Obstacle Course Racing is more than a competition. Whether you’re an elite, a weekend warrior, a newbie, or not even particularly athletic, there’s something there for you.
One aspect many people enjoy is marshaling, and they do it for so many different reasons, so why should you?
“I love giving encouragement and watching people achieve things that they didn’t think they could. I love the banter and the muddy hugs. It’s just an amazing experience.
It’s just great, yes they can be long days in all weathers but the buzz you get far outweighs any of that.” Lisa Kane, UK
“The buzz comes from the joy on people’s faces when I help them conquer an obstacle. Or make them smile during a “boring” or tough part of a course.” Lisa Shakespeare, UK
“I marshal for the sheer enjoyment of it and the atmosphere. The free races help sometimes, but I’d do it anyway.” Clare Milward, UK
Whether it’s a free or discounted race or free kit, there’s always a reward (above the personal satisfaction!) to marshaling, and this is how many people manage to take part in this not-inexpensive sport.
“First and foremost I Marshall to either get a discount code or free race, at the end of the day I’m not made of money and I sign up for a lot. I mean I had 42 booked this year to do before I got diagnosed with breast cancer (I’m doing well on treatment), of course, I’ve had to postpone all my events but there’s always next year.” Lauren Hughes UK
For so many people, their favorite part of OCR is the incredible community, and the marshals make up a huge part of this. Being a marshal gives the opportunity to spend time with others, and all the racers.
“Marshaling is as addictive as racing itself. Seeing the incredible strength & determination of both the elites & fun runners.
Nothing can really compare to seeing someone cry with sheer amazement of what they have achieved, that they completed an obstacle or the whole race.
It really is what life is about, helping build up those that need it & cheering everyone on in their determination.” Georgie Ayres, UK
“I’d thoroughly recommend marshaling just for the friendships you can make, especially camping, but it’s knowing you’re never alone in the OCR community. Whether you run or marshal, you’re part of something amazing where everyone helps build each other up” Lauren Hughes UK
To encourage other runners & help races
It’s not uncommon to find great joy in helping others, and marshaling is a great way to do this. Advising runners, shouting encouragement, or even doling out sweeties and muddy hugs. And let’s not forget that marshals are key to OCR, without them giving their time, the races wouldn’t exist.
“I started marshaling when I was injured and immediately fell in love with it, and soon more than running. We are the eyes and ears on course for the RDs and yes whilst it is important to cheer on and boost morale, health and safety is also vital. Marshaling at the World’s was different. No hugs and taking people’s bands – heartbreaking at times. I was shown in the documentary with someone begging me not to take his band. Some folk showing true grit on an obstacle for hours. It’s always so important to give the same respect to the last runner as to the elites.” Jane Maylor, Head Marshal at Zeus, UK
“I wanted to be the volunteer racers said made their day; someone who helped people conquer the obstacle with a helping hand, or by verbal coaching. The person who wouldn’t make fun of anyone skipping the obstacle, or attempting their first OCR. Who didn’t mind getting muddy high-fives.” Darcie Hum, Canada
“Yes the incentives are nice, but I’m not going to lie, once you’ve got the free dryrobe for Nuclear and all the Spartan and TM swag the only other reason to marshal is for the OCR community.
It’s the banter between the marshals and the non-competitive racers and some of the elite. It’s seeing all the newbies try to conquer, and overcome fears as well as just giving it a go, no matter their age, size or gender, and generally just having a laugh about everything.” Lauren Hughes UK
Marshaling can be a great way to experience an OCR before you take it on, or an opportunity to see how different people tackle obstacles. Some races even will allow you to play on your obstacle, giving you extra training time.
“The first time I ever marshaled was to see more of the obstacles. It was winter Nuts 2014. I’d watched my husband run the previous summer and thought it looked fun, but I was nervous about other bits of the course I hadn’t seen.” Lisa Shakespeare UK
“I marshal because I love OCR but never want to be competitive, but I’m in awe of those that do. Marshaling is a great way to support these athletes, plus you learn so much from watching them.” Lisa Kane, UK
Marshaling is key to the success of OCR; the sport wouldn’t exist without these amazing people who give up their time and provide incredible support for the runners. If you want to marshal for OCRWC 2019, click here.