Chief McGill praises Norwich Half Marathon’s vital volunteers

Larking Gowen: City of Norwich Half Marathon 2014 at the Norfolk Showground.Picture: James Bass

Larking Gowen: City of Norwich Half Marathon 2014 at the Norfolk Showground.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

Race director Hugh McGill paid tribute to his army of helpers who made the 30th staging possible.

While 2,000-plus runners could stay warm and relatively mud-free on the predominantly tarmac-based course, the City of Norwich Half Marathon's volunteers had to trudge across drenched fields throughout the weekend at the Norfolk Showground. Without their efforts the race wouldn't have been possible and McGill was quick to sing his troops' praises.

The City of Norwich Athletic Club (CONAC) chief said: 'It rained most of the morning but in a way it's more miserable for the volunteers than the runners.

'The runners go through it in an hour to two hours, mostly, and they're out keeping warm. Once they're done they're into the dry, and changed, and away. I think the misery comes for the hundreds of volunteers who braved it for 10 hours.

'I am the race director but I don't do most of the work. I co-ordinate the work of the people who spend hours, and days, and weeks and months on this. Without the best part of 200 people, with a small elite committee of four or five of us, we couldn't do this race at all. It's become so big and so successful now that it's almost a full-time job to organise it.'

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McGill has been in charge of the showcase event since 2006 and took his place at the finishing line yesterday to congratulate as many runners home as he possibly could.

'They're an absolutely amazing bunch of competitors, even more so considering they all braved a pretty wet day,' McGill added.

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'And they ran round with largely smiles on their faces. What fills me with happiness and pride is a successful event for everybody. Get everybody home, everybody happy – whether they finished first or last – and that they had a good experience.'

More than 1,000 competitors failed to take to the start despite registering. But with the usual illnesses, injuries and lack of preparation, plus poor weather, organisers were not suprised by the reduced turnout.

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