How do you become a London Marathon volunteer? And what are the different roles involved?

how do you become a volunteer at the London marathon?

James Quinlan is the Volunteers Manager for London Marathon Events. He’s responsible for managing and recruiting thousands of volunteers for all the mass participation events organised by the company, including the Virgin Money London Marathon. We spoke to James to find out more about becoming a volunteer at the London Marathon, and the work they do on the day:  

What is the process to becoming a London Marathon volunteer?

“The Virgin Money London Marathon receives incredible volunteer support from a diverse range of groups from across London and the south of England who all come together to deliver the world’s greatest marathon on race day.

Related: Everything you need to know about running the London Marathon 2019 

Some groups have been with us since the first London Marathon back in 1981 – although there have been lots of new faces in those groups over 38 years! The groups include running clubs, sports clubs, schools, universities, community organisations, scout groups, police cadets, the London Fire Brigade, the parkrun community and volunteering partners. We allocate a specific role to each group and the group leaders then recruit the volunteers for that year from their own membership.”

How many volunteers are needed at the London Marathon?

“On Race Day, there is a total of approximately 6,000 volunteers in the different roles at the start, at all the different locations on the course and at the finish.”

how to become a London Marathon volunteer

Related: Didn’t get in on the ballot? How to run the London Marathon 2019 for charity 

What are the chances of volunteering at the London Marathon 2019?

“With the sheer size and scale of the Virgin Money London Marathon, we operate a group volunteering system and the process is not open to individual applications. The best way to become a volunteer at the London Marathon is to become actively involved in one of the groups that has a volunteering role in the event and then apply to the group to be a volunteer for the group on race day.”

What are the different roles assigned to volunteers at the London Marathon?

“There’s a large and diverse range of roles across the event. For example, at the start in Blackheath we have teams of volunteers directing and welcoming participants, loading kit bags on the baggage lorries and managing the release of the different start waves for the mass race.

how to become a London Marathon volunteer

The biggest number of volunteers are out on the course and those groups provide the marshals, the drinks station volunteers and the signage teams.

Then at the finish we have volunteers handing out medals – that’s one of the most popular roles - and goody bags and also providing that all-important smile and words of congratulation to every runner who has completed the 26.2 mile challenge. There are also volunteers positioned throughout London at busy locations and transport hubs on the course who provide spectators and members of the public with event information so that they can make the most of the day. Our volunteers do an amazing job and play a huge part in creating an unforgettable experience for every runner. They truly embody the Spirit of London.”

how to become a London Marathon volunteer

What other London Marathon events do you need volunteers for, how can people get involved/find out about vacancies?

“London Marathon Events deliver some of the world’s biggest and best sporting events throughout the year and we are always looking for volunteers who can join the team. If you are member of a group looking to get involved with volunteering at the Virgin Money London Marathon for the first time, then the best way to start is to volunteer at another of our events. You’ll then be well-placed when new group volunteering roles become available at the Virgin Money London Marathon.

Our other events include The Vitality Big Half , Prudential RideLondon and Swim Serpentine. If you would like to register your interest in volunteering with London Marathon Events, please email volunteers@londonmarathonevents.co.uk. Please note, we are not able to process applications from individuals to volunteer at the Virgin Money London Marathon.”