New York City Marathon Volunteering

We know a lot of you are interested in visiting New York City (Broadway! Central Park! Statue of Liberty!), so we encourage you all to combine a vacation to NYC with a volunteer opportunity!  For our participants living in NYC and the northeast of the States, this is a great way to join in with your community. No matter where you live, this will be a unique opportunity to meet J1s from all different countries.

Last year this event received overwhelmingly positive experiences from exchange visitors. In fact, 99% recommended that U.S Department of State offer the chance again! This is a unique opportunity to experience the American value of volunteerism with the added thrill of watching and cheering 50,000 runners from 120 countries participate in the world’s biggest marathon.

This year, the U.S. Department of State will have two of its very own “fluid station” where ALL the volunteers will be exchange visitors. “Fluid station” volunteers assist with setup, distribute water and Gatorade to the runners, and cheer them on. Please note that volunteers must commit to the entire shift.  All volunteers will receive a rain poncho to protect their clothing, a volunteer pin, and a thank you gift.  No advance training is required.  


The New York City Marathon has come a long way from its first running in 1970 to become the world's biggest and most popular 26.2-mile road race. 50,000 runners participate annually, representing more than 120 countries from around the world. More than 10,000 volunteers support the runners from the moment they begin their journey to the start line until they are reunited with their families.  More than 2 million spectators line the route.

Results from 2015 Exchange Visitor NYC Marathon Volunteer Opportunity                                   81% of the exchange visitors who responded to the evaluation survey said they met other Exchange Visitors through their volunteer experience.                                                                  99% of participants recommend a marathon volunteer experience for exchange visitors next year.


“The overall experience enabled me to understand the concept of volunteering, and how it is a part of American culture. It was amazing to see how an entire fluid station was managed by people who were only volunteering. The culture depicts inclusivity within the society and how people who care for common causes that are not necessarily related to them.” [Survey Monkey evaluation response]

“I’m not lying to you saying it was the most beautiful experience of my life. Some will say ‘I was just giving out water.’ Yes, I just gave water to the men and women who ran for the memory of their deceased, to a mother who had lost her daughter, or to the father who pushed his son in a wheel chair over 42km. Yes I was giving water to blind runners who ran with their guides leading them, to men and women 90 years old, to a Syrian who fled his country and who ran 42km while wearing the hijab… If I had said THAT, tell me now what did you do today? I encouraged people from all four corners of the world, from the first runner to the last, they ran through some challenges and others for a cause. I have never experienced anything so beautiful and intense than today. I am grateful every day that I live here and this from the beginning of this adventure.” – [Marie Liebschner, an Au Pair from France, shared on Instagram 11/1/15]


This is a great opportunity for you to:

  1. Travel to NYC
  2. Support the spirit of volunteerism
  3. Meet J1s from all over the world (friends around the world are great for traveling!)
  4. Network with people who can potentially help you in your career
  5. Have a prestigious addition to your resume


You can read more at the official website:

All volunteers will need to register individually and directly with New York Road Runners.  It is very important that they register with your Sponsor Organization name followed by “/U.S. State Department J-1”. If you’d like to sign-up, you will go to the website and click “volunteers”. Then click “volunteer opportunities”. Then click “fluid stations”. Then you’ll register for the event. There will be a dropdown list with World Wide Cultural Exchange as an option. Please make sure you choose WWCE.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your coordinator or the Engagement Coordinator. Registration closes August 31st! 

K.Leigh Furzer