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South Downs Way Relay Marshalling Report

Well as so often is the case, the thought of something is very different to the reality. Persuaded beautifully by Rosie, we signed up to Marshall at the impressive South Downs Relay. To be honest, hours of hanging around watching others exercise wasn’t my first choice for a Summer Sat morning, but….. Oh how we underestimated the pleasure of feeling part of an event and representing our club where we are fortunate to have a great bunch of people, either admirably running or in support.
Having committed, imagine our despair at preparing to leave home with the rain SDM7absolutely falling out of the sky. Sorry runners, you at least are moving, the prospect of just standing in such conditions …… But we wouldn’t let Nick out support team organiser down. Well they say the sun shines on the righteous…..   After a team briefing, Liz and I took up our post and after a very short spell of light rain, we found ourselves basking in sunshine amongst our beautiful countryside. We even managed to find time for the coffee we brought with us! The excitement of waiting for the runners and the importance of shouting their numbers to Danielle and Fabian SDM6who were stopping them from running into the road and directing the next team member off, made the few hours fly by. Well I say directed, ordered was more like! Danielle certainly found her voice and how perfect it was for today – crystal clear! As 2 cyclists riding the South Downs Way said, heard for miles before seen!!
We kept the local residents sweet by being gatekeeper not just for the runners but for every time they moved their cars in and out! We also spoke with so many lovely people and almost sounded like we knew what we were talking about as we described the event going on! One chap even expressed interest in participating so we directed him to the HJs website – always recruiting!
SDM5Nick did a great job on checking on us all and making us feel appreciated and that we played an important part in the event. Even the race Director, Richard and his son chatted with us!
Once Chris confirmed the last runner was through and we could close ‘our leg’ of the race, there was a lovely mini get-together over the most delicious chocolate brownies made by Tina and excellent toffee apple cake made by Cathy, (great volunteering Girls at Club Night!)! As always, we manage to get food involved in any kind of social!
So, anyone knowing in the future they won’t run the South Downs Relay (and nothing changed our minds on that one today! Full respect to the HJs team though!), don’t hesitate to get involved in the support team – it was good fun with great camaraderie.
Well played all.
More photographs from the day can be found here.
The marshals who joined me at Saddlescombe were awesome. The whole thing ran so smoothly it was like clockwork. If the same helpers would do it again next year I would be very pleased to organise it again. Thanks guys

And from Chris:

Saddlescombe checkpoint manned successfully. 60 teams passed through.
One team considered that Saddlescombe is one of the two most difficult checkpoints to handle – because of the busy road, poor visibility, layout of the junctions, and need for teams to park elsewhere.
Thanks to all of our Joggers for their efforts marshalling.
Danielle’s work was particularly noted – in shouting start orders from the far side of the road.  Loud and authoritative, and much admired.
Some wondered whether she took particular pleasure in being able to shout at the mainly male field of runners!!