Meet the Runners

Meet the volunteers at the World Para Athletics Championships

IPC World Para Athletics championships are underway in London.  Like all major sporting events, they need the help of volunteers.  We thought you would like to meet a few of them and hear a little about what they do and what motivates them to volunteer.

Mary O’Leary is a 57 year old retired Midwifery Matron who now works part-time as a Specialist Advisor with the Care Quality Commission and also as Supporter Liaison Officer with West Ham football team on their home match days.  Mary describes herself as regular volunteer.  She has volunteered at two Olympic Games – in London and Rio – but also volunteers in her community, often in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park where she is a member of the Conservation Team.  We asked Mary what her role will be during the Championships.

“For the World Para Athletics I am Team Attaché for Team Ireland and I can’t tell you how proud and delighted I am to support the team during their London 2017 experience. I am based in the Team hotel but move to all areas as required. The role involves being a link between the team and local organisers and liaising with the Team manager  to resolve any issues and help make their stay as comfortable as possible”

Mary is proud to volunteer at London 2017  and contribute to making the event a success and a good experience for athletes, spectators,  and everyone involved.  As she lives and volunteers locally she is keen to share her knowledge and experience of the Olympic Park, the stadium and London.

“What a great opportunity to meet new friends, have fun and support my local community and promote volunteering”

Lauren Crawley lives in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.  She works as a Health and Safety Officer for a biotech company. Her first experience of volunteering was as a 10 year old at her local tennis club.  On her gap year in 2004 she volunteered at her first Olympic Games in Athens.  In 2012 she was a Games Maker in London and last year volunteered in Rio.  When asked what inspired her to volunteer at these Championships, Lauren said:

“At university, I assisted a student with arthrogryposis. Together we went to watch the first Paralympic world cup in Manchester. We found it extremely inspiring. I am looking forward to being a part of giving that feeling to others.”

Her role during the Championships will be as a buggy driver based at the stadium. The buggies could  be used to transport equipment to and around the field of play, kit from the call rooms to the post event control room (where the athletes go when they finish their event), or even people from the training track to the stadium.

Ritchie Parrott 48, lives and works quite near to the Olympic Park in Harlow, Essex.  He is a “seasoned and experienced volunteer” and has worked at many of the big world class sporting events including the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Tour de France and the Rugby World Cup.

We asked Ritchie what he would be doing at this summer’s Championships.

“For the Para Athletics I will be back in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park working as a Team Leader for Spectator Services.  I will be part of a daily team of around 150 who will be based in the park making sure that visitors receive the best possible welcome. We will be helping spectators find their way around the park, guiding them towards the stadium and checking and scanning their tickets.  During the Paralympics I was based in the Athletes’ Village so I just knew that I had to be back in the park to make sure that we tapped into that magic from those golden days of five years ago.  I want to make sure that these Championships are just as magical and that spectators leave with a big smile on their faces and take home some very special memories. 

Jo Vince describes herself as a “volunteering junkie”.   She works as a nurse and so when she was offered the role of chaperone with the Clean Athletics Team she knew it would be her “dream role

This is almost a “dream” role for me as I’m a nurse in real life, and have always been very critical of athletes who cheat to win medals, trophies and tournaments. It doesn’t matter what sport it is.

Jo has been working during the pre-competition phase, visiting several of the team hotels in the City, carrying out pre-competition blood and urine tests.

You can read more about Jo’s experience and the experience of other volunteers in our next blog, giving you an insight into what it’s like to volunteer at the World Para Athletics Championships.


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