Event: Jamie’s marshalling experience
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.