Officials, who needs 'em? WE DO...
Where would we be without them? Yes they can be a real pain when they hurry you on after you finish in a crumpled mess at the end of that strength-sapping race, when all you want to do is find the nearest spot to cough your lungs up. But let’s face it officials, organisers and marshalls make our world go round.
After all, standing on a mountain top, at the end of a cross country race or ultra event, in all weather, for hours, isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. There has been a shuffling of chairs like no other at the top of UK Athletics recently, with Van the Man coming in to knock heads together and coerce the management and officialdom of the sport into one-goal thinking, that of success. But this is the pinnacle of officialdom, the creme de la creme of pen-pushing and flesh-pressing.
At the other end of the spectrum there are a thousand unsung heroes that serve us, the runners. They get little in the way of recognition apart from a small obituary in the local newsletter, (or even Athletics Weekly if they have really stood out) when they go belly up after 60 years of service with their clubs. A round of applause at the HQ, by tired and weary athletes waiting to get their prizes, if they are lucky. Money? Well that’s just unheard of.
So, I challenge you. Next you finish that race, take a minute to look at the officials who have made your day possible. Why not even imagine what time they may have arrived at the venue, and what time they might get to go home. Imagine the hours that they have spent helping athletes, of all ages and ability, perhaps even giving up their own running aspirations for others the aspire to theirs. Why not, why not go and thank them, personally, and make them feel appreciated for what is often a thankless task.