When I was first asked about finding a mile manager for the MK Marathon earlier this year I knew that finding someone would be tough, mainly because I was certain no one knew what it was about and as such it represents the big ‘unknown’. Most people are happy to take things on when they understand the task, but when asking for people to support an unknown entity, then they are far less likely to come forward. Not having done this myself before either didn’t help, as the important reference point required to get the message across wasn’t there.
Being an ‘anything goes’ sort of person, I thought I’d take it on myself – what could possibly go wrong yeah? That’s sort of my motto anyway, so that was that! The first task was to assemble a team of marshals for the allocated mile. And oh yes we had a crack team of marshals! LFR had mile 21, which stipulated 10 marshal points and on the surface of it, you could ask why so many, but after the first recce of the section of the course, it became apparent. A lovely section of path, but plenty of twists and turns to throw the tired marathoner off course easily. So back to the team of marshals: I wanted to get the recruitment of this out of the way as soon as possible as LFR has its own race to properly recruit for and I wanted to assemble this team for MK with no impact to other activities.
Team assembled, familiarisation of the section was the next activity. Understanding who would go where and what the likely issues would be. Simples! A couple of recce runs of the area sorted this out, which turned out to be just the ticket. We always talk about how great it is to get out and run somewhere different, well this was all the justification I needed to get out of the local area for a different run.
So with a team assembled, recce runs done, all that remained is to ensure all the team met up at the required time, got into position and had everything they needed to marshal the section of course. While all that was going on, I cycled round the team a bit and did some of my own style of runner encouragement.
Having over 20 LFR runners on the marathon, it turns out that having so many LFR marshals on the mile 21 section was a great thing! We all got the chance to wave, shout and otherwise encourage our team through to the next mile and this was very well received. Its such a great feeling to see people visibly pick themselves up when they hear you screaming their name, urging them onwards.
Whoever takes the mile manager role on next year ought to not be apprehensive about it. It was an easy and thoroughly enjoyable process and extremely enjoyable on the day! I would hope that next year people will be scrambling to do this, so good luck to them, and thanks again to the crack team that marshalled. You were ace!