I volunteer as an on-course marshal at the BBC Sport Relief Mile

Having given up time and effort to help at the BBC Sport Relief Mile, I wasn’t expecting to get shouted at for my troubles. Then again, it was entirely my own fault.

I was blithely unaware of the safety issues and combustible combination of a boy band and a pack of screaming girls.

Having been given a megaphone to advise people who had finished their one-, three- or six-mile runs to keep the finish-area clear, for hours I happily yelled, ‘Well done guys, but can you please move through the area? Keep moving through the area, thank you.’

It all went wrong when I began to be approached by sparkly-clad girls.

Boy band madness
‘What time are JLS running?’ said the first innocent-looking girl. Had no idea they were, I told her, but this is the end of the race so presumably they’ll come through here at some point so I’d hang around here, I suggested.

A short time later a second, bespectacled girl approached and I told her the same thing.

Wanting to be helpful I found out roughly what time the boys were expected to arrive and sought out both girls and told them what I knew.

It was after this that we were told by the head-volunteer types that we were not to mention that JLS were on the way.

An obsolete point at this stage as the hum of excitable fans was increasing in volume as more and more fans congregated in the finish area.

It took my best demanding-yet-pacifying voice to try to get this mass of sparkliness to keep the area clear, but I managed.

Until the boys arrived.

And all hell broke loose.

Running battle
The boys dashed from a nearby building, barely making it to the course through the screaming throngs tearing at them.

A mass of people surged past me and so, caught up in the moment, I announced, ‘JLS are in the house, people’ or something equally cringy.

And that was when I was yelled at.

“No. Bad,’ said the head-volunteer type as she swept past, the safety of the heaving throng paramount in her mind.

So bad, it turns out, that even after she’d gone past me she felt the need to turn around, glare at me and repeat, ‘Bad’, for added emphasis.

But they were right there, I told myself. They weren’t ‘on their way’ they were right frigging there.

I sheepishly returned to telling people to keep the area clear, my cheeks burning.

And so the noisy ball of humans made its way round the course, JLS in front and the now hoarse young girls sprinting in their inappropriate flimsy shoes to keep up.

I’ll tell you what though, it’s definitely one way to get young girls active…

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Author: Jo Gunston

Roving blogging superfan shares behind the scenes stories of her sports life and the best of those from like-minded souls.

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