I almost entered this event a few months ago but decided not to due to the price and my foot injury. A few weeks later I received an email from my running club, the event organisers needed race marshals. I decided that although I couldn’t run, I could offer my services as a marshal.Fast forward to Friday and I was obsessively checking *all* the weather forecasts. Unfortunately, these were informing me that after a dull start we were going to get wet, possibly very wet. I leapt out of bed on Saturday morning and it wasn’t raining, the conditions were perfect for running. While walking through Sutton Park I was reminded of how lucky I am to live next to the park. At 8am the park was peaceful. I spotted a few runners, cyclists and dog walkers but there were very few people around. Luckily I didn’t spot the cows!
I signed in at the main registration tent, was handed a fluorescent yellow vest and was paired with another marshal Dennis. We were both immediately sent to help directing people towards the event car park (field). I had never imagined that directing people towards a field would be so much fun. I got to say hello/good luck to a large number of the runners as they drove past me. I got the chance to talk to a few nervous runners, I just told them to go out and enjoy themselves.
We finally left the car park just before the event started and managed to watch the runners set off. I was then whisked off to my allocated marshal point which was next to Keeper’s Pool. I was lucky enough to be stood opposite the race photographer. I soon learnt that I’m not the only runner who pulls daft faces when they spot a camera.
We didn’t have too long to wait for the first runners to arrive. I then had an enjoyable hour and a half hopefully (?) encouraging the runners as they ran past me. I tried to make sure that I cheered on each and every runner. If I missed you out then I apologise.
I was stood opposite the on course photographer, luckily there isn’t any evidence!
One of the objectives of the race series is to “…provide an enjoyable and shared running experience for those new to running/running events” I hope that in a small way that my encouragement helped the runners. As the race was a two lap event I actually got to see all of the runners twice. On the second lap I was able to utter that magic phrase “not too long to go now”!
When I arrived back at the event village most of the runners had already gone. I’d missed all of the post-race fun.
Where did everyone go?
We then set about dismantling the race village, removing the Women’s Running banners (not easy in the wind) and generally tidying up the area. After waiting for a heavy rain shower to pass over, the final marquee was dismantled. All the helpers were given a technical race tee-shirt and an excellent goody bag. We were then told that we could go and the event was over for another year.
I think that the event went very well. I had a look on twitter and saw lots of positive comments/feedback. The only aspect of the event that I think could be improved is minor, that of the advertising before the event.
Quite a few people/groups of runners asked me what the event was. Most had heard of Women’s Running magazine, unfortunately nobody was aware that the event was taking place.
The official report is available on the Women’s Running race series website.