Air Force Marathon depends on volunteers to deliver services

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class James Johnson

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Thousands of volunteers take their time to support the Air Force Marathon every year.

For some, the 2023 marathon was their first while others have been helping for many years, like Sabrina Richardson.

Richardson, a resident of Kentucky, first volunteered with the Air Force Marathon in 2011 and has returned every year since.

“I was asked to volunteer a while ago and just got asked if I would come back every year,” she said.

Richardson started out at the medical tent for a few years then moved to a role as a guard, making sure that runners stayed on course.

After being a part of the volunteer force for so long, Richardson has been assigned a leading role, as well as other responsibilities.

For the 2023 marathon, Richardson was stationed at the bib and runner refreshment tent.

“I’m a lead volunteer, so I make sure that other volunteers are where they need to be and have everything that they need and help with bib pickup, as well as refreshments at the end of the race,” she said.

 “Life is all about acts of service. That’s why I joined the military and why I’m here,” she said. “These people put in their time to run and they need support, and I have the time to do it.”

Richardson was a medic in the Air Force for 20 years. She experienced four deployments during her career and retired from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 2021.

She said she always liked helping people and she would prefer to assist with the Air Force Marathon than be at home.

“I’d rather come out here and give my time to help people than sit at home all day,” she said.

The Air Force Marathon depends on volunteers to be able to support the participants.

Jill Huffman, deputy Air Force Marathon director and volunteer coordinator, said event organizers value Richardson’s contributions each year.

“Sabrina Richardson exemplifies what volunteering is all about,” Huffman said. “She pours her heart into the details for packet pick up and the finisher’s tent. Sabrina reads the participants faces what they aren’t saying and moves into action to best help however she is needed in the moment.”

Richardson agreed that volunteers are crucial to the marathon’s success.

Call for volunteers

Many volunteer opportunities exist each year for the marathon. Any help is appreciated and makes a difference.

“They need us – without volunteers, the marathon can’t function,” Richardson said.

“Air Force Marathon week cannot function properly without the help of 1,500 volunteers,” Huffman said. “They are truly the backbone of our events and the frontline faces for our participants. Many of our volunteers return each year, looking forward to seeing familiar faces and welcoming new ones into the fold. That, in turn, carries through with how they help our participants.”

Richardson thinks everyone should make time to support the Air Force’s marquee endurance event.

“Give it a try,” she said. “Sign up if you have a couple of hours in your day to share with someone else that you don’t know. We have so many jobs that one can try here and it’s not all day. All we ask is a little customer service and some time and effort. Give it a try.”