CAPE ELIZABETH — The TD Beach to Beacon 10K is looking for volunteers for this year’s 20th annual road race on Aug. 5.
The Beach to Beacon was founded in 1998 by two-time Boston Marathon winner and Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson, to benefit children’s charities in Maine.
The event attracts elite and recreational runners, on a course from Route 77 near Crescent Beach State Park to Fort Williams Park and Portland Head Light.
Last year, 6,336 runners from 15 countries, 43 states and more than 265 Maine cities and towns participated. With more than 6,500 participants expected this year, about 800 volunteers are needed to ensure the event runs smoothly.
Volunteers are relied upon for everything from handing out water along the 6.2-mile course, to staffing tents for VIPs.
“Our volunteers truly form the backbone of the TD Beach to Beacon, each and every year,” volunteer coordinator Maya Cohen in a June 20 press release.
This year, volunteers are most needed for the medical tent, the Kid’s Fun Run on the evening of Aug. 4, the shuttle bus program, parking, recycling, composting and the bike corral.
A new volunteer opportunity this year is distribution of 20th anniversary medals to all finishers.
“With this year being the special 20th running of the race, it is an extra special year for volunteers, as we have a few new volunteer areas and a heightened level of excitement,” Cohen said.
The TD Beach to Beacon is also looking for help to ensure the race’s sustainability efforts.
Last year, following the annual race, it was the first major U.S. road race to earn Evergreen Certification for its recycling and composting programs. The road race also works to reduce carbon emissions by encouraging participants and fans to ride their bikes to the event.
The shuttle bus program also reduces the event’s carbon footprint by transporting groups of runners to and from satellite lots in Scarborough, South Portland and Cape Elizabeth. Volunteers are also needed for shuttle services to get runners to and from parking areas near the start line.
The medical tent is looking for licensed and non-licensed medical professionals – doctors, nurses, EMTs, medical assistants and students in training – to volunteer to assist runners with race-related injuries, heat issues, and dehydration.
Residents can even volunteer to be host families for runners traveling from out of town for the event. Host families provide lodging, meals, transportation, and a sense of comfort and support to elite runners and special guests from Thursday evening to Sunday morning of race weekend.
Each year, TD Beach to Beacon also honors a longtime volunteer. In 2016, the Volunteer of the Year was Lisa Simonsen of Buxton, who volunteered in the medical tent.
“This race just wouldn’t be what it is without (our volunteers’) dedication and efforts,” Cohen said. “… We are hoping to attract new volunteers and make sure our past volunteers get signed up so they don’t miss out.”
For a full list of volunteer opportunities and how to get involved, visit the TD Beach to Beacon website.
A registered nurse volunteering at last year’s TD Beach to Beacon 10K helps out at the medical tent.