We relish in being able to share the stories that get you to the start line and our volunteers are no different. A great number of our crew started as a volunteer who may never have thought it possible to get across the finish line.
We spoke to three of our crew to learn more about their stories:
How long have you been volunteering with OSB Events?
Michael: This will be my third year, the last two years I’ve done quite a lot because I haven’t been competing and then the year before, probably half of the events.
Chris: I’ve been volunteering since early 2015, my first event being Woodhall Spa. I was camping over and saw the guys setting up and thought I’d offer to help to expect the usual response of “sorry mate can’t because of insurance etc”, but they were very friendly and happy to let me join in and the rest is history.
Ben: I first volunteered with OSB Events at the Dirty Dash in Autumn 2014, it was cold and muddy, but the sun came out and my overriding memory of the day is laughing, but I can’t remember with who or why…
What came first, competing or volunteering?
Michael: Competing, because my first Tri was in 2013. My first OSB event was in 2014 and it must have been the Lincoln Sprint Triathlon. I think I did all three [Midlands Sprint Series] that year. The following year I did a couple of events and [Outlaw] Nottingham Half.
Chris: I competed at 2 events before volunteering, my first one being David Lloyd Lincoln Triathlon [now Lincoln Sprint Triathlon].
Ben: Volunteering definitely came first. I had absolutely no intention of running around a cold field on a Sunday morning.
What inspired you to take part in an event?
Michael: I had Outlaw Nottingham Half as an event to do last year, but it just didn’t work out, so I’ll be doing it this year. My head is clearer now and I’ve been training since the end of October. Hopefully, I’m on target… the training could be going better.
Chris: I wanted to take part in the [Saucony] Cambridge Half Marathon 2019 as it fell nicely into place in my marathon training for another race later in the year. I’d also seen the race and been part of the crew in 2018 and thought it was really well organised.
Ben: I’ve been to the Outlaw [events] as a volunteer and a spectator and always aspired to it, but ‘one day when I have time’ and working away midweek, it was never going to happen. I promised myself I’d go for the big one the second I worked and lived at home, which came in October 2017. I’d been home 2 days before signing up [for 2018].
Do you find yourself looking forward to taking part at an OSB Event after volunteering? Does it help knowing people?
Michael: I had volunteered before I did Nottingham, but I didn’t know everyone as well as I know everyone now. It’s nice to see familiar faces, I know people cheer you on anyway, but when you see someone you know and your name is being shouted out it makes you feel a little bit better. So I’m looking forward to doing the full and I’m doing a few of the sprint distances.
Chris: Yes, it is fair to say it’s easier to enter an event after crewing it as you know the setup and how things work. It is always fantastic racing when you know a large amount of the crew, as not only do you trust the people who are looking after you, but the support is fantastic! It’s such a nice family we have that keep you going when you’re tired and need a little encouragement.
Ben: Absolutely! Now I’ve been at it a couple of years it’s great knowing that there will be a familiar face at every turn or feed station and they’re always ready with a shout and a gee-up.
Michael, you say you’ve entered Southwell Sprint Triathlon. That will be turning 25 in 2019, what’s your opinion on the course?
Michael: The first time I had done it the course was different, so it was very hard. You used to bike up the hill off of the field and you had to run around the field three times. The course now, I’ve only done it once, but I’ve ridden it a few times in training and it’s brilliant, biking is my main discipline, it’s got a few ups and downs, but it’s a nice course.
The dreaded question, how is your training going?
Michael: It’s going okay, I’m part of 100% Tri and I think we’re three months in. I work away a lot and over time, swimming is the one discipline I’m not getting my head around a lot. I can go running at any time or go on the turbo and cycle. Like any other person, some days are fine other days you’re struggling after 10 minutes. At the moment it’s going alright.
Chris: My training is going fairly well. I’m currently on a base fitness routine, slowly increasing the running distance and plenty of gym work to try and keep the weight off.
Ben: Slow start if I’m honest…I might have put on a couple of pounds on at the end of 2018. I’m putting the triathlons down for a bit to focus on my running; training for one discipline is much easier!
Final question, do you have any race day superstitions or traditions?
Michael: For Triathlon I tend to wear, orange and yellow socks because that’s the colours of the charity I’m supporting – Ethan’s House. I always try and have my breakfast three hours before, some of these kinds of things, are what you’re supposed to do anyway. I can’t seem to eat solid food before a race, so it’s a liquid diet for me on race day and I prep my water bottles and such beforehand.
Chris: On a race day, or especially the day before, I make sure I’ve got some quiet time so I can sort out all my kit I’ll need and usually get it packed ready for the morning. I usually wake up a bit too early and eat breakfast to make sure I’ve got some good energy and then embrace the nerves.
Ben: Lists! Long, detailed, twice-checked, tested, typed, printed, re-printed listed. That and of course, reccie as much as possible. This is the only way I can get to the start line calm and collected.