or spare water cups).
What perks do I get (if any)?:
- Free Shirt – Each volunteer is given one free shirt for each shift worked. Each shirt color is specific to a role that the volunteer plays at an event. Please see below for a description of colors and what each means.
- Black – Build Crew – This shirt says “I helped build a Spartan Race” and is only given to those who help build course, and these positions are only in advance of and after an event, not on race days.
- Red – Volunteer – This is the standard shirt that volunteers get, except for build and course marshalls, it reads “volunteer” on the back. These are given and worn on race days
- Yellow – Course Marshall – This is a critical position on race day and requires training to be done in advance of the event (typically on the day before). The course marshall is responsible for ensuring that obstacles are completed by competitors as intended and enforcing accuracy. The marshalls are most important during the elite heats, and are replaced by standard volunteers for regular runners.
- Free Race – For volunteering for a complete shift, you (or spouse/child who volunteered in addition to you) are awarded with a free race. During the sign-up process you were able to choose if you wanted to race the day of the event, or at a future date. If you selected run at this event, you will have a bib and packet prepared for you. You will pay the $14 insurance on site, sign a waiver and be able to run in one of two designated volunteer heats. If you are scheduled for a morning shift, you run in the afternoon and vice versa, or you may also choose to run on the opposite day of your shift during a two day event. You may transfer your race to another runner (as outlined below) or you can save your free race entry for up to one year, at which time you can register for any posted event at a 100% discount (you still pay for fees and add-ons) with the exception of the Ultra Beast. Your free race registration will also override sold out heats, what this means is that if you want to sign up for a sold out heat of an event, you can, because you gave your time to Spartan Race, they give back and ensure you can run in your preferred heat. The only exception to the heat override is the “Confirmed Start Time” and “Elite” heats, you will have to pay extra for admission if space exists but if the “Confirmed” or “Elite” heat is sold out you will not be able to be added to it.
- Volunteer Hoodie – This hoodie is only given if you work a full day, either on race day or build/break down. The design of the hoodie may change throughout the season as well.
- Free Lunch and Snacks
How do I redeem my volunteer benefits?:
- Day of event – When signing up for a shift you are asked if you would like to run on race day. If you check this box, a bib and packet will be created for you and you will run in one of two designated “volunteer heats” based on your selected shift. You will need to pay your $14 insurance fee at this time.
- After the event – You will email your event VC after the event and indicate the exact race and wave range you would like to run in. In approximately 1-2 weeks you will receive a custom VIP email from Spartan Race that asks you to register for the event. The registration process is then identical to standard registration. You may choose itabs, confirmed start times, elite waves etc at an additional cost. Upon check out, the initial race entry fee will be discounted 100% leaving you with the $14 insurance fee, $1.33 transaction fee, and any additional add-ons selected.
Can I transfer my free race?:
Yes, your race entry can be transferred if you desire (or that of a spouse/child who volunteers with/for you). An email is all that is needed to initiate the process and there is no transfer fee. You will email your VC after the event and indicate the name and email of the runner, exact race and wave range they’d like to run in. In approximately 1-2 weeks they will receive a custom VIP email from Spartan Race that asks them to register for the event. The registration process is then identical to standard registration. They can choose itabs, confirmed start times, elite waves etc at an additional cost. Upon check out, the initial race entry fee will be discounted 100% leaving the $14 insurance fee, $1.33 transaction fee, and any additional add-ons selected.
What else should I know?:
- Please be patient with Volunteer Coordinators. They are a limited resource at Spartan Race and are often scheduling for their next two to three races while simultaneously wrapping up with prior volunteers for their contribution.
- The race entry process can be time consuming when used for future races. The more warning you can give a VC the better. Spartan Race sends out free race entries once a week, if you miss their e-mailing day, you will be delayed a week. Please plan on at least 3 weeks before an event. If a VC is at an event or addressing hundreds of emails from a prior event your email may be delayed.
- There is a group on Facebook for Spartan Race Volunteers (https://www.facebook.com/groups/SpartanVolunteers/), it is a closed group, but by asking for admission you will quickly join the group of like minded volunteers.
- If you sign up to volunteer and cannot make it to your selected time, contact your VC ASAP so they can reopen that slot for another volunteer.
- If you race on a free volunteer entry and do not complete your shift you will be black listed. The next time you volunteer your name will be flagged and you will not be allowed to do so.
- Regardless of if you volunteer for a sprint, super, beast, or stadium sprint, you can race free at any of those distances. The exception is the Ultra Beast which you can apply your credit towards and pay a difference.