Monday 19 May 2014

Hope24 Event - A Marshal's review

Hello all,

On 10/11th May this year there was a little event called Hope24. A 24 hour ultra event in Plympton, Devon just outside Plymouth. An event I didn't take part in as a runner but as a marshal. This is my review based on that.

One of the organisers messages me about this event few months down line bia twitter as we had a bit of local connection and asked me to spread the word around the ship I was on, asked if I was going to participate and as I was due to be away as it was programmed at the time I couldn't. Story of my life at the moment not sure if we are sailing or not most of the time.

Anyways that was what I knew about the event and the extent of my participation. A couple weeks before knowing I was no longer being away at this point I answered a call on facebook from Danny Slay wanting marshals for the event. As it was 24 hours there was time slots to help out with. From setting up on the Friday to Marshalling through the event and then helping take down the event after it had finished on the Sunday.

I pledged mine, the wife and my little 3 year olds support to marshal during the busy period of 1200-1800 on the Saturday so from the race start for 6 hours. As it was 6 hours and we had a 3 year old we decided would split it into two halfs and take turns marshaling and dealing with our boy.

And that's how it began!

The event -

Hope24 is a charity event organised by Danny Slay and his firefighting oppos to raise money for a charity called Hope for Children. All proceeds went to this charity and if you raised 250 or more you got your entry fee back. You received a tech t-shirt and special buff at the start and a medal at the end. The team had already raised money by completing MdS 2014 and this was an additional thing they wanted to do.

It's a 5 mile challenging course around Newham Park in Plympton. Multi Terrain with some "little" hills or slopes as we told the runners as they passed us. To which they either ran as solos or relay teams and the objective to run as many laps as they could in 24 hours.

As this was the first time this event had been organised no one knew how well it was going to go!

Our part -

We arrived just before 12 and touched base with the organisers, got our radio and high vis jackets and made our way lead by one of the organisers to the shooting ground part. This area was one of the busy sections and required marshaling for two reasons. Firstly to make sure the runners kept to the left as they apporached the second of the little slops (3 mile mark) and when they returned at the 4 mile to make sure they went the right way. Secondly was a reason we made a big thing of and that was giving them the morale and support they needed as they approached the little slope and then as they made their way back to the start for final mile of the lap.

Soon enough we arrived, luckily brought a little pop up selter for the boy to go in if he wanted as the weather was off and on with rain, sun and wind. Then round the corner the runners started to come thick and fast as we told them route to go we wished them the all best on their way. Clapping and cheering!

Then not too long. After the runners made their way back across the shooting ground towards us amd we showed them the way to go through one of the clay pigeon shooting areas. Informing them that they weren't to worry no shooting was going on as they went past us. I did however when they went round the fence out of our sight start shouting "pull." Luckily getting laughs as I did, which meant it only had the effect I was after.

Now originally as I said we was going to split the 6 hours between us but we started to enjoy what were doing noticing the effect and the smiles were having as we cheered them on as they clocked off their laps. Especially as our little boy was cheering and clapping and shouting well done to them as well. For a whole 6 hours all 3 of us were giving large in support! As we were the only people supporting down this end of the course it seemed to be well needed especially as time went on.

Soon the 6 hours were over and saddness came not just to us but to the runners but we didn't know how much til the next day. We we offered to help pack up as well it finished and we saw Danny and told him we will be back to help pack up and off we went.

Lying in bed tired thinking of the runners still out there smashing in the miles we chatted about the event and how much we enjoyed it even though we weren't running. We woke up the next morning and wife turned me and said "Let's go early and support them". Off went went and arrived at 9am 3 hours earlier than planned and when we got there asked if anyone was up at the shooting ground. No was the answer, we knew we had to go there!

We got there and as soon as the runners saw us, they were smiling and saying how glad they were to see us!
Wow, we never knew we made that much difference. Soon we were clapping and cheering, which soon turned into clapping, cheering, high 5'ing. Everyone loved high 5ing with the boy even those that were too serious at the start of the race and didn't were now doing it with the boy. This then turned into clapping, cheering high 5ing and a 2.5 person mexican wave! I don't think we missed a single runner go by!

The comments made to us as we did this, showed us we made the right decision. We eventually made to the finish to watch them all come in. Our good friends John who ran solo completing more miles ever even though never trained properly and Matt Bisco who came second after 125 miles. Only just beaten by Richard Keefe at 130 miles. Truely amazing efforts showing how limits can be pushed. Those limits were pushed by everyone!!!!

Runners came over to us and thanked us for our support but it wasn't about us, it was about them and helping the event. As a runner I found that the running community is amazing and we proved how important the job of a marshal is that weekend.

Next year I plan on running as it is the only event I have helped at that I wish I actually ran in. 
Well done all the runners, Team Hope24 for an amazing event and well done to my wife for being a great marshal and not all least my 3 year old who clapped, cheered, high 5'd and mexican waved for 9 hours in total! It was great to see friends and make some new ones along the way.

Next year can not roll on quick enough!


1 comment:

  1. Well done you guys were really brilliant from griffo aka boyo


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