In October 2016, Society Member Steve Smith completed an online application to become a volunteer, or ‘Runner’ as they are known at the event, at the 2017 World Para and IAAF Championships being held at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, London. Amazingly, his application was one of 15,000 hopeful volunteers and Steve was fortunate enough to be called for interview just two months later. The offer of a voluntary role was made to him in April of this year, which he was delighted to accept.
With a variety of different roles for Runners to fill, the organisers wanted to make the most of Steve’s Sports Therapy background and he was chosen to be part of the Medical Services team. He was working as part of a multi-disciplinary group consisting of Doctors, Nurses, Osteopaths, Sports Therapists, Physiotherapists, Sports Massage Therapists and First Aiders, something which Steve found to be very rewarding.
Training took place in June of this year, with the day being split into two sessions. Steve said:
‘We were there to be turned into Runners for the Championships; all the volunteers were called Runners – there was no distinction. We were trained in what became a piece of the legacy from London 2012, in what was the media centre in the Olympic Park. It was here that successful applicants attended a morning of generic training with volunteers from all over the world.
‘In the afternoon, the Medical Services team came together for some basic trauma and pitch recovery training.’
Before the Championships got underway, Steve collected his bright pink Runners’ uniform to be worn throughout, along with an Oyster Card in order to get to and from the stadium.
During the Championships, Steve was tasked with filling both a First Aid and Sports Massage role. He said:
‘My duties involved providing soft tissue therapy to the athletes or assisting those attending in a First Aid capacity. A bonus was watching international athletes train and recuperate, alongside working as part of a multi-disciplinary team.’
Steve thoroughly enjoyed his time as a Runner. He said:
‘There’s talk of the Para Athletics coming back to the Olympic Park again in 2019 and I for one will be volunteering!’