Marshaling at Northampton Running Festival

Today I worked at the Northampton Running Festival in exchange for a free entry at the Shires & Spires 35m ultra in June.

Northampton Running Festival race startThe Running Festival consisted of a 10k, half marathon or full marathon in short laps around the lake.  Three laps for a 10k, six for a half and twelve for the full marathon.  Each lap you ran you were given a coloured hair scrunchie so that you could easily keep track of how many laps you were on.  I’ve never run a lap race before and to be honest had been put off them in the past, but the feedback we received from runners was great and I’m now of the mindset that I would prefer counting to 12 than I would 26.2!  Lovely seeing your support every couple of miles as well I would imagine.

With the hot weather we’ve been having lately there have been a lot of flies out around the lake, but the weather today was forecast as rain all day.  Luckily, we got the best of both worlds – no hot sun and no real rain – so no midges and no soggy spectators either!

My first job was on the registration desk and this was got busy very quickly!  I vaguely remember hearing that we had had an extra 70 people sign up on the day at one point.  My main task was to hand out packs for pre-registered 10k runners but I jumped onto the half marathon pile when Laura got busy and passed race t-shirts out as quickly as possible!

After this I got to play with all of the shiny awards for winners on the prize table.

Northampton Running Festival trophies


Probably the closest I’ll get to any of these beauties.  Boo hoo…One day…!  😛

Then I moved over to the drinks table where my fingers got progressively more and more purple as the cold wind blew over the spilled water on my hands!  As runners went past us for their next lap we had two people each side of the track handing out water/energy drinks/jelly babies/gels and 9bars.  I filled water, moved water to front of table, cleared up discarded cups, repeat!

As I’ve mentioned before I love being able to support runners at races and feel like I’m giving something back by cheering runners on.  This was a great spot, and with it being a multi-lap course we got to know several of the runners’ quirks over the next five hours.

A gesture that really touched me though was from Carol-Ann, a member of the 100 marathon club.  I’ve seen her several times before – chatting to her for quite a while at the Milton Keynes marathon last year, and then passing her at Shires & Spires last Summer.  She is quickly heading up to the 300 marathon mark at the moment!  I love hearing from runners in the 100 Marathon Club and we had quite a few in Northampton today!

She sped through the finish on her final lap to ask us how many more laps ‘David’, the youngish runner behind her had to go.  He thought he was on his last lap, although his Garmin was telling him he was only at 22 miles.  Carol-Ann thought he had probably miscounted but he was getting very frustrated that he would have to go round yet again, having spent the last twenty minutes believing he was on his last lap.  We confirmed that he did indeed have another lap still to go, and despite having just finished the last lap of her own marathon Carol-Ann quickly grabbed a bottle of water, removed her chip and number and encouraged the remaining crowd to cheer the guy through, then went on to run the final lap with him so that he didn’t give up on his goal.   Such a small gesture, but one which I know was appreciated immensely by David and his family.

We had been giving out spot prizes of Easter eggs throughout the races, and these two each received an Easter Egg.

Northampton Running Festival Easter eggs

The last lady through the marathon was over six hours and it was nearly 5pm by the time I left Delapre.  I was ready for a calzone tea when I got home!

Sausage and beef calzone


This time I put beef, sausage, leek and mushrooms inside.  Yum!

Dessert was a nibble on my Easter egg from Dan.  I picked him up a Guinness egg yesterday, and he got me a ChokABlok berries egg.  I love white chocolate and berries, so this was the perfect dessert!

ChokABlok Easter egg

What small gestures have touched you or have you seen make a difference to somebody this year?
How many Easter eggs will you be munching this week?!  Did you have a more traditional Easter dinner?


14 thoughts on “Marshaling at Northampton Running Festival

  1. Woohoo – lap races 😀 Obviously the 12 laps would be right up my street, and those trophies are absolutely fantastic. I’m so glad you had good weather for the day as well – midges are a pet hate of mine and I’m a total wimp when it comes to being bitten by them.

    The 100 Marathon Club people always amaze me. It would be a dream to be a member of the club one day, but honestly it would take me a lifetime. They really are a whole other level of amazing when it comes to running.

    Jess recently posted…Back From The Dead?My Profile

    1. I did think of you when it came to the laps!
      I’m beginning to think joining the 100 Marathon Club would be a great long term target to set myself. I’m never going to be a quick runner and this is something I could gradually work towards. I’ve got 5 marathon + distances covered, with potentially another five ultras/marathons this year (if I remain injury-free!)…I’m thinking about it… I doubt it would take you a lifetime! 😛 You’ve probably got a fair few already ticked off having run quite a few just since I began reading your blog?

    1. It was really tasty. A nice little Easter treat! There’s several other flavours available and I want to try some more now! #addicted!

  2. that egg…. and that calazone…… yes. you sure know how to re-fuel after a long day. this looks like so much fun!!!! and what a great thing to volunteer for! i love that you got a free entry for a FREAKING 35 MILE LONG RACE. YOU CRAZY LADY. :):):)

    but really that is awesome. I ate…. way too many jelly beans yesterday – those are my weakness. not so much the chocolate but oh man, jelly beans…… overload.
    Lillian recently posted…Citrus Spring Pound Cake: with a can of popMy Profile

    1. Haha! Runner refueling is great! We get away with a lot! 😛
      Dan is a sweeties guy, but I’m all about the chocolate. That’s how we divide up our pic ‘n’ mix bags as well! Jelly beans would just not cut it for Easter for me!

    1. Marshaling a lap race has actually made me want to try one now!
      Yeah, I’m running the Shires & Spires 35 in June, as well as the Conti Lightning Run 12 hour run in May, hopefully the Grim Reaper 70 in August and finishing with Dusk ’til Dawn 50 (take 2!) in October, with a few smaller distance races inbetween.

  3. I thought I would not like laps, but our Parkrun is 3 laps (and an out and back bit) and I like the fact that you can monitor how you are doing. And the sport relied run I did was 6 miles on a small track (24 laps I think?)- I am glad I had my Garmin to help me keep track but in fact I did manage to keep count! I can see how they would be good as you know what terrain etc to expect, and like you say 12 laps are easier to count than 26 miles!
    I was given some chockabloc for Christmas- dark chocolate with cherries (think it was called black forest)- it tasted so good!
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…A grown up EasterMy Profile

    1. Yes, I think laps are beginning to grow on me! Not sure I would have enjoyed 24 laps over six miles, although I think I would always feel like I was progressing which would help. The scrunchies we gave runners as they went through each lap helped them to count where they got up to.
      I shall have to check out the black forest Chokablok as well. Sounds good! :)

  4. Wow that is so nice of that lady. What a rock star. I’d LOVE to be a member of the 100 Marathon Club. I’m hoping that my body will get used to marathons over the next few years that I can start doing them more regularly…that is the plan.
    We got the billionaire version of that raspberry egg! It’s got caramel pieces and things like that. I love eggs like that. They’re a little more exciting than just plain chocolate ones. Enjoy! Sounds like you deserve it :)
    Anna @AnnaTheApple recently posted…Post marathon – all the foods?My Profile

    1. She was fantastic. I got a lump in my throat! That’s great news that you want to do more and more marathons! I’m so glad you had a good race at Paris. I’d like to work on my marathon total to be able to join as well. I’ve got 5 races covered, with another 5 potentials this year. Hopefully it will come round sooner than I think! :)
      Agree about the eggs needing to be interesting! Haha! It has been nibbled on lots over the past couple of days. I love Millionaire’s shortbread, so will have to hunt out the Billionaire egg as well!

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