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Students Jasmine and Catrin share their volunteering experience


Year 10 Students Jasmine and Catrin tell us what is was like volunteering at the IRC qualifier event at Parc Bryn Bach

We are Jasmine and Catrin (Year 10) and we had our work experience placement with Welsh Triathlon. Our first day was spend volunteering at the Inter Regional Competition qualification triathlon at Bryn Bach park. 

Initially, we expected our day of work experience to be only picking up cones and handing out water bottles; little did we know we would end up cheering on and supporting some of Wales's best up and coming triathletes.  
We began our day at 7 am bright and early in a huge, jam packed, hire van, driven by Beverley Lewis, 3 time Iron Man finisher and hire van extraordinaire (she was the only one old enough to drive it). So, after adapting to the steering on the van- which involved clipping the curb more than once- we were off and would soon arrive at Parc Bryn Bach.  

Upon arrival, we were already confused by the complicated description of the registration process, given to us by Beverley.  We were given directions and a walkie talkie (in case we needed any emergency help) and were taken to the registration office, ready to register the athletes and their parents. We soon felt more confident.

For the first couple of hours, no one had arrived so the majority our morning was spent eating fun sized Mars bars and debating whether it is "to register" or "to registrate" (it's "to register", we googled it. Jasmine was wrong). 

We then were hit with a wave of parents and anxious looking kids waiting to sign up for their race. It was a challenge to make sure everyone had signed a consent form and the kids had their bags, filled with their race number, chip, and swim cap. Eventually the crowd subsided and registration was over and we were ready for the next job of the day.

As we left the registration office, we spotted the first wave of triathletes, Tristar 1 boys, lining up ready for their swim. We grabbed the iPad and took some pictures and videos for the website. Before we knew it, they had finished their swim and were running to transition. 

Earlier on, we found out just how strict transition was- it's not as simple as just taking off your helmet apparently. 

The athletes quickly and tidily put their shoes and helmets on whilst their parents and friends cheered them on through every stage of transition... Every single stage:

"Put your left shoe on" 
"Clip your helmet!"
"Now RUN" 

One by one they cleared transition and set out on their bike route. 

Before we knew it the first athlete was back- ready to run. 
Another roar of oddly specific transition cheers came about and the first runner set off on the last leg of the race. 

Soon after, the athletes were filtering in and out of transition with determined look on their faces. They ran past many excited spectators, including an enthused looking flock of geese. 

Once every athlete had started the run, the spectators began to gather around finish last line, eagerly awaiting the first runners arrival. 

Quicker than expected, the first runner came sprinting up to the finish line, ready to take the win. The crowd cheered and clapped him on and he crossed the line, immediately reaching out for a bottle of water. 

The crowd sustained their cheers as the rest of the runners crossed the line. They delivered an especially supportive clap for the last few runners who stayed motivated and completed the race. 

The rest of the races followed a similar pattern, highly encouraging crowd and dedicated, hard-working athletes. All the races showcased how talented the kids are and how they have a very bright future in triathlon. 

The presentation finished and the day came to a close, the proud parents and excited children filed out of the park and now packing away was the focus of the volunteers. 

We helped by taking down the poles which made up transition, then loading them into Beverley's van. After that task was completed, we were asked to do a lap of the lake and pick up signs or other things that were left on the route. When we set off on the route, we were oblivious that nearly an hour later we would be returning carrying many, many signs, a whole table and a full bag of water bottles. Yikes! 

When we returned, everything else was cleared away thanks to the help of the other volunteers. 

When it was time to leave, we reflected on the day. We were very impressed by the commitment of the athletes and their families to the sport. We also appreciated the thorough planning and organisation of the event. It was an inspiring and enjoyable day, and a great start to our week of work experience with Welsh Triathlon.


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