This morning, I took up a volunteer's role of a running event for the first time. The inaugural Multi Purpose Insurance Berhad Run 2012 (MPI Run), is also Runners Malaysia first event organised under their belt. Good friends with Jamie and Wan, I decided to lend a hand in which ever role they put me into although I have exactly no experience with anything. And to my suprise, Wan not only gave me the food distribution role, but he also made me the supervisor! I kind of freak out a little when I read his e-mail but decided to give it a go as I was paired up with Lyne, a very experienced volunteer herself.
Due to my working hours, I couldn't attend any of the pre-race day preparation and briefings, hence I can only bring myself to the race site which was at Padang Merbuk early in the morning of race day to pick up my gear and to go through again and what shall be done. And early I was at 4am that none of the race director were there yet. However by 4.30am, both arrive and soon followed by the other volunteers and this is where our work starts. Some familiar faces like Chris, Uncle Sunny, Aunt Jenny, Amelia, Raymond and Tony were present.
Firstly is to pack up breakfast packs for volunteers before dividing the remaining into their respective role. In the food distribution department, there were 15 of us but 5 were "loaned" out to the timing department. Once all duties were divided, we then started moving the food pack into it respective places.
There were 2 categories, the 6KM and 12KM ad we set up 2 separate lanes as the content of the pack was slightly different. Once runner completes their run, they will then proceed a little further down to collect their medals, before turning up to collect their food pack. Sounds easy eh... But when the main onslaught came, it was like a war zone. We were working ourselves off trying to distribute the food pack as fast as possible hoping to clear the area of any congestion. I was moving everywhere lifting heavy boxes of drinks. Talk about weight training. Juliana after completing her run was kind enough to offer her assistance. Even Jamie came into action himself. Team work at its best.
After about 2 hours or so, things came to a close and the show is finally over. Cleaning up and chilling out is on the next agenda before collecting our "salary" from Wan. I did not want to accept but Wan mentioned that his accounts will be all mess up if I don't and therefore I accepted it only to donate it fully to my cancer research foundation. Thank you Wan.
Overall, the event was a success. Managing about 3,700 number of runners, and though there were some hiccups, it was a tremendous first time effort by Runners Malaysia and co. What I saw was a tremendous amount of team effort being put in. And it was indeed an experience to see the race perspective from a volunteer's angle. It was certainly not an easy task, and that is why, volunteers are always regarded the unsung silent heroes of an event. Kudos to all!