Volunteering at Race for Life
Frequently asked questions - FAQs
1) How important are volunteers to Race for Life?
Volunteers play a vital part at our Race for Life events across the country. Simply put, without our army of volunteers, the events would not happen! Playing such an important part in our Race for Life events, our volunteers carry out a variety of roles on the day, and before the event. Whether it be as a local promotions volunteer, a meet and greet volunteer, a race marshal, or a finish line volunteer, all volunteers work together to make a positive impact on the experience of the participants and their families and friends to ensure it is a great day for everyone involved and the event runs smoothly. Volunteers are vital to the success of our Race for Life events!
2) Can I volunteer if I am under 18 years old?
Yes you can and we would love to have you join us a part of the team. Unfortunately, you are unable to sign up via the website or over the phone and therefore need to register on the day at the large Cancer Research UK administration marquee. If you will be 15 or younger at the time of the event, you can only volunteer if you will be accompanied on the day by a parent or guardian or, as part of a supervised youth group. If you will be 16 or 17 at the time of the event, you will simply need to bring with you on the day a registration form with the consent section signed by a parent or guardian.
In all cases please email email@example.com and let us know, your name, how old you are and which race event you want to volunteer at. We will then pass on your details to the event organiser and provide you with the registration form which you can use to register with on the day of the event.
3) I have registered but now I am no longer able to volunteer – what shall I do?
Please email your name and the name of the event you had registered to volunteer at to firstname.lastname@example.org and your message will be passed to the Event Manager. If you would like to register for another event instead, that would be great; however we would ask that you do so via our website to ensure that the event organiser has all the relevant information.
4) Are there any opportunities for me to get involved prior to event day?
Yes definitely! We’re always looking for volunteers to help out with our marketing activity in the lead up to event day. There is a whole range of activity you could get involved with including helping out at event launches, flyering and engaging with the public in hotspot areas, as well as helping us with PR and gaining media support for the event!
You can play a pivotal role in recruiting Race for Life participants, and fellow volunteers and increasing fundraising income which will go towards life saving cancer research. Apply online and choose the ‘Local Promotions’ volunteer role and someone from our marketing team will be in touch with you as soon as possible to let you know of any opportunities in your area.
5) Can I bring a friend/relative along with me to volunteer on event day?
Of course you can! You can make it a day to remember by asking your friends, family, partners and colleagues to come along with you to the event, so why not encourage them to sign up as a volunteer with you! We are always in need of more volunteers at our events, so spread the word amongst your families and friends and encourage them to either sign up online before the event or you can simply bring them along with you on the day of the event and they can sign up there and then at the Cancer Research UK administration marquee.
6) What should I do if I want to escort my friend or family member around the course?
If your friend or family member is unable to take part by themselves and needs assistance, then you simply need to pop along with them on the day. Both men and women can assist someone around the course. However, you need to ensure that the friend or relative participating in the event has notified their Event Manager, prior to the event and on the day, that they are bringing someone to assist them around the course.
7) I have registered or offered to volunteer at a Race for Life. When can I expect to get some details from the event organiser?
You can expect to receive an introductory email within a couple of weeks of signing up to volunteer online letting you know a bit more about the event and what you can do to help in the time leading up to the event. You will then receive a pre event briefing pack about 2 weeks before the event date with the details about where and when to arrive and what you will need to bring. In the meantime, if you have any specific queries please email email@example.com. Please note that in the middle of our event series, the Event Managers can often be extremely busy and may not be able to respond quickly to detailed requests for information.
8) I belong to a group – can we help out at Race?
Yes you can and we would love to have you join us as part of the team. Groups with members aged 18 or over should register as individuals either via the website at or via the hotline 0871 641 2272
Youth groups should email firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of the group and which event they are interested in volunteering. The leader of the Youth Group (who should be aged 18 or over) can register on the day of the event on behalf of the group members. The group leader will be fully responsible for the group members at the event.
9) I have a criminal conviction, can I still volunteer at a Race for Life event?
Having a criminal conviction is not an automatic barrier to volunteering with Cancer Research UK. We will not decline any applications from volunteers on the grounds of spent criminal convictions. Applicants with unspent or pending convictions may be declined if the relevance, nature and severity of the crimes concerned warrant that course of action. Each case will be considered on an individual basis by the Event Manager.
10) Do I need to have specific skills and experience to volunteer at a Race for Life event?
Most of our event volunteer roles do not require you to have any specialist experience or specialist skills and we will provide all the information and training you need to fulfil your volunteer role on the day of the event.
Any skills that we’d ideally like you to have to fulfil a particular role are clearly stated in the role profiles. However, if you feel you have a particular set of skills or knowledge that you think may be relevant and that we can utilise before the event or on the day, then please do let us know by contacting 0871 641 2272.
To fulfil the Welfare Volunteer Role at a Race for Life event, you need to have experience of working with children and have undergone a criminal record check*. Also, we ask that you present the original certificate, to the Event Manager.
*The Criminal Records Bureau has now merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This means that in England and Wales, ‘CRB’ checks have now become ‘DBS’ checks.
11) What support will I be given at a Race for Life event?
Whatever volunteer role you choose to take on, we will give you all the information and support you need to feel comfortable in your role on the day.
All Cancer Research UK volunteers will have an Event Team Leader or Event Volunteer Manager who they can go to for help and support on the day. Often there are also experienced volunteers around to offer advice to new members of the team.
12) What should I wear to volunteer at Race for Life?
You will be given a Volunteer T-Shirt/Bib to wear at the event when you register your arrival. Please wear comfortable & suitable attire to be outdoors & for the nature of the event - many of the venues are situated in parkland on grass so please wear comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy (e.g. trainers / walking boots). Please remember that the British weather is changeable so please bring a waterproof jacket / extra layers even if the weather looks fine when you leave home! Similarly, if the weather is forecasted to be hot, please bring a sunhat with you – drinks and sunscreen will be provided.
13) Is there anywhere to leave my belongings?
There will be limited space at each venue for left bags but unfortunately we can’t secure these areas & they will be left at your own risk - so please just bring only what you need on site and try and leave valuable items at home.
14) What measures are in place for a volunteer’s safety?
The safety of our volunteers is very important to us therefore all volunteers will be supported by an Event Team Leader or Volunteer Manager throughout the event. A full health and safety assessment of the event site will be carried out before the event takes place and there will also be a team of Race for Life first aiders and, potentially, community officers that will patrol the route to ensure everyone’s safety.
Most course marshals will have a means of communicating with our Event Managers through radios.
If you will be 15 or younger at the time of the event, you can only volunteer if you will be accompanied on the day by a parent or guardian or, as part of a supervised youth group. If you will be 16 or 17 at the time of the event, you will simply need to bring with you on the day a registration form with consent section signed by a parent or guardian.
15) Can men volunteer at a Race for Life event?
Although men cannot participate in the Race, they can certainly volunteer at the event and it is a great way for men to be involved in the event! To register as a volunteer to help out on the day you can visit the volunteering section of this siet. Volunteer roles range from marshalling, helping with administration, handing out medals and water at the finish line and setting up and taking down the events site. Volunteers will be provided with a Race for Life volunteer t-shirt which they can pick on their arrival at the event and when they register at the Cancer Research UK administration Marquee
16) Can I bring my children with me?
Yes it is OK to bring children along but they will be your sole responsibility at all times. Please make sure that you tell the Event Manager before the event your intention to do this so they can assign you with an appropriate role on site.
17) Can I claim expenses as a volunteer at a Race for Life event?
If you are volunteering at Race for Life you will usually be provided with a voucher that you can exchange for food at one of the vendors. If you wish to claim travel expenses for travelling to the event then you should discuss this with the Event Manager when they get in touch after you have signed up. Only reasonable travel expenses agreed in advance of the event with the event manager will be payable. The event manager will be able to provide you with an expenses claim form which you will be able to hand in to them on the day of the event.
18) Can I still volunteer if the event is less than 10 days away?
Yes you can and we would love to have you join us as part of the team. However, so that the Race for Life Event Manager has enough time to contact their volunteers you are unable to sign up via the website or hotline if the event is less than 10 days away. Please email email@example.com and let us know which event you want to volunteer at. We will then pass on your information to the Event Manager and provide you with a form to register with on the day of the event.
19) Will I be put in the volunteer role I signed up for?
All of our event managers try their best to accommodate your volunteering preferences and will always try and place you in the role you signed up for. However, depending on the demands of the event, you may be asked to help out in another role on the day, but this will be discussed with you to ensure that you are happy with the role.
20) What benefits do I get for volunteering for Cancer Research UK?
Volunteering at a Race for Life event is a great experience and an atmosphere like no other. You will not only gain the satisfaction of knowing that you are making a truly valuable contribution to the success and smooth running of the event in your area, and ultimately to the work of Cancer Research, but you will have the enjoyment of meeting new people within your community, the opportunity to develop key skills, you’ll receive light refreshments and a fun volunteer t-shirt! We can’t do it without you!
To note, if you do have special dietary requirements, please bring your own food/snacks with you on the day.
21) Can we advertise your Race for Life Volunteer role profiles at our Volunteer Centre/Bureau?
Yes please! The role profiles can be found on the volunteering section of this site, along with information about venues and dates. Please note that all volunteers need to register with Cancer Research UK and sign up to volunteer via our Race for life website.
22) Can I still volunteer if I’m receiving benefits?
You are free to volunteer while you are receiving benefits as long as the work you do is unpaid, and you meet the rules of your benefit. Always check with your benefits adviser before you start volunteering.
23) Are there any other volunteering opportunities with Cancer Research UK in addition to the Race for Life roles?
There are many ways in which you can volunteer for Cancer Research UK and we would welcome your support. It is best to visit our Support Us website. Here, you can find the latest volunteering opportunities close to you using our post code search facility. We have a diverse range of volunteering opportunities available, whether you are interested in volunteering in one of our offices, helping to raise funds or awareness, organise your own events or helping out at an event or in your local shop. The opportunities are endless!
It is also worth noting that there are some opportunities that are available Nationwide, these roles can be found on our website by clicking here.
24) Does Cancer Research UK have a volunteering policy?
Yes, and you can view this policy on our volunteering web-pages. We are committed to giving you the best experience possible and we believe that the volunteer relationship is one of honour, trust and mutual understanding.