The Invaluable Impact of Volunteering

March 07, 2024

Volunteering is the heartbeat of any organisation, and the Irish Mountain Running Association (IMRA) is no exception. Miriam Maher, the sitting President of the IMRA executive committee, sheds light on the twofold significance of volunteering for the organisation in a recent interview with Run Republic. Maher emphasises the value of giving back to an organisation built on volunteer efforts and highlights the transformative experience that volunteering offers.

One of the fundamental aspects of volunteering for IMRA is the opportunity to give back to the organisation itself. Maher emphasises that IMRA exists solely due to the dedication and efforts of its volunteers. By contributing time and energy to the association, volunteers play a crucial role in sustaining and enhancing the vibrant community of mountain runners. Maher stresses that without volunteering, individuals miss out on the chance to contribute to an organisation that has provided them with memorable racing experiences.

Volunteering is not just about giving; it's also about gaining a deeper understanding of how an organisation operates. Maher highlights the educational aspect of volunteering, explaining that it provides insights into the intricate workings of IMRA. Those who only participate in races might experience the camaraderie, but volunteering allows individuals to grasp the mechanics behind the scenes, fostering a more profound connection to the organisation.

Maher points out that volunteering is a sociable event that extends beyond the course. Volunteering provides an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and build friendships within the IMRA community. It transforms the race experience from a simple competition into a social gathering, where bonds are formed, and a sense of togetherness flourishes.

Beyond the tangible benefits, Maher underlines the personal growth and integration that come with volunteering. By actively participating in the organisation, volunteers become more integrated and involved, leading to a more rewarding experience. Maher suggests that the rewards of volunteering go beyond the tangible prizes and recognition, emphasising the intangible aspects of personal fulfilment and a sense of contributing to something greater.

Maher shares her personal journey, illustrating how her involvement with IMRA started as a volunteer, long before she became part of the committee. Knowing how to use laptops lead to managing race results, and Maher found the experience to be rewarding and enriching. Her story serves as a testament to the transformative power of volunteering and its ability to create a lasting impact on individuals.

Maher acknowledges that being deeply involved in IMRA might bias her perspective, but she encourages others to engage in volunteering activities. By sharing her own positive experiences, Maher aims to inspire individuals to become an integral part of IMRA's volunteer community, fostering a sense of belonging and shared responsibility.

Miriam Maher's insights into the importance of volunteering for IMRA reveal a deeper layer of connection and fulfillment that goes beyond the thrill of mountain running. Volunteering becomes a conduit for giving back, understanding organisational dynamics, socialising, personal growth, and receiving recognition. As IMRA continues to thrive on the efforts of its volunteers, Maher's words serve as an invitation for individuals to actively participate and contribute to the flourishing mountain running community.

Featured Image: Tricia Twohig