Every first Sunday of December, Singapore holds it’s most famous sporting event of the year, the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore. Contrary to common belief, this running event is not organized by Standard Chartered Bank BUT by Singapore Sports Council. For the past 3 years since 2010, I had the privilege of being a part of this grand sporting event, not as a runner but as a sports volunteer.
Year 2010 (Volunteer Welfare/Crew, Race Day) – With the adrenalin still high from volunteering at the 1st Youth Olympic Games held here in Singapore, I signed up to volunteer for Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2010. That time I signed up for volunteer welfare for the actual race day, volunteer welfare team are the ones looking after the volunteers, like distributing their meals, uniforms and signing their attendance among others. Although the actual race starts at around 7 in the morning, volunteers have to report (depending on their role assignments) as early as 2:00 in the morning. Though my initial role assignment was for volunteer welfare, I ended up manning the “massage area” for the runners. Our tent starts to become busy once runners who just finished their race drop by and request for leg massage, we have provided people with professional knowledge in doing sports massage while we as volunteers are assigned to control the flow of the runners inside our tent. The main lesson I learned from this experience is that as a volunteer, you should always be flexible in the roles that will be given to you and whatever role that is, always give your 100% best.
Year 2011 (Team Leader/Counter, REPC Day) – Race Entry Pack Collection (commonly known to us volunteers as REPC) Day is a 3 day event before the actual race day wherein all the 50,000++ runners come and collect their “goodie bag” containing their bib, shirt and other promotional items. Signing up for a team leader position, you have to undergo interviews and then series of leadership training, seminars and meetings. The night before the 1st day, all REPC volunteers meet at the REPC centre to be able to familiarize with the floor plan and the flow and process of the collection. When I reported the next day, I found out that my name was listed as counter crew and not as counter team leader. Learning from 2010 experience, I fulfilled the role that was given to me with all my best. I ended up enjoying the role because I manned the counter wherein I was given the opportunity to meet the runners face to face from all over the world. Luckily I did not encounter any “problems” from all the runners that went to my counter. Later on I realized that the reason my name was listed in the crew list is because I attended the final briefing for counter crew and not for team leaders, how “sotong” could I be 😉
Year 2012 (Team Leader/Logistic, REPC Day) – Again I signed up for a Team Leader position, again same process of interview, leadership trainings, seminars and meetings. By this time, we have seen familiar faces from the previous years so there is a sense of ‘family” already. And also, I make it a point to attend the final briefing for team leader this time ;-p
If you are a runner and you go the counter to pick up your goodie bag, usually you will see 2 person per counter, one manning the computer and one beside him is our very own “runner”. Once he got the details that he needed (bib number, shirt size) he will run at the back and pick them up as fast as they can. They were never instructed to run but for some reasons you will see ALL of them start running at the back, and they seems to enjoy doing this.
This is not yet the “peak hour”
I was assigned to lead the Logistics Crew for goodie bag, so our “runner” from the counter will first run to our group to get the bag, then run to bib station and then to shirt station then back to the counter.
2013 – As much as I would like to volunteer this year, I was saving my annual leave (I took 2 day leave in 2012 for the REPC Day) for my 2 weeks holidays end of December so I did not sign up for this year. I feel a bit sad and I’m starting to miss the feeling of the preparation for the event especially now that it’s just one week before the 2013 race day. I promise to be back in 2014 and looking forward to see my “family” again.
To the 2013 Volunteers of Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (both REPC Day and Race Day), good luck and keep doing your best.