When some people choose career paths, they know that they will be going to the same type of place and doing the same type of job day in and day out.
However, this doesn’t have to be the case if you work in massage therapy as your services and skills can be used in a variety of different environments.
One option is to use your skills and talents to help those at one of the most well-known events around the world. You could volunteer to provide massages at the TCS New York City (NYC) Marathon.
A Growing Event Built on Volunteers
This particular marathon first began in 1970, which is now almost 50 years ago, and that year there were 127 entrants and 55 finishers according to the event website. Fast forward to 2017 and the number of finishers has grown dramatically, increasing to 50,773.
This statistic highlights how important this event has become, not only to the State of New York, but to people around the world as, from 1983 to 2008, the winners were from a number of different countries, some of which include Great Britain, Kenya and Brazil.
This marathon likely wouldn’t be as successful as it is if it weren’t for the thousands of people who selflessly give their time to make sure the race is fun and safe. In fact, in total, approximately 12,000 people volunteer each year to help ensure that the marathon starts and ends without a hitch.
Approximately 12 to 24 of these volunteers are massage therapists.
A pre and/or post-race massage is very important to a lot of runners to help prepare the body for the hours of running, to work through a cramp along the course, or to start the recovery process after the finish,” said Jim Heim, senior vice president of event development & production at NYRR and technical director of the TCS New York City Marathon.
Marathon Running and Massage Benefits
“Massage therapy is extremely beneficial when dealing with issues such as knee pain, foot pain, anterior leg compartment syndrome, glute activation, pelvic dysfunction and hip imbalances, ,” said Lindsay Bodkin, LMT, CPT, co-owner of Massage Works, LLC in South Glens Falls, New York.
“Many runners experience plantar fasciitis, which is many times caused by a tight gastroc or soleus,” said Bodkin, who herself has been a charity runner for the Massage Therapy Foundation (Boston Marathon, April 2018) as well as an event volunteer (Iron Man, Lake Placid, New York).
Tight IT bands, quads, and hamstrings can be issues as well, and sometimes it is the upper body that needs a little work.
“People don’t often think about the arm strength needed when running, but when I began running, my arms were the first body part to get fatigued,” said Bodkin, and “massage is great for that as well. In addition, there are many massage techniques that can help create space in the diaphragm, and as an asthmatic, those methods are extremely beneficial.”
“By massage therapists providing proper assessment and treatment, it can help the client increase mobility, enhance active range of motion, identify tight or weak muscles,” said Bodkin. “And then, the therapist can provide stretching or strengthening exercises.”
The NYC Marathon Volunteer Requirements
To apply as a NYC Marathon volunteer, you must be a licensed professional and submit your license for review, said Heim.
In fact, in order to volunteer any type of massage therapy service at any event in the State of New York, the therapist must be licensed in New York State per the rules and regulations via the New York State Department of Education, said Bodkin.
“Providing massage therapy in New York State without New York licensure is a class E felony,” she added.
Additionally, the types of volunteers the marathon is looking for includes those who are “personable and professional,” Heim said.
“Running a marathon is an incredible accomplishment that evokes a range of emotions, so it’s important that the volunteer is able to make the runner feel comfortable and safe,” he said.
Plus, since the marathon—which is scheduled to take place on November 4 in 2018—starts early (at 5:00 a.m.) and goes until late (after 10:00 p.m.), “our volunteers must be able to work a long day,” said Heim.
It is at the finish where you’ll find a majority of the massage therapists providing these types of services as “most are asked to set up in the post-finish medical tents located along the walk off area in Central Park,” according to Heim.
Beginning the Volunteer Process
If you’re ready to sign up, “the process to volunteer at the TCS New York City Marathon starts the same, regardless of race day role,” said Heim.
In other words, you need to go to the marathon’s website, create a profile, and register for the NYRR (New York Road Runners) events you’re interested in participating at.
Upon specifying that you are interested in acting as a medical volunteer, you’ll be prompted to upload a copy of your license for review. Then, once registered, all massage therapist volunteers are required to attend a special marathon orientation, along with all other medical volunteers, to receive a run-down of race day and all volunteer protocol.
Finally, to provide the most beneficial experience possible, Bodkin encourages massage therapists who want to volunteer at sporting events like this, or those who want to work with athletes in their practice in general, to take additional continuing education specific to the needs of athletes.
This helped her get—and stay injury free—while training for the Boston Marathon, going from being “a sporadic 5K runner to a marathoner” in a little over five months.
About the Author:
Christina DeBusk is a freelance writer dedicated to providing readers relevant, research-backed content related to health and wellness, personal development, safety, and small business ownership.