At the heart of our event lies a team of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure its success. The Bath Half Marathon, a spectacular annual event that brings together runners from all walks of life, owes a significant part of its magic to the selfless efforts of volunteers from the local community, who use the event to raise funds for their chosen charity
Margaret has volunteered for the Bath Half Marathon, as part of the team from Bath Cats and Dogs Home, on numerous occasions, contributing her energy and commitment to various roles within the event.
How many times have you volunteered for the Bath Half Marathon?
I have volunteered about 4-5 times, I have helped on the Information Desk, in the baggage tent and the de-chipping area
How did you find the volunteer experience at Bath Half?
Rewarding, humbling and a privilege.
Rewarding – We are always thanked by finishing runners for giving up our time, or enduring the pouring rain – even though they have done all the hard work in running the race. Thanks also to the organiser’s team for finding time in their busy day to thank us.
Humbling – I get a buzz out of volunteering, but then I hear stories behind why some of the runners take part – a lady came into the de-chipping area towards the end of the race one year. She started to become a bit “wobbly” and emotional. I went up to her and we linked arms. She regained her composure before telling me how she ran in memory of a dear friend who had passed away and who had been supported by the charity whose logo she wore. She recovered physically and emotionally to collect her goody bag and medal, so proud of her achievements.
Privilege – to be a part of something so big in my home city, meeting incredible people and … volunteering for the Bath Half has been the nearest I would ever get to the finish line!
Did volunteering for the Bath Half Marathon provide opportunities to connect and spend time with fellow team members who you might not typically interact with in your daily routine?
Certainly does, I volunteer at Bath Cats and Dogs Home regularly on a Tuesday, but the Bath Half provides an opportunity to meet others from the charity who perhaps volunteer at weekends or other weekdays.
It also gives us a chance to share other volunteering experiences we may have done with BCDH which others might have been tempted by but perhaps lacked the confidence to put their name forward because they didn’t know what it actually involved.
Do you feel like there is a social value in meeting and spending time with other volunteers and staff at Bath Half?
Indeed, it is a great way to learn about some of the things that happen ‘behind the scenes’ in organising the Bath Half. The atmosphere in the Runners Village is amazing.
It is also a great way to find out more about other charities represented by the volunteers, or the volunteers themselves, and those running the Bath Half.
Last year I met and worked alongside student volunteers from Bath University. One chap was interested in the work of BCDH as he regularly passes the signs on his way to the university. In turn, he told me a bit about his course, his family, and how Bath University recruits some of their volunteers. We also chatted about some of the local places of interest he might be interested in visiting (especially across the river in BA1 as he lived in BA2) and other opportunities for volunteering at BCDH which might work around studying.
In the volunteer refreshment tent one year I met another lady who was new to the Bath area, it was her first time volunteering for the Bath Half. She was sat with Jo from Running High, who helps coordinate the volunteer team. Jo recognised me from the previous Bath Half and remembered I was from BCDH, and we were able to tell the lady about the work of our charity and the annual WAGWALK event which she had unfortunately just missed. The lady also had a dog and we told her the WAGWALK was a great opportunity to walk the famous Skyline Walk around Bath, with the reassurance of a start and finish point, and marshals along the route, as well as supporting the BCDH charity.
It’s also another opportunity to spread the word about the amazing, and often challenging work, of Bath Cats and Dogs Home. How amazing the staff are and how they go the extra mile to ensure the wellbeing of the animals and to try and find the right home for the animals in their care.
Did you acquire any new skills or discover intriguing knowledge?
Yes! I learned how to use a card reader when on the info desk (rather than just zapping my card).
Also, I never knew there were so many black backpacks! (Baggage Area).
Did you make new friendships?
I got to know more about other BCDH volunteers and their commitment to the charity. I got to see friends immediately after they had finished running for their various charities, whilst they were still pink and euphoric. Some knew I volunteered so came to find me – made me feel special too.
Are you keen to attend the Bath Half Marathon again in 2023?
Most definitely – it’s in my diary already.
Would you encourage people to volunteer at these types of events?
Definitely, the Bath Half is only one day in the year so give it a try – I am sure they would be hooked.
Some people may have challenges which might restrict where they can volunteer, but there are so many different roles which need filling so I would urge them to be in touch with their co-ordinator, or Running High.
As we draw the curtain on Margaret’s inspiring journey, let her story be a testament to the profound transformation that volunteering can bring – moulding events, touching lives, and fostering a collective sense of purpose.
Are you ready to be a part of this extraordinary experience? Join our dedicated team and play a vital role in bringing this remarkable event to life!