Yesterday I was a volunteer marshal at a local 10k race osterleypark10k.co.uk/ which was a lot of fun!
I decided not to run this year (I did the summer and winter 10k's there last year, and they are great races) because to be honest I needed a race break after the marathon. But I wanted to support the event because it is local, and organised by the fantastic team who organise the Ealing Half Marathon ealinghalfmarathon.com/.
I arrived at 8.15, signed in and was told where my 'station' would be - marshalling runners on the only (shortish) stretch of road - basically keeping runners on the pavement. Then all volunteers helped themselves to coffee/tea/matcha tea, plus a bacon or cheese roll.
Now, I was there on my own, and all my life I have felt odd standing around at any event by myself. I cannot help myself - I end up chatting to the nearest person! I met such lovely people yesterday - mostly runners who for some reason or other could not or did not want to take part in the run itself. I chatted to a woman preparing for the Loch Ness marathon lochnessmarathon.com/. I know I said "never again" after the London marathon - but - if I were ever to say "yes" it would be a marathon like this - completely different type of location. (But it's not going to happen folks!).
Then as I was walking to my marshal point I chatted to another marshal who was also walking to the road. She is an amazing person recovering from a serious accident earlier in the year. Having been a keen runner and sportsperson who took part in the Ealing half marathon last year she told me how she had been on crutches hardly able to walk until a couple of months ago. She is also coping with a brain injury, and as part of her recovery/rehabilitation she has started writing a blog bionicmay.wordpress.com/aut...
She told me she was encouraging a friend to start running - with Couch to 5k - so I took the opportunity to promote this wonderful community of friendly, supportive runners here on HealthUnlocked.
The run started and my voice nearly gave out from shouting instructions (basically "keep on the pavement") and encouragement to everyone. It is always inspiring to see so many people of all ages, sizes and levels of fitness taking part in these events. We got lots of "thank you marshal" both during the race and afterwards when walking back to drop off the high vis vests.
All in all it was a great morning. I would recommend volunteering at races. It is a way to give something back, and without volunteers races could not happen. And, you get to meet more friendly runners!