What it's like being an event marshal

Happy riders collecting their treats at the last Tour of the Hills marshaling point. Photo by Roy Wigmore

What it's like being an event marshal

Having previously acted as a marshal on much bigger events in Surrey such as the Prudential Ride 100 and the Surrey Half Marathon, I thought I knew what to expect when undertaking a similar role on the Tour of The Hills Challenge Ride, organised by the local Member Group West Surrey CTC. How wrong I was!

This was much more interesting and, being a smaller event, I immediately felt involved. Having armed myself with a good supply of jelly babies and jelly beans for entrants, I went and collected from the start point all the materials I would need to man the checkpoint in Cranleigh, which I was running with a fellow member from the group.

We were the last checkpoint before the end but also only two miles short of the most testing climb of the day, the 21% Barhatch Road. Warning signs were put out to let riders know they were approaching us, supplies of water and confectionery got ready, a track pump and, most importantly, a couple of seats and a table arranged. We were scheduled to be at the roadside for just over four hours.

It was great to hear how impressed they were with the route and the organisation.

Roy Wigmore, event marshal

We soon had the fastest riders appearing up the slight incline before our marshalling point. Like all the riders that followed, they had time for a chat and were in an excellent frame of mind, despite having ridden nearly all the toughest climbs in the Surrey Hills already. It was great to hear how impressed they were with the route and the organisation.

Equally, we encouraged all riders that the end was in sight when they would be supplied with refreshments in the knowledge that would have completed one of the toughest Audax rides on the calendar. Most seemed to know that the lengthy Barhatch Road climb needed to be tackled first. If not, we gently suggested they should be prepared!

Amid dealing with the cyclists we also had to deal with a rather large stray dog that accompanied the first group of entrants which came through. This tested our detective skills to the full but we were successful in reuniting the dog with a very grateful owner.

I would thoroughly recommend acting as a marshal on club events.

Roy Wigmore, event marshal

I would thoroughly recommend acting as a marshal on club events. You get the chance to meet some great fellow cyclists. Additionally, working as part of a team in delivering a successful ride which, in our case, 150 entrants enjoyed is always a plus. It also gives you the opportunity to give back to the organisation, which is always good, and is a very enjoyable day out.

 

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