Volunteers race-ready

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Peter Atkinson reckons when it comes to community generosity, Queenstown’s “pretty special”.

Atkinson, a member of the Queenstown Pedallers, is gearing up for his fifth year as a volunteer at the Queenstown International Marathon.

He and about 40 members of the cycling group have been giving their time to the event since its inception.

“The thing I notice is that it’s got the most community spirit out of any place I’ve ever lived,” he says of the resort.

With the marathon just weeks away, Atkinson believes anyone who enjoys meeting new people should look at joining in.

In return for their time, the marathon gives volunteers money to donate to charity.

He says the Pedallers wait until after the marathon to pick two local charities to donate to.

“We want to ensure it goes to the local community.”

All marathon options were sold out by this week.

Race director Nicole Fairweather says the marathon usually attracts about 520 volunteers.

“In return we contribute around $18,000 to go directly back into the community through the many schools, clubs and community groups contributing their time.

“We are conscious we must leave a legacy in the community, hence giving donations to the volunteer groups. It’s our small token of thanks.”

Skyline Queenstown’s also getting in on the charitable activity, giving every marathon volunteer a free annual gondola pass.

General manager Wayne Rose says the marathon’s a great event that wouldn’t be possible “without all the wonderful people who volunteer their time and effort to the cause”.

The fifth annual Queenstown marathon will take place on November 17.