Sunday 4:45am my alarm goes off, yes it was my wake up call! Why was I awake at this time you ask? I was getting ready to participate in the London Marathon, I hadn’t trained for the marathon at all so you can imagine how I was feeling… thank goodness I was only volunteering as part of the AKD Sport division and NOT actually running.
This was my first time at the London Marathon, I was excited to be part of this historical event which I had watched a few times on TV. I couldn’t believe I was going to be there, live. I arrived at the Start location in South East London at 6:45am and instantly appreciated the magnitude of being part of this amazing event. Even my taxi driver wow-ed and oo-ed as we drove into the location. The signage set, the number of people stationed at entries, security, multimedia equipment set up, lavish decorations at the Start line – everything was spectacular.
Once I finally located my team (I got lost, as the grounds were huge!) I was given a London Marathon: badge, T-shirt, light jacket and a New Balance hat along with some much-needed chocolate and water.
It was great to meet the other volunteers who were from all walks of life, which inherently is a reflection of the London Marathon. The volunteers we met shared their stories, from those who had been volunteering for the past 10 years to a gentleman who shared how he took part in his first marathon at 52 (with a pacemaker) and now is 66! We also met a young 19-year-old woman who was so happy to have started volunteering at the London Marathon last year and chose to do so again this year.
At around 8:55am we were briefed again by our team leader and stationed at our post to direct the participants around the course. As we waited for the runners to begin we met some locals who shared their excitement about having the marathon at their doorstep. We also got to hear the stories of friends and family of runners who shared their stories, a lady shared how she had lost her husband last year and was motivated to begin running, we listened to stories of a man who was simply looking for a new challenge and decided to run and was now on his 10th marathon, to a friend of a runner who shared the story of her friend running after having long-Covid albeit this was her second marathon.
As the marathon began we knew our role was important, even though it felt small. My colleague Shola and I worked together as volunteers on the day, she adds: “Though it may not have been the biggest role, directing people through the course and cheering them along made me feel a part of something big. Seeing the joy on people’s faces when you called out their names was heartwarming”.
The great thing about the London Marathon is that it is truly accommodating to all, we saw Paralympians, elite runners to those simply walking, lest we forget those attempting to break world records. We saw young and those older, black, white, abled and disabled.
“…no matter how small you feel the role you are playing, do it with excellence and passion as it is truly adding value.”Faith.A , Marketing and Comms Manager, AKD.
What stood out to me is a life lesson – we all start this race in life, each person’s race will look different however all we have to do is to show up and take part. And no matter how small you feel the role you are playing do it with excellence with passion as it is truly adding value. Shola adds; “This was the first time I had interacted with the London Marathon and it was such an amazing experience. Knowing I was giving someone that extra push they needed because someone was rooting for them was an amazing feeling and I will definitely be volunteering again!” I too echo this sentiment.
Thank you to the amazing London Marathon Events team.
Written by Faith.A and Shola Thomas.
AKD Solutions has worked with London Marathon Events and other Sport organisations helping them maintain a competitive edge in areas of; research, a vision of inclusivity, ACE and much more. We’d love to spark brilliance with you, contact us to discuss how we can disrupt to create something greater.