A few days before one of our local 10k’s the shout went around Facebook that they were short of marshals. Cut a long story short, and I was roped in.
Of course, when I’ve ran races, the support and presence of these people has been of immense comfort, particularly when you are at say 1k shy of the finish line, and everything hurts. Also, they are wonderful at making sure we don’t get lost; always a bonus.
So, I agreed to put on my high viz jacket and join the merry throng of volunteers, joined by my best friend Lesley.
We had a bitterly cold debriefing on the Saturday afternoon, collected our goody bags and vests, and went home, excited to be in charge of keeping everyone safe and happy the following day.
The next morning we awoke to a flawless blue sky, a slight breeze, and wall to wall sunshine. How totally blissful for us, but not so, for those running. It was as hot as hell.
As I think I have mentioned many times, race day is one of extreme excitement for me, I’m jumping around like a 6 year old at the start line normally, and being in charge of a patch of road and a grass island, plus a barrier and 10 police cones was just as thrilling.
My bestie stood a couple of hundred yards away, and we were to direct the runners around the island and towards their final few kilometres.
They started at 11am, and the first whippet like runner was striding through at 11.20, not even breaking a sweat. After I had watched him in total awe and admiration the rest of the 1,000 plus runners started coming through too. Some of them effortlessly, others struggling in the heat.
I was very touched by the fact that I lost count of how many of them thanked us, as they ran past. The comments “Thank you, Marshall” and “thank you for volunteering” were plentiful, and myself and my friend in turn were shouting words of encouragement back. It was truly touching, and just confirms my opinion that runners are a lovely bunch of people on the whole.
I even managed a brief sweaty hug with my running buddy Pam, who did fantastically well in such hot weather.
All too soon, as with all things, it was over, and our work was done. The residents had come out to support the runners; a fantastic community spirit.
I have to say, I would definitely do it again, being on the other side of the tracks, so to speak. We still got all the excitement and great atmosphere of race day, and we fulfilled our job of keeping runners, motorists and spectators safe and happy.