Anyone who’s run the Clarendon before will know that one of the highlights is the enthusiasm of the crews at the Welcome Stations along the route.
Each Welcome Station is manned by a team of volunteers from a different local non-profit group, and that gives the run a really strong feeling of connection to Salisbury and Winchester areas.
This year, Margaret Woodhead is the committee member responsible for organising the logistics of the Welcome Stations. As you can imagine, this is no mean feat!
We asked Margaret to give us her perspective on the run:
"To ensure that the marathon runs smoothly, Winchester and Salisbury Rotary Clubs are very fortunate to be able to call on help from our friends working in a wide range of local good causes.
"Each of the 14 Welcome Stations along the route is manned by volunteers representing a different charity or non-profit organisation, from diverse sectors including Scout Groups, Bereavement Counselling and Young Carers. Theirs is a truly essential role as without adequate water stations, refreshments and contingency arrangements in place out on the course, the race can’t even start!
"Feedback from last year’s Welcome Station volunteers confirms that the Clarendon Marathon is a thoroughly enjoyable experience for all concerned. Volunteers take a great interest in the runners’ progress and have huge respect for the efforts of all involved. In the same way, feedback from runners shows how much they appreciate the encouraging cheers from the marshals along the course.
"I have joined the organising committee this year and taken over Welcome Stations responsibility from another Winchester Rotarian, Alan Darlington. I am relieved to say that Alan has clearly established excellent working relationships, so my task should be fairly straightforward, although as we know, if a thing can go wrong, it will, and typically at the last moment!
"As a voluntary director of Community First, the hub for local voluntary organisations, I know from experience how much can be achieved when people work together toward a mutual goal, and the Marathon is a prime example. All the organisations manning the Welcome Stations would, I’m sure, greatly welcome runners’ interest in their work.
"Finally, I’m pleased to report that Fyffes have already confirmed they will again be donating the essential 1,000 bananas!"
So good news about the bananas then! And if it’s not too cheeky, I’m taking this chance to put in a special request for flapjacks at the top of Farley Mount too ;)
Seriously, though, I know all of us runners will be very grateful to Margaret and her crew on the day – thank you for all your time and effort!