My VLM 2010: Jo Walczak (Baggage Handler)

The story of a Virgin London Marathon baggage handler


Posted: 26 April 2010
by Jo Walczak

I ran the Flora London Marathon in 2007 and loved it. I have entered the ballot every year since but have not been successful, so was very happy to be given a chance this year to join the Tonbridge AC baggage handling team in the Mall.

We had to be in position in the Mall by 9.30am and it was pretty amazing to see the sheer number of people working behind the scenes. The lorries arrived at about 10.30am and each one had 1,500 bags that needed sorting into numerical order. It was hard work but we got them all sorted just around the time the elite men were finishing.

We watched a few finishers come past, then a trickle, a stream, a flood and finally a torrent of runners were filing past to collect their bags. I started asking people how long it had taken - three hours seemed to be fairly common reply - but then we got too busy to ask them all. By the time it had calmed down and I was able to ask again, the 6:00-plus finishers were coming through. The last three hours had passed by in a flash.

It was a real privilege to be there at the end among all the finishers. I can't believe how tired I feel today. I had underestimated the amount of work involved but am so happy to have been there. I was really pleased also to meet one of the "ever present" runners who have completed all 30 London Marathons.

Well done to everyone involved - the runners, the organisers, the volunteers and the supporters. It is an event we should all be really proud of.

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