Event: Jamie’s mar­shalling ex­pe­ri­ence

Walking New Zealand - - Contents - By Jamie James

The air was crisp and clean and the day full of prom­ise as I headed out the door on route to do my first marathon mar­shalling ser­vice. I ar­rived early to my spot and was grate­ful I had taken the time to or­gan­ise a few home com­forts. I passed the first half an hour sip­ping hot tea and re­lax­ing on a rather ro­bust chair. “What is one to do in such sit­u­a­tions when not ac­tu­ally com­pet­ing”, I thought to my­self. Usu­ally I’m the one giv­ing my all in the race, but this time I’m car­ry­ing an in­jured calf mus­cle. The an­swer was not long in com­ing back…add value.

Add value to the ath­letes. En­cour­age them, smile, look them in the eye and tell them they were do­ing a great job. I then be­gan to take up my cause with great gusto and made it a point (to the best of my abil­ity) to do all of the above to as many ath­letes as I could.

For some at the front of the race they were used to hear­ing these words of ad­mi­ra­tion and en­cour­age­ment. But for the ma­jor­ity, those in the mid­dle and back of the pack the re­ac­tions to my words gave them a real un­ex­pected boost.

I be­gan to see that these aver­age and less able com­peti­tors were con­quer­ing their own in­ter­nal bat­tles. They were com­pet­ing to the best of their vary­ing abil­i­ties and the whole scene be­came quite heroic.

The funny thing was as I was en­cour­ag­ing oth­ers, it seemed my own spir­its were lifted. I walked away from my duty with a smile on my face and a spring in my step. I was es­pe­cially in­ter­ested in those last strug­gling com­peti­tors, who I had given a lit­tle bit of ex­tra en­cour­age­ment. I was look­ing out for them at the fin­ish line.

So if you ever get the chance to be a mar­shal, don’t just go through the mo­tions.

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