The performances of the athletes at the recent senior and under-20 combined event championships were spectacular with plenty of personal bests across the different events.
However, these championships and all those still to come this season would not be possible without the tireless support of our technical officials.
Over the weekend, we opened our doors to curious volunteers to give them the chance to shadow the technical officials and learn all about the different roles available. From track judging and time keeping, to field judge and photo finish, there really is something for everyone!
Let’s hear from two of our shadowing volunteers, Natalie, a secondary school teacher, and Holly, an athlete, along with Julie Dew, a field judge who was Field Referee that weekend who supported the ladies throughout.
How have you found the day shadowing the technical officials?
Natalie: “It has been great, everyone has been so friendly, and we’ve been made to feel very welcome. We have been able to see lots of events across both the track and the field.”
Holly: “It has been really fun and informative. As an athlete I have always been on the other side of the event when running, so I have never seen the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.”
What has been your favourite event to support?
Natalie: “My favourite event today has been the track. We did two different areas of the finish line. I have been involved in field events before but not necessarily track so it’s been really interesting.”
Holly: “I have loved learning about the photo finish and seeing everything that goes into it. As an athlete you run over the line and your job is done, and this has made me realise that the officials continue to work behind the scenes on timings and positions all before the next race.”
What next steps would you like to take in officiating?
Natalie: “I would like to qualify and become a level 1 official to start with and then go on from there. I am a secondary school teacher, so it would be great to use the knowledge and expertise I learn on the Level 1 to take forward and apply in school.”
Holly: “I am going to currently keep competing as I am also still in school and then after I have finished with this would like to go into officiating and volunteering!”
Supporting the next generation of officials
We of course couldn’t provide these opportunities to shadow without the support of our fantastic technical officials, like field referee Julie.
“For us, we are getting older, and it is nice to have the youngsters coming through,” she said. “If we can pass our experiences on to them then that is fantastic.
“My favourite part of the day has been making sure they are having fun!
“Officiating is something I am really passionate about. Hopefully if they enjoy themselves then they will come back and join us.
“Today’s volunteers were given actual jobs to do within the field which was lovely to see them getting stuck in.
“They have followed the whole process of what happens at an athletics meeting and are leaving with a real appreciation of how much happens behind-the-scenes.”
- If you are interested in shadowing technical officials at future England Athletics events, please get in touch with Marc Ritchie: email@example.com
- Find out more about the Level 1 Officiating courses available on Athletics Hub
- Learn more about Officials Taster Sessions