When more than 6,500 runners competed in the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K race last year on a hot, muggy day, they weren’t the only ones sweating. So were the volunteers.

More than 800 people sign up to help with the race and they do it for all sorts of reasons—because they like the action, because they want to do something for their community, because they’re injured and can’t participate in the competition themselves. What they have in common is they work for free.

For nineteen years Maya Cohen has served as the Volunteer Coordinator for the race, the person who oversees the recruitment and deployment of all those folks who make the Beach to Beacon possible. For two or three months leading up to the event, hers is essentially a full-time job. On race day she works in the information tent, answering questions, dealing with lost children, addressing problems large and small. Remarkably, the experience that day is not stressful. “I’m actually pretty calm,” Cohen says. Which makes sense, because by then the heavy lifting has all been done. “It’s my day to have fun,” she says.