Roz and Eilidh, taking their club responsibilities seriously, had been working behind the scenes for ages to plan not one, but two Fleet Feet organised events on Sunday, May 29th: the Scottish Champs Aquathlon, and the Mixed Team Relay. It was the least I could do to
offer up my services as a marshal not refuse when asked to be a marshal. Considering Eilidh and Roz had entered themselves, as well as me and Ny as a ‘mixed’ team (without technically seeking our firm approval) I was going to be there anyway, so why not help out? As it turned out, marshaling was a fun and rewarding job! Plus you get to wear a super sexy neon marshal bib.
Ny and I were given the highly important task of registering the athletes and telling them to remove their clothing so we could mark them up with their race numbers. It was a job we took very seriously…
Don’t let the photo fool you. We were actually very efficient. So much so that we have been asked to repeat our duties for the sprint triathlon coming up on Saturday, June 11th (enter HERE before Wednesday!).
Once registration was done with, and everyone had been successfully checked in, we took up our roles as counters for the swim exit for the aquathlon, while Roz and Eilidh assisted swimmers getting out of the loch.
Once everyone was safely out of the water it was finish funnel duty time, but as a small child army seemed to have the medals, goody bags, and post-race refreshments under control, we cheered on the first finishers before heading back to REGISTRATION 2.0: THE RELAY!
We started handing out race packs and bundles of timing chips, as well as marking up the athletes (some for the second time, requiring some creative penmanship), but as we were both also taking part, with Ny going first and me going second, we eventually abandoned ship, leaving Ny’s husband at the helm, so we could set up in transition.
Our original race order was: Ny, me, Roz, and then Eilidh. Our entire race was a bit of a comedy, however, and things did not go entirely as planned. Ny did start (as Eilidh was in charge of race briefing/honking the honker to start the swim), but as soon as she got out of the loch, she tumbled in the most spectacular way:
None of use could help her for laughing, but thankfully she was fine, and made her way to transition for the bike.
Once everyone was out of the loch, I wetsuited up and luckily had the opportunity to get into the water and fill my wetsuit with the ‘tropical’ 15 degree water before heading to the handover pen. Official triathlon Scotland rules state that you must touch your teammate somewhere on the body for handover to be official, so we had casually agreed to a friendly bum slap. As soon as Ny was in view at the end of the run, I presented myself, and once slapped, ran towards the loch.
Thankfully I could get my head into the water straight away without too much bother, and the 300m swim flew by. My comedy moment, however, came during the bike.
Though short, it was not without drama. You cycle for about 1.5 miles out to a cone that you are supposed to navigate around before the return leg. However…. Katherine (responsible for the montage of pain in my previous post) had mentioned she was going to photograph ‘pain faces’ during the race as she was the marshal at the turnaround. I guess I was focusing too much on posing and not enough on cycling, because next thing I knew my chain wass off and I was falling at embarrassingly low speed towards the asphalt. Apparently Katherine didn’t have the heart to snap a shot of me laughing flat on my back, but she did catch me getting back on my bike to finish. Thankfully, it’s blurry enough that you can’t make out the blood running down my leg. Or on my face.
It was on the return leg on the bike that Roz’s ‘comedy moment’ came in. Except not quite comedy, as she flew past me on her bike (she was meant to be going third in our relay…) shouting something about “the ambulance”. As it turns out, one of our club mates, Tracy, who was at Loman with us doing the middle distance (and training for Celtman), came off her bike in transition and badly hurt her knee. Roz then had to jump on her bike to notify the marshals at the turnaround that an ambulance was en route.
Arriving back at transition, I slipped into my trainers for the 1.5km run around the loch, not knowing if Eilidh or Roz (or anyone) would be waiting in handover for me. Still, not wanting to let down the team -because we were totally winning in 3rd from last place – I pushed on along the course that I fondly remember from the Winter X-country series a few years back. Being such a short distance, I wasn’t worried about my knee crapping out, and it’s the first time in a year and a half that I’ve been able to just get lost in the moment running without worrying about whether or not I’d be capable of finishing.
I’d managed to overtake the one guy who overtook me in transition before the end, and as I approached the handover pen I saw Eilidh waiting for me in her wetsuit. As we had agreed, I had a running start to my bum slap effort, and even ended it with a twirl as Eilidh ran out of the pen towards the loch entrance.
Despite being swum over at the swim start, Eilidh left the loch with a smile on her face. I missed her transition as I was being seen to by one of the jovial paramedics (he basically forced me to sit on the back of his car and get seen to even after I repeatedly told him all my war wounds were superficial). By the time I was cleaned up, Ny and I went to see Roz in the handover pen and filled her with encouraging words like, “Everything rests on you,” and, “don’t let down the team,” which I’m sure were appreciated. Soon enough, Eilidh was coming in from her run, delivering a firm bum slap to set Roz on her way.
Having already hammered one lap of the bike course when she had to inform the marshals about the ambulance, Roz finished her swim and then embarked on her second round of the route.
Once back in, despite running being Roz’s least favourite part of triathlon, she powered through the whole course without walking, and Ny and I decided to offer encouragement for the last bit, as Eilidh, after her turn, was straight back to being event organizer extraordinaire.
After seeing how exhausted Roz and Eilidh were after the athletes had finished, prize-giving was over, and only the marshals remained, I have such a huge appreciation for the sheer amount of work that goes on – mostly behind the scenes – for an event (or rather, events) like this. It really is, for the most part, a thankless task, and overall, considering all of our individual mishaps and events requiring attention from half our team, coming third team from last in a mixed relay as an all female team (beating all other all-female teams) is a laudable achievement. We totally earned our medals.