Whether at small local open meetings or big scale events such as the London Marathon or the World Championships, there are unsung heroes and volunteers working behind the scenes to ensure that races and championships run smoothy and the participants have the best possible experience.
We recently caught up with officiating stalwart Bob Brimage from the Wirral who has been an official in the sport for over forty years. Not only that, but Bob was also a runner himself and more recently the Chair of Wallasey AC.
As a Level 4 endurance official, Bob has gained a wealth of experience over the years which had led to him supporting at prestigious events such as the Great North Run. He told us about his experience at the world’s largest half marathon just a couple of weeks ago:
"I have been involved in the Great North Run for ten to twelve years now. This year I am the Race Referee for the senior men's elite race and my wife Anne is the ladies' elite race referee. We travel in the lead car and keep an eye on the races as they progress."
Anne Brimage by lead car
One aspect of the role involves feeding back splits to the HQ to ensure they have accurate timings. Bob told us that each mile does now have a timing mat, but they still need to feed in the times as a back-up.
"I’ve not had the chance to race the Great North Run ever since it started some 42 years ago so it is nice as a graded official to be able to come up here and play my part.
“I love to see so many people not just the elite but people from all over the country. They are not all necessarily running in the event but thousands come together each year to support family and friends and to raise money for charity. Millions and millions is raised every year at events like this and it’s great to see it.”