Welcoming The 70-Strong Event Team
First came the team of race staff and volunteers – and then some 178 participants – as final preparations were put into place for Cape Wrath Ultra 2018 today.
Many of the event team, totalling around 70 and from as far afield as Germany and south-west England, had gathered in Fort William the night before. An evening meal of shared pizza at the Snowgoose Hostel gave them the chance to meet each other and find out more about their roles for the following eight days.
Shane Ohly coordinates the ice breaker for the 70-strong event team ©Tom Hecht
This morning, the momentum towards tomorrow’s start-line grew as race director Shane Ohly and a team of Ourea Events staff gave further briefings about planning, organisation and expectations.
The event team were given a wealth of friendly and confidence-building tips on how to offer their best support to the participants and how to maintain an up-beat atmosphere, even when tiredness seeps in.
The volunteers have a wide range of jobs including erecting the campsite each day, manning checkpoints and potentially hazardous course elements, participant transportation, safety monitoring, course checking, medical aid, catering and general administration.
The breadth of volunteer experience is wide, with some joining their first race and others with a great deal of prior experience.
Another get-to-know-you ice breaker game before the serious stuff ©Tom Hecht
Two volunteers, Nico Gross and Matt Snow, are volunteering newbies with Ourea Events. The friends met last year at the sister race, the Berghaus Dragon Back Race®, and decided they would like to “give something back”.
Nico, who has travelled from Hamburg in Germany, said: “Last year, when I was attempting the Dragon’s Back Race, I was very impressed by the volunteers. They really made a difference to my participation and I thought after that I would like to do the same for other people at a future event.
“There is an added incentive, too, because volunteers can claim a race entry in return for their help and I plan to go back to do the Dragon’s Back Race again next year. I didn’t manage to complete it fully in 2016 and I am resolved to return.”
Matt, from Cambridge, England, is also planning to use his race entry for next year’s Berghaus Dragon Back Race®. He said: “I love the Scottish Highlands and I was partly attracted to volunteer in the Cape Wrath Ultra because I wanted to see more of it.”
“I also want to be able to give something back as a volunteer after all the support I received at the Dragon’s Back Race. Nico and I will be looking after the mid-way checkpoints each day and doing all we can to give every participant a great experience. We will also be on hand if they need any kind of assistance. I am greatly looking forward to the volunteering experience.”
The all-team event briefing ©Steve Ashworth
‘I absolutely love to volunteer’
Sharon Taylor, from Glasgow, is an old-hand at race volunteering. She has supported other races organised by Ourea Events, such as the Salomon Glen Coe Skyline®, as well as helping at many Scottish ultras including the Highland Fling Race and the West Highland Way Race.
Sharon, who is one of the Cape Wrath Ultra team leaders, said: “I have happily taken nine days leave from my job as a civil servant and I am treating this trip as a kind of holiday. I really enjoy working with Shane and his team and I have learned so much from doing so.”
Sharon confesses that friends have said she is a bit mad. She said: “I guess other people can think of many other ways to spend their work leave but I see it differently. I will get to see a new part of Scotland, plus I absolutely love running, hills, mountains and being an organiser.”
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