Key Volunteer roles and responsibilities
Key Volunteers play a critical role in the success of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and their enthusiasm, support and dedication helps make race weekend a memorable experience for thousands of participants and volunteers. Thank you for your interest in becoming a Key Volunteer!
Who are Key Volunteers?
- Key Volunteers are enthusiastic and dedicated individuals who want to gain more experience with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
- Key Volunteers help manage, lead and instruct groups of volunteers, often in conjunction with a team of fellow Key Volunteers and Event Staff.
- Key Volunteers commit additional time to the event for pre-race meetings and race weekend set-up.
- Key Volunteers assist with race operations, processes, organization and improvement (i.e. some Key Volunteers do not manage other groups of volunteers).
- Key Volunteers have previous volunteer experience with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K or another major racing event.
Where do Key Volunteers work?
- Grant Park
- Start line
- Finish line
- Information Team
- Harrison Volunteer Compound
- Green Team
- Gear check
- No preference/open to opportunities
- Aid station
- Course marshal
- Abbott Health & Fitness Expo
Grant Park – Start line
Hundreds of volunteers help organize the 45,000 participants race morning by regulating access to start corrals, controlling pedestrian crosswalks and keeping participants organized as they advance to the start. Key Volunteers will oversee start corral volunteers and operations, providing instructions and management throughout the morning.
Grant Park – Finish line
Finish line volunteers distribute medals, heatsheets, water, Gatorade, food and beer, as well as assist with the set-up and clean-up of their respective stations. Key Volunteers, in conjunction with operations staff, manage two shifts of volunteers in designated finish line areas to ensure continuous participant flow and efficient distribution of materials.
Grant Park – Information team
On race day, Information Team volunteers are stationed throughout Grant Park to help answer event-related questions and direct eager participants and spectators to key destinations. Key Volunteers, with the support of their Captain, oversee a designated zone and team of volunteers within the park.
Grant Park – Harrison Volunteer Compound
Nearly 3,000 volunteers visit the Harrison Volunteer Compound to check in, pick up their uniform, enjoy hospitality and check their gear prior to being escorted to their respective stations in Grant Park. Key Volunteers help manage compound operations and processes, ensuring that general volunteers depart HVC prepared and ready to tackle their tasks.
Grant Park – Green Team
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon takes event sustainability seriously. Important initiatives include collecting items that can be diverted from the landfill and items that can be donated to charity. Key Volunteers work with general volunteers in high traffic areas to collect items that can be recycled, composted or donated, by educating and directing participants on what goes where.
Grant Park – Gear check
Gear Check Key Volunteers help oversee the volunteers and operations of the three gear check tents. Responsibilities include keeping gear organized, and keeping volunteers on task and up to speed. Key Volunteers will also assist in the event of long queuing, a missing bag or missing gear incidents.
Grant Park – Open to opportunities
Key Volunteers who are flexible and open to roles anywhere need demands are highly sought after and always appreciated. Individuals without preference to an area could be place on any of the teams mentioned above. In addition, select areas of the event, such as the Post-Race Party, Charity Village or hospitality venues, have limited roles, but need trustworthy leads to help oversee them.
Course – Aid station
Aid Station Key Volunteers are most often assigned by their Captains, but sometimes they need help filling a few last roles. Apply to help manage the volunteers and operations of an aid station on the course route. Be it Gatorade distribution, volunteer check-in, supply inventory or another role, a team of 15-20 Key Volunteers supports each of the 20 aid stations on course.
Course – Course marshal
The course is divided into 11 different neighborhood course marshal zones, of which a pair of Key Volunteers oversees one zone and it’s volunteers. Key Volunteers facilitate check in, distribute uniforms and assignments, and check in with the Captain and their zone’s volunteers throughout the event. Key Volunteers must have experience in this role and live in the neighborhood to be considered.
Health & Fitness Expo
The Abbott Health & Fitness Expo officially kicks off race weekend and is often the very first stop for many participants, bringing months of planning and preparation to life. The Expo will be held Friday, October 9 and Saturday, October 10. Key Volunteers must be available to volunteer for the entirety of both days at McCormick Place.
If you are interested in working with the Chicago Marathon as a Key Volunteer in one of these areas please visit our Key Volunteer application to learn more and to apply.
Once your application has been received, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon volunteer team will reach out to you to learn more about your relevant experience, and to discuss potential roles.
Please note that the number of applicants often exceeds the number of Key Volunteer positions available. Key Volunteers will be assigned based on event needs, specific qualifications, relevant experience and race weekend availability. Applicants who are not assigned to a Key Volunteer role will be notified and encouraged to join us as a general volunteer.