Marshals make the difference.

1 to 20 of 36 messages
23/11/2012 at 15:20

Just read my January copy of Runners World.  The letters page has a letter on good and bad race marshals and it says visit runnersworld.co.uk/marshals to add your comments.  The link took me nowhere so thought would mention on here how fantastic the marshals were at Milton Keynes Marathon 2012.  The weather was torrential, various parts of the course were flooded as was the MK Dons Stadium, causing havoc and a route detour after the race had started.  Despite it all those marshals were nothing short of brilliant!  Wherever I popped up (I was spectating watching my wife run) there were encouraging shouts and cheers throughout the day.  Those folks deserved medals too.

23/11/2012 at 16:22

The marshals at the Mk half in march last year were also fantastic despite the freezing cold tempretures and rain/snow.

seren nos    pirate
23/11/2012 at 16:26

when the weather is bad and its wet and windy.....narshalling must be the worst job ever..much harder than running the race.......

sometimes in races you can tell when the marshalls have been hired and are getting paid as they just don't seem to care.....but this is just a minority and thankfully rare nowadays

 that you to evryone who marshalled in 2012.

24/11/2012 at 12:24
seren nos wrote (see)

when the weather is bad and its wet and windy.....narshalling must be the worst job ever..much harder than running the race.......

sometimes in races you can tell when the marshalls have been hired and are getting paid as they just don't seem to care.....but this is just a minority and thankfully rare nowadays

 that you to evryone who marshalled in 2012.

What do you mean by "don't seem to care"?

A marshal's job is to ensure that runners go the right way, don't get knocked down by cars, etc.

As long as they are doing that, that's all I need from a marshal.

 

seren nos    pirate
24/11/2012 at 12:31

wilkie..........a did a marathon a couple of years ago and a few of the marshalls were just sitting on the floor playing with their phones.............no interest in the race........no telling you which way to go.if you shouted and asked then they just looked at you dumbly............it was an easish route but their lask of interest made me think they might as well not be there...................to be fair it was only a few of them not the majority

24/11/2012 at 13:23

In that case, I'd agree with you!  And I'd have complained to the organisers, too.

 

24/11/2012 at 22:39
I nearly cried with with emotion when a Marshall at ??lan Valley 10 shouted and clapped as I ran towards her and sent me on knowing the exact distance to the finish. Thanks to all the marshals (esp Jen) who stand still so I can run!
27/11/2012 at 15:57
seren nos wrote (see)

wilkie..........a did a marathon a couple of years ago and a few of the marshalls were just sitting on the floor playing with their phones.............no interest in the race........no telling you which way to go.if you shouted and asked then they just looked at you dumbly............it was an easish route but their lask of interest made me think they might as well not be there...................to be fair it was only a few of them not the majority

Yup, I've experienced this quite a few times. I have to say though it's always been in bigger events where they have road closures, police presence and hired marshals from a big security firm. Never in the smaller runs staffed by volunteers.

My favourite event this year on the marshaling front was the first ever Highland Perthshire marathon in Aberfeldy. It was put on by the Rotary Club and the marshals were lovely ladies in their 60s and 70s who seemed mostly in awe of anyone who would attempt to run 26 miles. They were shouting out encouragement to everyone, as well as warnings about tight bends in the road and slippy leaves on the tarmac. Total stars, the lot of them.

02/12/2012 at 21:39

I was almost put off racing again after my first 10k. I was slow (82 mins), but the race was marketed as one you could 'walk, jog or run' so I was suprised to be running on my own at the back. This wasn't the best experience, but I was mostly bothered by the attitude of the marshalls and organisers. Several times I had to shout to them and ask the way, as it wasn't clear and they were too busy chatting/on phones to pay attention to me approaching. A number of marshalls asked me if I was the last and could they leave now etc, making me feel like I was holding them up. I got lost twice because some had left their posts before I arrived. I overheard the organiser saying 'if she's not the last I'm going anyway' as I crossed the finish line.

Fortunately I gave it another go, partly due to encouragement on this site. And I'm glad I did. I've run two great races since, with good marshalls and organisation, and it's made such a difference.

I'd expect a marshall to stay until the last person or time limit, pay attention to runners during that time, and make sure runners are safe and go the right way. Many of them do more then this, encouraging people to keep running, verbally supporting them over tricky bits etc, and that's a bonus.

02/12/2012 at 22:19

Marshals at Bradford City run 10k made a difference today.... approximately 1.5k of "difference" 

Edited: 02/12/2012 at 22:19
13/03/2013 at 23:14
i did this years Milton Keynes half marathon. it was 1 degree and felt like -8 with the wind chill. The Marshalls were brilliant and made the event a success. we mustn't forget those individuals handing out the water, cleaning up the half empty bottles as well as those providing medical support and the local community cheering us on. thanks to each and every one of them. Jog on!
13/03/2013 at 23:23

Jane, it's bad practice for marshalls to behave that way.

I marshalled a half marathon last year, and was quite cheesed to hear a St John's Ambulance oaf stationed next to us loudly proclaim "Yeah there's just STRAGGLERS out there now", right in earshot of a chap coming past.

It's a very hard half marathon, so we get people taking 3hours and more. But for such a slothful oaf of a bloke to put down guys taking on a hard course was out of order, and I gave the guy a bit of a grilling.

Maybe a little harsh as he was a volunteer doing good work himself.

But still.

14/03/2013 at 05:37

Thanks for posting that, Brian - I'm doing MK this year as my first marathon and beginning to get nervous about it!!  I've done a few parkruns before and the enthusiasm of the marshalls has always been really encouraging.

Bionic Ironwolf    pirate
14/03/2013 at 11:09

I hate to hear about ignorant comments made by marshals and people leaving their posts before they are supposed to. I always marshal on the run course at our own club's triathlon and make sure to stay at my post until someone comes to tell me all the competitors have passed my station. last year it poured with rain all day and I was out there for 8 hours. I too have competed in races where volunteers have been less than nice - did a swim and run a couple of years ago where one of the people at a drinks station got really nasty on hearing I still had another lap to do, complaining about wasting his whole Sunday. I told him to go home, I didn't need him and his attitude and would do without water on my last lap. I complained to the organisers and they gave me free entry to the following year's race!

Worst one was where a marshal tried to encourage people to take a short cut back to finish - I reported him too.

14/03/2013 at 11:18

SG - Oh, I do hope you called him a slothful oath!  (If you could get the words out; it's a tricky one!)

I don't particularly need an all-cheering support group of marshals as I'm going round (although it is nice!) but I think as a minimum you want them to appear attentive and on-the-ball.  If it's a cold and wet day, you might be out on the course marshaling and secretly wishing it was over sooner rather than later, but it's pretty easy to remind yourself that for every race you've volunteered for, you've also raced many many more.

Edited: 14/03/2013 at 11:19
14/03/2013 at 12:19

Good point there PhilPub.

In fact, I'm injured and likely to be out for many months, so maybe I should volunteer to marshal something to still feel connected. Once I'm off the crutches. It might be a bit frustrating, but the comments above show it is worth doing well.

How do races recruit the marshals they need?

 

14/03/2013 at 13:02
jane davies 17 wrote (see)

I was almost put off racing again after my first 10k. I was slow (82 mins), but the race was marketed as one you could 'walk, jog or run' so I was suprised to be running on my own at the back. This wasn't the best experience, but I was mostly bothered by the attitude of the marshalls and organisers. Several times I had to shout to them and ask the way, as it wasn't clear and they were too busy chatting/on phones to pay attention to me approaching. A number of marshalls asked me if I was the last and could they leave now etc, making me feel like I was holding them up. I got lost twice because some had left their posts before I arrived. I overheard the organiser saying 'if she's not the last I'm going anyway' as I crossed the finish line.

Fortunately I gave it another go, partly due to encouragement on this site. And I'm glad I did. I've run two great races since, with good marshalls and organisation, and it's made such a difference.

I'd expect a marshall to stay until the last person or time limit, pay attention to runners during that time, and make sure runners are safe and go the right way. Many of them do more then this, encouraging people to keep running, verbally supporting them over tricky bits etc, and that's a bonus.

That's a bad story, Jane. I've been on both sides of the fence - as a runner who appreciates the good marshals, whether they simply point you the right way or take it further by giving encouragement, whenever I've marshalled I've tried to be helpful and smiley, encouraging people if they seem to need it, but always paying attention. I think that last thing is the least one can do. In my experience, most marshals are pretty good, though, so I'm glad you carried on with your running.

14/03/2013 at 13:42
I've been injured, so marshaled for the first time earlier this year. I enjoyed it. It was great to see the faces of people that I normally only see the back of and I felt like I was 'giving back'. There were a number of runners that made a point of thanking me too - that made my day!
14/03/2013 at 14:15
jane davies 17 wrote (see)

 

How do races recruit the marshals they need?

 

Well if it's a club-run event it would probably just be a call out to all club members to pitch in, but if someone got in touch to volunteer I'm sure the race organisers would be delighted. You'll often get little gestures like free tea and cakes, or free entry to next year's race once you're back on your feet.

14/03/2013 at 15:06
PhilPub wrote (see)

SG - Oh, I do hope you called him a slothful oath!  (If you could get the words out; it's a tricky one!)

I don't particularly need an all-cheering support group of marshals as I'm going round (although it is nice!) but I think as a minimum you want them to appear attentive and on-the-ball.  If it's a cold and wet day, you might be out on the course marshaling and secretly wishing it was over sooner rather than later, but it's pretty easy to remind yourself that for every race you've volunteered for, you've also raced many many more.

 

He got the message, and won't do it again I'm sure

I actually love marshalling our half, from the carpark bit, to the 3+ hours standing around. Even though it's Mid nov, I think it's a mixture of being bloody glad I'm not racing such a horrible course, and giving people a cheer on that makes it for me.

The front runners don't need or generally acknowledge any cheers or support, but when you get into mid pack you get a lot of thanks, smiles and it's quite a nice feeling.

Makes you think, as I'd never think (or be able to speak) to thank a marshall mid race, but clearly no marshall = no race.

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