I have volunteered for the last two years at the London Marathon for Heads Together and both years have been very different but amazing experiences.
In 2017, when Heads Together was London Marathon Charity of the Year, I was part of the team that were at the finish line escorting runners to the Royal Society for food, refreshments and special assistance. This was a really special experience for me, and for a lot of the runners, since not everyone had friends and family to meet them at the finish line. To be that first person to congratulate them after their amazing achievement was something else. Sometimes people were limping and needed a shoulder to lean on and sometimes people would break down crying, so being able to be that person to support them when they needed it was something very unique and so rewarding.
In 2018 I had a very different experience. This time I was part of a a cheer team at the Cutty Sark (around Mile 7). Once the team was split to either side of the road, the barriers started to fill up. Then all of sudden the wheelchairs raced by, shortly followed by Mo Farah and the professional runners which was very exciting. The street would empty again for a short period before the swarm of runners packed the road.
It was something quite extraordinary, the sheer volume of people running past. Our team’s job was to pick out the Heads Together runners and give them as much encouragement and support as possible as they ran by. Something that I could really tell made a difference was the fact that the Heads Together running tops had the runners’ name on the front and back, so when they could hear us shouting their name and giving encouragement you could see a lift in their spirits.
When they could hear us shouting their name and giving encouragement you could see a lift in their spirits.
Of course, there is constant cheering along the whole route, but for the runners to hear people cheering specifically for them was great. They would smile or send a high-five your way, and knowing that I can help those incredible people on their amazing feat is why I shall be there again this year to do more of the amazing work Heads Together does. To be part of that unique marathon buzz and sense of community was a privilege, and with Heads Together you can really make a difference.
Sign up to volunteer for Heads Together at the 2019 London Marathon here.