Do you take part in events? Have you ever marshalled an event? If, like me, you have then I commend you and take this opportunity to thank you. If not I would recommend you do.
Most people assume the marshalls on events are part of the company putting the event on or paid to be there. A lot of people are rude to them. Not many realise those jelly babies or other sugary treats they hand out they’ve paid for out of their own money as well as giving up their time to be there as volunteers.
Don’t get me wrong when volunteering as a marshall you generally get something in return like a free race pass or item of merchandise for example, which is great, but given that it is a very long day, most people do it to give back or for the love of the sport involved.
I’ve done a number of events with different friends and we always thank the marshalls. If it’s a run then sometimes I’m struggling to breathe and run and stay upright so can’t always say thanks but if a bike ride or obstacle run always make sure I do.
I’m part of a group called Mudd Queens and you always see other Mudd Queens at most events but especially as marshalls during obstacle runs. They are always on hand with muddy hugs, jelly babies and a friendly face and that small of act kindness from them makes such a massive difference so those taking part in the event. In my recent Spartan Super when we got to the tyre flip obstacle and at the finish to claim our well earned medals myself and friend Helen were so chuffed to see a fellow Mudd Queen, Jojo, at both!
I thought of doing a blog post about this when someone I know made a comment about the role of a marshall with little gratitude assuming they were paid as an employee by the company putting on the event and not actually realising that is not the case.
A friend from my cycling club, Romford CC, is part of East Essex Tri club and they recently out on a triathlon event and club members are asked to volunteer and then they can race and take part. Local Tri club Havering Tri did the same recently at their aquathon. In addition my running club, Havering ’90 Joggers, are often found as volunteers at local Park Runs. These people regularly take part in events and are happy to do their part in return.
It’s actually very rewarding and I have previously done a blog post when I volunteered as a marshall for Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest urban obstacle run and I will be taking part in Nuclear Races Blast event this weekend then on marshall duty for the evening event Blackout and I know I will finish both with a huge grin on my face and either none or very few jelly babies left in my bag!
It’s not just my opinion either, I asked quite a few people who have either marshalled or compete in events for their opinions and they were as follows:
“volunteering was a major part in my ocr journey. i started back in 2014 at a Tough Mudder and then ended up volunteering all year for them as it built my confidence and also the understanding what was involved in ocrs. i still prefer to marshal than run. From a marshal co-ordinators side most people dont realise how much time is put into organising marshals for a race. My love for OCR running and marshal has found me lucky to work for some great race events. People also need to remember if they say they will marshal then its important to turn up, but also make sure they are prepare for the day ahead.”
“I love volunteering for the fun factor . I love encouraging the girl at the back the one with no self esteem who just wishes she hadn’t come to the race .she has lots of tears and fears and then she goes over that wall runs through the mud falls flat on her face she picks herself up and smiles . We laugh all the way round the coarse and the demons are left in the muddy puddle and this girl goes of and gets herself fit then comes back fighting them obstacles stronger than ever she then becomes a volunteer and helps the next girl that comes a long . I give up at least three Saturdays either helping at nuclear taster days or I do local Parkruns .i dont look at it as volunteering but just putting the belief back in people.”
“Only that it’s a saviour when a Marshal says well done or keep going etc.. I really listen all desperately to what they say sometimes & get comfort from it when I’m tired So so appreciate it.”
So next time you take part in an event, gratefully take a sugary sweet that is offered, helping hand over an obstacle, advice at a junction on your bike, claim a medal please say thanks as without these guys those events would not be possible!