The Join In blog: Category "Athletes"

Meet some of the Runners

I was there…

An army of volunteers is needed to make any event run smoothly – particularly a major event. Below are some of the experiences in a variety of roles that the Runners, (or ‘pink army’ of volunteers) for the IAAF World Championships 4-13 August in London, had when they joined in to make 2017 “the best world championships ever”.

Alice Martin was part of Competition Delivery Team, which involved putting out the lane markers and blocks for each race. She also helped with jobs such as putting out the steeplechase hurdles and setting up equipment for the field events.

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Behind the scenes with Rosemary, Malcolm, Victoria and Sarah-Jane

Behind the scenes at the IAAF World Athletics Championships

In the aftermath of the successful IAAF World Athletics Championships, we thought it would be a great idea to catch up with a few volunteers who helped make the Championships such a great success.

We wanted to find out their motivations for volunteering, their experiences during the Championships and, of course, their highlights.  This is what they told us.

Rosemary Head has four children and six grandchildren and spends much of her spare time volunteering in her community.  Having already volunteered at London 2012 and Rio 2016, she didn’t hesitate to put her name forward for London 2017.  Her role was in Spectator Services – meeting the public and dealing with their every need. (more…)

The "pink floyd" high five!

Insights and Highlights

We all know that volunteers make sport happen – at both a grassroots level and at major sporting events – the World Para Athletics Championships are no exception. Volunteers (called Runners) share some of the highlights from their volunteering experience at last week’s Championships in London.

Mary O’Leary –  Team Attaché for Team Ireland reflects on her week:

“Well another great volunteering & sporting event has come to an end. It’s amazing how time goes so fast but during the course of the World Para Athletics so many happy memories and experiences to cherish.  Getting selected to be a ‘Runner’ at the Championships was a real honour but then to be offered the role of Team Attaché for Team Ireland – well, just made my heart full of pride.  The atmosphere is unbelievable from the spectators, fellow volunteers, athletes and support staff – it all creates such a positive vibe that it was impossible not to feel happy to be a part of such an event. And when the school children arrive excited and asking for high-fives – their enthusiasm and spirit for the occasion and willingness to cheer every athlete in the stadium was just wonderful and very contagious.

I enjoyed all aspects of my role and loved supporting my team at all their events.  I was lucky to experience Team Ireland winning 7 medals and that meant 7 medal ceremonies. Being with the team and making sure the athletes’ families were allowed close access to the stage was part of my role at ceremonies. Singing the Irish National Anthem wasn’t compulsory, but I was not going to miss the opportunity, so the fact I got to do it four times, and also to wear my Irish flag earrings – was simply amazing. I even got the chance to wear my shamrock ear-rings on other days. The entire experience was just wonderful and my face must have shown just how much as I overheard someone saying how much ‘Mary loves a ceremony!’

The entire experience has given me so many lovely memories but handing the Irish flag to Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop after they won their gold medals, and then being able to watch them on their lap of honour and being interviewed still holding their flags, was just fabulous. Michael surprised me in the Heroes Village by thanking me for all the support I had given him and the team. What a great team and I feel so proud to have played a small part in the success of the World Para Athletics 2017.

What a great team and I feel so proud to have played a small part in the success of the World Para Athletics 2017″.

Lauren Crawley was originally selected to volunteer as a buggy driver, but through her flexibility and ability to learn quickly she directly contributed to a world record .  Following her experience, she is thinking about qualifying as a field official.

If I had finished my volunteering experience at the World Para Athletics Championships on the first night, I would have been very happy. But it turned out that buggy drivers were also part of the wider equipment team, so with too many buggy drivers signed on, I was directed to the training for fixing chairs into place for the women’s (F52) seated discus throw.

I had some quick, basic training (I heard the last sentence of how to use the very technical ratchets!) before being whisked off to eat as we would be on the field of play for the whole session. Interacting with the officials, athletes, coaches and working closely in a team with other volunteers was great fun and I both learnt and improved on the job. I can even say that I directly helped to contribute to a world record – what an inspiring evening!

 

The rest of my shifts were extremely varied. I did get to drive the buggy on a couple of occasions picking up some weights for the training room and stocking up water in the containers out on the field. Other very random tasks included marking up additional lanes for the guides in the blind races, setting up equipment for the high jump and raking the long/triple jump pits, adding plasticine to the long/triple jump boards and transporting equipment (shot, discus, javelin, chairs for the seated throws) to the training sites and field of play. Through being thrown into a bit of everything and anything, I have met some great (patient and flexible) people, I have also discovered that I am capable of turning my hand to more than I thought I could and have developed muscles that I didn’t know existed! I will definitely look into becoming a field official following these championships. I can’t think of any other sport with so much variety (or so much equipment!).”

As part of the Sport Competition Team, Mandeep Chahal spent much of his time on the track supporting the athletes and had a front row seat for the action

“Back at the call room I started my first event by accompanying the athletes out. There were only six high jumpers on the day and two were from India.  The athletes had variations of lower leg impairments and each approached the bar in a different way. I was amazed at their athleticism and determination in finding different ways to get over that bar. It starting raining lightly so there was always a danger of slipping. Unfortunately, one of the athlete slipped as he was about to take off and he fell backwards hitting the back of his head. The medics rushed on and the competition was halted for about 20 minutes while they checked him out. After a while he stood up to a huge applause from the audience. But unfortunately, it ended his competition and he was taken off for further tests.

The crowd were engaged throughout the entire competition when it finally ended with the Americans taking the gold and the 2 Indian athletes taking silver and bronze. I then led the athletes back to the mixed zone with the crowd cheering all along the walk down the finishing straight. It made me feel so proud to be part of the Championships.

It was then off to lead out the 5000m race athletes. The British crowd were incredible with their support, cheering the athletes as they enter the stadium and throughout the competition – even when they are leaving. No wonder there is a call to have the World Para Athletics in London every time.”

If you were lucky enough to have a ticket for the World Para Athletics Championships, you may well have been greeted by Ritchie Parrott and his team of volunteers.

I think my highlight of the World Para Athletics Championship has to be something that was affectionately known by the Spectator Services team as the ‘pink Floyd’.

 

During every shift, just as the crowd was coming towards the stadium and starting to slow down, a call would come through to the team leaders on the radio to come together at one bridge.  These teams would then form an avenue of Runners who were all armed with the branded foam fingers.  We would then encourage the spectators to come through the middle and to be high-fived by everyone.  We had all sorts of people come through: children, adults, grandparents, people in wheelchairs and those on prosthetic legs.  At one point we were also visited by a Channel Four film crew who had heard what was happening.
It was such a simple but hugely effective way of energising the crowds and making the volunteers feel like they had done a brilliant job of giving the crowds the best possible welcome.”
And they certainly did that!  They showed the amazing spirit of volunteering as part of team and many of them will do it all over again later this week as London welcomes the IAAF Word Athletics Championships to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
From the stars on the BBC Sports Personality red carpet to the clubs across the UK, #BigThankYou rang out!
From the stars on the BBC Sports Personality red carpet to the clubs across the UK, #BigThankYou rang out!

Another year, another brilliant #BigThankYou!

Andy Murray wasn’t the only winner on Sunday night. As the nation voted for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, thousands of you also helped create the UK’s biggest celebration of sports volunteers.

We are a little stunned to say that – thanks to you – #BigThankYou trended on Twitter for the third year in a row.

From Team GB stars calling up volunteers from the red carpet, to local sports and recreation clubs giving their thanks on social media, it was an incredible evening.

Below you can see our highlights and films from another special evening, all in support of volunteers. (more…)

Join In is back on the red carpet with BBC Get Inspired for the #BigThankYou

Join In The Big Thank You 2016

Sports volunteers in the spotlight at BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016!

We are thrilled to announce the launch of #BigThankYou – the UK’s biggest celebration of sports volunteers.

On the weekend of 17-18 December 2016, sports and recreation clubs from around the UK will be sending, shouting, tweeting and posting their photos and thanks to the amazing volunteers that make sport happen in all of our communities. We need you to be part of it – so save the date!

On Sunday 18 December, the celebration will culminate on the red carpet at BBC Sports Personality of the Year in Birmingham – when celebrities and athletes will surprise a host of nominated volunteers with a call to say a #BigThankYou.

Last year’s star callers included tennis world number one Andy Murray, British golfer Rory McIlroy, international rugby hero Dan Carter, Paralympic tennis star Jordanne Wiley and Olympic gold medallists, Max Whitlock, Dina Asher-Smith and Greg Rutherford.

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Adam Peaty making a Big Thank You call to a volunteer
Adam Peaty makes a call to a very happy volunteer at BBC Sports Personality 2015

Nominate a volunteer for a #BigThankYou call

Join In and BBC Get Inspired are back on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year red carpet for the #BigThankYou to sports volunteers.

If you know someone who keeps your clubs ticking over by lending a hand, nominate them below – and be in with a chance of receiving a phone call from a sports star at the 2016 BBC Sports Personality of the Year in Birmingham.

By completing this form you agree to the #BigThankYou Terms and Conditions.

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Be part of the team – say you're #IAmTeamGB today!
Be part of the team – say you're #IAmTeamGB today!

Join the team!

On Saturday 27 August, we’re teaming up with our returning lottery-funded Olympic heroes to create the nation’s biggest ever sports day, I Am Team GB – and you’re invited!

Brought to you by The National Lottery and ITV, there will be lots of great ways to get involved, including thousands of fun, free events across the country.

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We've seen the Team GB kit, but how does it all happen behind the scenes?
We've seen the Team GB kit, but how does it all happen behind the scenes?

Behind the scenes at the Team GB Rio 2016 kitting out – Part 1

You’ve probably seen the new Stella McCartney-designed Team GB kit, recently unveiled for Rio 2016. But ever wondered how they get their athletic hands on it? Andrew Hartopp went behind the scenes as a kitting out volunteer…

Part 1  |  Part 2 


“The process started back on 2 June when over 70,000 items of kit were delivered by lorries into hall 3A of the NEC in Birmingham. These items will kit out over 1,200 members of Team GB, from athletes to coaches and back-up staff.

Huge lorries look tiny in the cavernous NEC Birmingham (more…)

Just some of the army of volunteers at the kitting out. Our author Aileen is third from left.
Just some of the army of volunteers at the kitting out. Our author Aileen is third from left.

Behind the scenes at the Team GB Rio 2016 kitting out – Part 2

Continuing our peek behind the scenes of the Team GB Rio 2016 kitting out in Birmingham, Aileen Cronin shares her volunteering experience.

Part 1  |  Part 2 


Day one as a volunteer

I didn’t know what to expect but I wasn’t disappointed. The training the day before set the scene, and it was clear how important the kitting out was by the amount of planning that had taken place. (more…)

Perri Shakes-Drayton talks about being part of I Am Team GB
Perri Shakes-Drayton talks about being part of I Am Team GB

Top 5 reasons to be part of the nation’s biggest sports day

Wondering what all the fuss is about I Am Team GB? Read on to find out why your local sports club, group or event won’t want to miss out (and Perri Shakes-Drayton agrees!)

1. Grow your club

As a nationwide campaign, I Am Team GB is a great way to gain new members and volunteers.

2. Free kitbox

Sign up before 12 August to get a free I Am Team GB kitbox filled with goodies to promote your event and club.

3. Host an Olympian

To celebrate The National Lottery players’ unique support of Team GB’s athletes, sports stars will be heading to I Am Team GB events. Don’t miss your chance to host a sporting hero.

4. Olympic spirit

Capture the nation’s celebratory mood and get more people through your doors in the spirit of the Games.

5. It’s big!

Brought to you by ITV and The National Lottery, I Am Team GB is set to be the nation’s biggest ever sports day. With ITV showcasing events, this is your chance to be part of a national TV campaign. ITV is even switching off for an hour on the 27 August!


– If you’ve already got a Join In Club Profile, login and add an I Am Team GB event on Saturday 27 August. It’s free and easy!

Add an event

– If you’ve new to Join In and I AM TEAM GB, simply create a free page and I Am Team GB event.

Create a club page today