New York Road Runners LogoThinking of running in the New York City Marathon, but don’t want to wait for the lottery to find out if you get to run? If you belong to the New York Road Runners, then you may be used to obtaining a guaranteed entry by competing in at least 9 of the 50 events put on by NYRR each year.

This year, if you want to qualify for the 2009 New York Marathon, then you will also have to volunteer for at least one of the 50 other events that NYRR puts on.

The volunteer requirement was initiated in 2008 to support NYRR’s community service mission and our goal of encouraging volunteerism among our members. In addition, adding to our corps of race volunteers will help NYRR meet the NYC Parks and Recreation Department requirement to ensure a safe and cooperative race environment at the more than 50 events NYRR stages each year.

I think that this is a great change. Volunteering at races is a lot of fun, and perhaps by exposing people to the joys of being involved in the other side of the race they will be able to recruit some new folks to regularly help out at events.

And if people don’t feel like volunteering and resent this new requirement? They still have options. They can always try to get into the race through the normal lottery system. They can also try to run the qualifying standard for guaranteed entry before they register, which at the moment stands between 2:55:00 and 4:13:00 depending upon your age and gender. There are also charity options for guaranteed entry.

I ran the marathon in 2006, and I really enjoyed almost everything about the race. The NYRR put on a good event.

(Further Reading: NYRR Member RequirementsGeneral Requirements & Application)