Sunday, 17 July 2016

Race for Life #volunteerarmy

A few months ago I was tweeting whilst on a Sunday ride - I do that sometimes.  This time I had a reply - would I like to be 'lead bike' at Race for Life in Chester?  I had no idea what that meant, but was proud to be asked, so I said yes.  All I had to do was turn up at Chester Racecourse at 7:30am on the 17th July.

So, despite being a little jet lagged after my Cuba holiday, I dragged myself up and out of bed, and across town to get to the Racecourse early in the day - but at the wrong side.  I needed to be by the Grosvenor Bridge.  So I circumnavigated the Racecourse on the cycle path, and across the track to the small collection of tents, one of which was a volunteer tent.

Here I collected my T'shirt, tabbard, radio and wrist band, and stood around with the other marshall volunteers.  There is some incredible organisation that goes into this, Heart radio was set up at the start / finish, and were soon pumping out boppy tunes to get the ladies in the mood.  Brio, our local leisure organisation, were there to lead a warm up - but I did not see that, as after we had had our briefing, and I had got some pink flowers for my bike, and had a photo with Brio teddy bear - I had to head to the main entrance to be ready for the first runners.

I waited, and it seemed a while before the first runners were spotted - two young girls with distinctive long pink socks.  My role was to ride in front - but a little way ahead.  as long as I can see the runners, they can see me (which I was relieved about as I had visions of hundreds of runners hot on my wheels and passing me as I climbed Canal Street!)

As I came to each marshall, I recognised them and them me, I rang my bell and let them know the runners were just coming.  It was also useful to ding at tourists who were starting to fill the streets to take photo's of Chester's classic landmarks - watch out the runners are coming (well, one at least!)

By the Town Hall the two girls had been passed by a lady in a yellow T-shirt, who also passed me as I stopped for a quick photo.  I resumed my lead position, and we headed through town, to the amphitheatre and then out towards the park on the wrong side of the road - very strange feeling for me!

Pink arrows led the way, so there was no way for me or any runners to get lost, and the route returned to Vicars lane - now two ways of runners!

We dropped down to the river, and along to the finish at the racecourse, where I could cheer the first runners through.

Same time and place next year...?!

A much less harassed Laura at the end!

Family of runners - 2nd, 3rd and 6th (I think)

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