Wed 7 Aug 2019

Team Impact: Through the eyes of our volunteers


As Team Impact grows, we are always looking for ace talent to join us and help deliver our Impact experiences. If you are thinking about joining us the first big interview is working with us as a volunteer. Here Bethany Boll shares her experiences as well as some tips from volunteers past and present…

You don’t need to be an elite runner to be involved!

While experience and interest in running is pretty important, you certainly don’t need to have a Boston Qualifying Time (for you non-runners out there, very fast!) to be a valuable member of the team. This applies to both the volunteers and the runners themselves. As a lifelong runner and member of the 10-minute-mile club, I never felt out of my depth running-wise. The Impact week is about so much more than just athletic achievement (though that is definitely part of it!): service, community, sustainable development, and leaving the world a better place... As the IMS team always says, “the run at the end of the week is a victory lap to celebrate everything we have achieved together.” 

What sort of experience DO I need to volunteer with IMS? 

You should be physically capable (there’s a lot of running around - both literally and figuratively!), resilient in the face of challenges, sensitive to different cultural norms, and have a keen interest in the mission of IMS to tackle the UN Global Goals through the power of running.

Generally, the right attitude is so much more important than any specific experience. IMS volunteers hail from all walks of life, covering a wide spectrum of ages, nationalities and backgrounds. Whether your interests lie in service projects, community organisation, fundraising, managing logistics (accommodation, transportation), race planning or you’re more of a “jack-of-all-trades” sort, there are plenty of jobs to ensure you’ll get exposed to all aspects. Past volunteers have found that energy, adaptability, independence and a passion for what IMS is trying to do all make for key ingredients in a successful IMS volunteer. 

“I wanted to volunteer for a cause I was passionate about and was looking for a change from the corporate world and this was the perfect opportunity.” - Jamie Svensen, Kenya Muskathlon 2018

You’ll learn new things you could never have anticipated

...partially because the complexity that is organising a week-long Impact event cannot be fully planned for, partially because of utter necessity! Being flexible to whatever may be thrown at you is critical, exciting and incredibly rewarding. Language barrier? No problem. Inclement weather? Back-up plan engaged. No power in the village for a whole day? Get creative ;)  Every day is genuinely a new adventure.  

3 words that describe your experience volunteering with IMS: “Adventurous, exciting and memorable!” 

- Jamie Svensen, Kenya Muskathlon, 2018. Photo taken during a route recce, with Mark Maughan, Abi Jones and a bemused villager showing the way.

“I think the ideal person for this role is quite hands-on, stress-proof and flexible. With these events, there always are things that don't go as planned, and as a team, you need to be able to work with that and find solutions.” - Anne Beuken, Guatemala, 2019

 You won’t sleep much… 

..but you will be surprised with how much the adrenalin keeps you going. Mornings usually begin with a 6am training run, followed by a full-day of activities, and the volunteers are the last ones to retire to bed when it all wraps up. Take rests when you can! Race morning, you’ll be lucky if you only have to be awake by 3am, because there’s plenty to do before the sun rises. 

Staff briefing, aid station allocation and drop-off, plus final checks of the course are all hurriedly completed well before the marathon flags-off. Despite the long hours, I found the collective energy from the group contagious, and sure to keep you going throughout!

 “The enthusiasm of international and local runners was incredible! Despite the obvious fatigue, everybody was incredibly thankful to all volunteers involved.” - Mirko Buzzelli, Guatemala, 2019

 Learn to live outside your comfort zone

An Impact week will challenge you on many levels. IMS invites you to travel to remote, underdeveloped parts of the world where the usual comforts of home can be quite unusual. You’re also challenged to live and work with a globally diverse community of internationals, as well as the community of locals, all of whom hail from vastly different backgrounds and experiences which will inspire and move you, then challenge your assumptions and worldview. 

““The moment when we were testing if the route was well indicated enough, the night before the marathon. Night was falling and besides a few farmers, there was only us two on the volcano. We were slightly worried that we wouldn't get back before it was completely dark...and then we saw lava running out of the volcano at just 300 meters away from us - very surreal! From there, our worries disappeared and we skied down the black sand, ran down some rocky paths, got a lift in a police car and finally found our team at the bottom of the hill.” - Anne Beuken, Guatemala, 2019.

No wonder they call Malawi the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’, as I was always greeted by members of the village with huge smiles and waves. I couldn’t help but keep a genuine smile on my face the entire four weeks I was there.  

I learned an incredible amount from the local charity, about the importance of permaculture and its potential to create significant and lasting change in Malawi. It was incredibly inspiring to work alongside the participants and local community in working together towards this goal. – Bethany Boll, Malawi, 2019

 It’s not a “one and done” kind of thing… the best possible way! For runners and volunteers alike, the experience is one that both challenges and inspires and makes you want to come back for more. It’s no surprise that IMS sees a strong return rate of both participants and volunteers - one Impact week is hardly enough! In addition to picking a new challenge among the annual Impact events in Guatemala, Malawi, Kenya and Nepal (...and more to be announced soon…) you can look forward to many more opportunities to meet up with your IMS friends around the world, participate in the annual NOHTARAM and other London-area running events, or engage virtually with the global community.

 Follow @impactmarathon on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with the community and see what events are coming up, and hope to see you out there! #powerofrunning #impactmarathon #malawiimpact #kenyaimpact #nepalimpact #guatemalaimpact

Sunrise at the trailhead for the Malawi course through the breathtaking African countryside.

Photo by Bethany Boll

Related posts


Tue 16 Apr 2024 Liza Kershaw

fundraising: london marathon to impact marathon


Tue 16 Apr 2024 Liza Kershaw

the power within


Mon 15 Apr 2024 Nick Kershaw

beyond the finish line: sustaining impact between marathon events


Tue 9 Apr 2024 Liza Kershaw

run alive: hear from an impact runner


Tue 26 Mar 2024 Liza Kershaw

inspired soles: Nick Kershaw | impact marathon founder


Tue 26 Mar 2024 Liza Kershaw

business of endurance: the transformative impact of community-driven marathon events


Tue 26 Mar 2024 Liza Kershaw

the running public: interview with founder, Nick Kershaw


Mon 18 Mar 2024 Nick Kershaw

impact stories: guatemala beyond the headlines


Mon 18 Mar 2024 Nick Kershaw

Introducing Global Impact Challenges: The Next Step in the Journey of Impact Marathon


Mon 26 Feb 2024 Liza Kershaw

impact stories: the power of unity


Thu 22 Feb 2024 Liza Kershaw

impact stories - desert to oasis: the greening the desert miracle


Tue 20 Feb 2024 Liza Kershaw

2025 Guatemala Impact Marathon: A Thoughtful Stride into the Future


Fri 16 Feb 2024 Liza Kershaw

impact stories: how to be powerful


Thu 1 Feb 2024 Nick Kershaw

Empowering Strides: Unveiling the World’s Most Powerful Races in 2024


Wed 27 Dec 2023 Nick Kershaw

Echoes of Impact: A Reflective Journey Through 2023's Races and Beyond


Thu 14 Dec 2023 Nick Kershaw

Petra Reimagined: A Testament to Resilience and Solidarity with Impact Marathon


Thu 7 Dec 2023 Nick Kershaw

Turn a desert green? That's Impossible!


Tue 24 Oct 2023 Liza Kershaw

PODCAST: The Crevasse


Mon 23 Oct 2023 Liza Kershaw

PODCAST: From Turning Points to Learning Points


Sat 21 Oct 2023 Liza Kershaw

PODCAST: How Just ONE Meeting Changes Everything


Fri 20 Oct 2023 Liza Kershaw

PODCAST: Starting from Zero in Kathmandu


Thu 19 Oct 2023 Liza Kershaw

PODCAST: The Unfolding Origin of Impact Marathons


Mon 16 Oct 2023 Nick Kershaw

A Bucket-List Marathon: Why Jordan Should Be Your Next Running Destination


Thu 12 Oct 2023 Nick Kershaw

5 Reasons the Nepal Impact Marathon Is More Than Just a Race


Tue 26 Sep 2023 Nick Kershaw

Regenerative Travel and the Nepal Impact Marathon: Running for a Better World


Mon 18 Sep 2023 Nick Kershaw

Why Guatemala Is the Perfect Adventure Destination for U.S. Trail Runners


Thu 7 Sep 2023 Nick Kershaw

Why Team Up For the Guatemala Impact Marathon?


Tue 5 Sep 2023 Nick Kershaw

Running with Purpose: The Synergistic Impact of SERES, Youth Leadership, and the Guatemala Impact Marathon


Thu 31 Aug 2023 Nick Kershaw

Adapting to Tropical Conditions: An Evidence-Based Approach to Training for International Marathons


Tue 29 Aug 2023 Nick Kershaw

A Beginner's Guide to International Marathons: Why Start with Guatemala


Thu 10 Aug 2023 Nick Kershaw

Running with purpose: the Jordan Impact Marathon partners with the Invictus Games Foundation


Fri 14 Jul 2023 Nick Kershaw

Lessons from Love Trails: Celebrating Obsession with Experience Creation in the World of Running Events


Fri 23 Jun 2023 Nick Kershaw

Exploring the Enchanting History of Antigua: Our Home for the 7th Guatemala Impact Marathon


Tue 20 Jun 2023 Nick Kershaw

Run the Extra Mile: Impact Marathons and the Journey to Social Change


Mon 19 Jun 2023 Nick Kershaw

Women on the start line: Integrating SheRaces into our Impact Marathons


Thu 25 May 2023 Dave Melody

Why Impact Marathons are changing the face of global charity events


Wed 18 Jan 2023 Nick Kershaw

ChatGPT wrote a poem about our run in Guatemala...


Wed 21 Jul 2021 Nick Kershaw

One goal to rule them all : A lesson learnt in our pursuit of The Global Goals


Tue 15 Jun 2021

Dropping pebbles, investing in yourself and making an impact


Fri 12 Feb 2021

Introducing: Impact Stories with Nick Kershaw


Fri 12 Feb 2021

Going Green in Malawi: An unexpected challenge


Fri 12 Feb 2021

Impact 101: Conversation with 'We Got The Runs' Podcast


Fri 27 Nov 2020

Ultimate Gift Guide for the Ethical Runner


Mon 2 Nov 2020

How do you create a new race route? Meet the Impact Pyramid


Thu 15 Oct 2020 Dave Melody

4 ways to maximise your impact (that don't involve any running)


Sun 27 Sep 2020

Green World Programme x Impact Marathon


Thu 6 Aug 2020

Impact in 2020: Step sideways, to leap forward


Wed 15 Jul 2020

RunTalkRun x Impact Marathons: Global running movements join forces


Tue 7 Jul 2020

How to be a change-maker - a conversation with the RunTalkRun podcast


Fri 3 Jul 2020

Coach Gabriel's winning culture: How Kenyan world records are made


Wed 17 Jun 2020

Silent Motivations - A conversation with the Evossi Explore Show


Mon 8 Jun 2020

What's in a medal? The story behind an Impact medal


Thu 20 Feb 2020

Guatemala Impact Marathon: From dream to reality


Sat 1 Feb 2020

Runners Recipes: Charlie Watson's Avocado Bread


Fri 31 Jan 2020

Impact Runner Stories: Kit Garnett @ Nepal Impact Marathon 2019


Tue 17 Dec 2019

Pablo: The main man of Guatemala Impact

Tue 29 Oct 2019

Kelsang: The unsung hero of Nepal Impact


Wed 2 Oct 2019

Team Impact: Through the eyes of an investor


Mon 9 Sep 2019 Nick Kershaw

It takes a village


Thu 29 Aug 2019

Meet the storytellers


Wed 14 Aug 2019

Why a flash storm in Kenya is exactly what your company needs to thrive


Tue 16 Jul 2019

Nepal Impact 2019 to be led by an all-female race director team


Tue 14 May 2019

Building resilience: Permaculture and sustainable development


Mon 4 Feb 2019

4 reasons to run up an active volcano


Tue 8 Jan 2019

MarathonTalk - Martin's trip to Kenya


Wed 26 Dec 2018

The best brands for ethical running gear


Wed 26 Dec 2018



Wed 26 Dec 2018 Nick Kershaw

Asante Sana, Kenya, For the Memories