Ever wonder about being a medical volunteer with runDisney? You may have a lot of questions about responsibility or even how to sign up. I put together this blog post to hopefully answer those questions and share my experience with y’all!
So you want to be a medical runDisney volunteer but aren’t sure if you qualify. In order to volunteer you must obviously have medical knowledge. You can still be a student with approval and volunteer for certain locations along the course. An EMT is normally the qualifications for being on bike patrol. Nurses and other intermediate level qualifications allow you to be at the different med stations throughout the course as well as at the finish line. If you are an MD, DO, or DC you are welcomed to volunteer and are normally placed in the critical care tent at the finish line for more sever cases that need medical attention. Placement is up to the event medical director, although requests can be made for certain locations. I worked with Dyan who was great! She can be reached by emailing FH.RunDisneyMedicalVolunteer@FLhosp.org or calling (407) 303-4053.
2. Signing Up
So you qualify to volunteer, but how do you actually sign up? Like everything runDisney, volunteer applications are taken months before the actual race. The medical staff is lead through Florida Hospital Sports Medicine Department. I admit the online system they have is not the best, and they actually have 2 different ones. Last year they started creating the new site that is easy to use once registered, but can be a little confusing for the initial sign up phase. I emailed Dyan (FH.RunDisneyMedicalVolunteer@FLhosp.org) and she helped me with the initial confusion. Once signed into the new site though you can access all the sign ups for every runDisney race along with manage what you volunteered for. For example I can login and see past events I volunteered for along with upcoming and other open events. So once signed up it makes future volunteer opportunities very easy!
3. Day of Event
The day of the race you need to be there early and are required to stay late, or until everyone finishes. Duties start an hour before the race. So for the 5K that is 5am and for the 10K and half marathon that is 4:30am. They have you arrive early so that you can get your jacket/shirt, meet with your team leader, know your responsibilities and be placed where needed. Checkin is at the major medical tent normally placed by the finish line. Be sure to bring your badge with you. Prior to the event in the mail you will receive your badge and volunteer assignments with instructions. You will need to provide your own lanyard for the badge.(*update – they have lanyards there that are different colors depending on qualifications.) The badge and jacket identify you as a medical volunteer.
So lets face it waking up super early without the joy of running and receiving a medal can be tough, but Disney has other perks for its volunteers! Personally I volunteer to help out my fellow runners and seeing the joy on peoples faces as they cross the finish line. Watching someone cross and realize they have just accomplished a goal they had is an AMAZING thing to see! Although that is enough for me, the added bonuses are nice too. The day of the event you get a medical team jacket or shirt with the event logo on it and medical team on the back. It is super light weight and has reflective strips on it. I use it as a rain jacket while I’m running since it even has a roll up hood. They also give you a snack pack like the runners receive at the end. The best perk is you also receive a 1 day ticket to Disney! The ticket is MAILED to you 30-60 days AFTER you volunteer. So don’t think it is something you can use that weekend. It is nice for future use to get into the park or give to a friend. If you think about it a one day ticket is over $100 so really Disney pays you to volunteer.
5. My Personal Experience
I have volunteered for 2 events, the Princess 10K and Star Wars 5K. I do have to say that it was a great experience both times! Everyone I encountered was super friendly and helpful as I wasn’t 100% sure where to go for check in.(Main medical tent at the finish line) Checkin was smooth and easy, they scanned my badge, gave me a jacket, and then told me where to meet my group. (I was a little late) I was stationed as Chute Rover at the finish line for the Princess 10K. The team leaders where very experienced, informative and friendly. The only thing is if you are at the finish line obviously you think of people passing out or pushing to hard, I just wasn’t thinking about the vomit factor. Luckily they supplied the gloves and bags to give to people if they look like that might happen. During the whole race there were maybe 5 people that I helped, mostly vomit situations because they didn’t hydrate properly and pushed to hard. Once everyone crossed the finish line we cleaned up the chute area, bringing back the wheelchairs and empty bags. Then they scanned your badge to check out and you were free to go. Quick and simple.
For the Star Wars 5K I was in the main medical tent at the finish line. I checked in and was given a t-shirt (It was so hot they switched to shirts from jackets.) The whole race we only had 2 people that actually needed attention in the tent. 1 was a child and 1 was an adult. I was 1 of probably 15 staff in the tent so needless to say my team didn’t “see any action.” I spent most of my time watching the runners finish and making sure no one that came to the self service area needed anything more. The other volunteers were very nice and friendly. The 5K is the shortest event obviously so we were all done and good to go by 8:30am I believe. When the med bikes come to the finish line you can pack up and go. Just make sure you have your badge scanned out so you get credit for being there. Then I took the bus back to the resort and enjoyed the rest of my day!
If you have any further questions about my experience please let me know!
Cheers to many more SAFE magical miles!
<3 Dr. Carrie