This month we switch our attention from the sports men and women to team behind one of Guernsey’s most successful annual sporting events.
The Guernsey Dairy Milk Run (or Father’s Day Half Marathon) takes hundreds of man hours to put together, and Fletcher Sports would like to recognise the efforts of the 70 volunteers who helped make this year’s event a huge success.
The first Father’s Day Half Marathon was held in 1981 and attracted 300 starters; in 1982 the field had grown to over 1,000. The Guernsey Dairy was one of the earliest long-standing sponsors of the event, doing so from about 1984-1994.
With the running boom and many new participation events around, interest waned so that through the late 90s the field had dropped to 250 or so. Consideration was even given to dropping the event, but thankfully this never transpired.
Guernsey Athletics was approached by the Guernsey Dairy again just over six years ago and developed a joint aim to re-establish the half marathon as a big community event, which would attract 500 or more starters. The requirements for organising public events, including running races, grow more demanding each year, but with the help of the Guernsey Dairy and a small army of volunteers, the event grew again to 800 entries this year, with around 600 who made it to the race itself. The Guernsey event is also beginning to attract attention from further afield, with 112 entries from the UK, along with some from Jersey, France and this year, Ireland.
One runner who finished the race this year had also competed in 1985, ‘86, ‘87, ‘88, ‘89, ’90 and ’91; another, in finishing this year’s race, completed his 100 thhalf marathon and was awarded a commemorative T-shirt by the sponsors.
Planning for the event ramps up from the December the year before until race day in mid-June. There is a huge amount to sort out, including general administration, liaising with sponsors, suppliers and public bodies, promoting of the event, ensuring the event is safe, legal and athletically viable, attracting and deploying volunteers and arranging equipment.
There were 70 volunteers this year – a core team of eight or so comprising volunteers and staff from Guernsey Athletics and the Dairy, and on the day about 60 marshals, crew and officials. Special mention must go to Danny Blake as lead coordinator (and problem solver extraordinaire) in the run up, who also managed to compete on the day and run a PB.
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