The Rotary Club of Windsor St George were asked by the event organisers if they can provide volunteers to help with the marshalling at the above event, being a horse lover but a marshalling novice of course I was more than happy to take a day off work and take part.
For those that don’t know there are three races during the day:
The 120km riders have a maximum of 10 hours to complete the race, all horses are subjected to a 40 minute cool down after each leg, the vet will then check their heart rate etc. and decide whether the horse can continue. This is a true test of Endurance for both horse and rider.
Half of the 70 volunteers, made up of mostly Rotarians from the surrounding clubs, but also students from Bournemouth Uni, Local Riding Clubs and the Royal Vet College, attended the briefing on the Sunday before this event. I’m pleased that I attended the session on the Sunday as we had a very early start the following Friday.
I arrived on site at 5.40am to grab my breakfast and picnic lunch, along with radio and orange high-vis ready for the days action and I was not to be disappointed. I was partnered up with Howard Smith from Ascot Rotary and we headed off following Malcom Wallace and other Rotarians to Ascot Racecourse.
We were shown the dog leg of the roadway that we had to marshal; there were 10 plus people on that part of the course. The 120km and 80km racers arrive through the car park, come along the Ascot Racecourse roadway past the entrance to the Golf Club under the tunnel, around the racecourse, back through the tunnel and out through the car pack back to Windsor Great Park.
As well as shouting to each other when horses were coming, when it was clear and when cars could go I also needed to shout each riders number to Howard so that they could be recorded. Well... trying to read the numbers from a group of 26 cantering horses was a challenge, but how Howard managed to write them all down so quick I’ll never know. In under an hour circa 80 horses and riders had completed this part of the course.
We all headed back to the main hub to be relocated to other parts of the course. This is where I left Howard and his fellow Rotarian Raymond Cheung and joined Ella Nunn from the Suffolk Hunt. Ella and I then spent the remaining 6 hours on our picnic chairs at the bottom of the long walk chatting to passers-by, enjoying the scenery and of course recording the rider numbers as they passed us every now and then.
A fabulous way to spend the day and next year’s date, Friday 10 May 2019, is already firmly in my diary. I nearly forgot, the Rotary clubs also benefitted from £100 for each volunteer so if anyone else would like to take part next year let me know and I will collate all the details to advise Windsor St George Rotary.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.