US Trail Running Conference Webinar Highlights Volunteer Recruitment and Retention

Panelists share successful and practical strategies to engage and retain volunteers 


Volunteer Recruitment and Retention was the subject for the second webinar in the nine-webinar RD Master Class series produced by the US Trail Running Conference presented by Marathon Printing, and was live on Thursday, February 29. The webinar series is free for all race directors and event organizers to access, and is held in partnership with the American Trail Running Association.

This webinar’s panelists featured three women race directors that have used a variety of different approaches to attract and retain their volunteers. Ginny Kelly, Race Director at Bad Beard Events; Kimberly Aubuchon, Trail Activities Officer for San Antonio Road Runners and RD of Prickly Pear 50k and Rocky Horror 50k; and Michele Hartwig, Founder and RD of Ornery Mule Racing and Dirt Trail Running Podcast. Terry Chiplin, founder of the US Trail Running Conference, was the moderator for the session.

Ginny Kelly opened the session by detailing four factors she has found to be the most successful for volunteer recruitment “Incorporate social media and UltraSignup communications, work with community partners, keep a running list of past volunteers, and create a volunteer handbook that includes full details on job assignments.”

Kimberly Aubuchon’s recruitment plan included the following, “Use local community resources, promote community engagement and fun, provide incentives, and …some begging!”

Michele Hartwig had similar suggestions, “Keep your community connected, communicate your expectations, appreciate your volunteers, and create a quality event that volunteers what to be a part of.”

With a focus on volunteer retainment,  Kimberly Aubuchon said, “Promote volunteer value, create organized and clear communications, send out a post race thank you and volunteer survey, and make sure you host a respectable race.”

Ginny Kelly’s volunteer retainment ideas were to, “Promote a spirit of community, ensure you create a fun and scenic environment, include volunteers in food and merchandise distribution, and offer race entries in exchange for a set role or time commitment.”

Active at Altitude, organizers of the US Trail Running Conference and the webinar series, reported 169 participants registered for the session, representing 40 states, as well as Bolivia, Canada, Great Britain, Iceland, Macedonia, Russia and Saudi Arabia. A recording of this webinar is available on the US Trail Running Conference YouTube channel at

The next webinar in the RD Master Class series presented by Marathon Printing is titled: Mastering Land Management Relationships and Permits, and takes place on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, from 10.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. MST. Panelists will be Kathleen Baker, Runners for Public Lands, Ian Torrence, Stagecoach Line 100 mile Ultra & Relay, and Amy Rusiecki, Vermont 100.

Who is this for? Race directors and event organizers who are interested in gaining mastery with land management relationships and those all important organizations that issue the permits for races. Registration is free – see for more details.

More info:

For details on the US Trail Running Conference and the webinar series, go to

Contact Event Director, Terry Chiplin for further information,, or + 33 06 79 76 31 53

#TrailConference #trailrunning #visitknoxsports #knoxville #marathonprinting #activeataltitude #atra #TrailConference2024

Latest news