Olympic legacy alive and kicking for half marathon volunteers

Olympic legacy alive and kicking for half marathon volunteers

The Coventry Ambassadors initiative was a huge success during the London 2012 Olympic Games

University news

Tuesday 09 October 2012

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Over 80 volunteers who represented Coventry during the London 2012 Olympic Games in July and August will be reprising their role for the city’s ever-popular half marathon this weekend.

The Coventry Ambassadors scheme, which saw over 300 volunteers don the familiar pink and purple colours of the Games and welcome visitors to the city over summer, is living up to its legacy by inspiring a host of new volunteers in the region.

Around 200 volunteers have been recruited for the weekend’s Decathlon Coventry Half Marathon to offer guidance and assistance along the entire 13-mile route, and just under half of them are returning Coventry Ambassadors.

The Ambassadors, who were trained by Coventry University, were on duty for all 12 Olympic football matches taking place at the City of Coventry stadium, contributing 14,000 volunteer hours over the eight match days.

This time around volunteers will take the role of start and finish line marshals and route marshals for the event, and will look after the drinks stations to help any runners in need of a refreshment.

One of the star recruits to the half marathon volunteers is recent British Transplant Games gold medallist Michael Horton. The 62-year-old works for the West Midlands Ambulance Service, and took top honours in the games’ archery competition in August.

Michael, who was also a Coventry Ambassador team leader during the Olympic Games, said:

The opportunity to be an ambassador for Coventry and to show that there are many people like myself, willing to give up their spare time to help in these difficult times, was unmissable.

Initiatives like the Coventry Ambassadors scheme have been a catalyst for similar volunteering programmes like at the Decathlon Coventry Half Marathon, and they match those of us with a desire to help with organisations desperate for assistance to provide much needed services to the community. I have been a renal patient for many years, and I’m active for the Walsgrave Hospital Kidney Patients’ Association, so the chance to expand my involvement in the wider Coventry context is fantastic.

Coventry University’s David Boughey, who managed the volunteer programmes for both the Coventry Ambassadors and the Decathlon Coventry Half Marathon, said:

One of the most rewarding outcomes of the ambassadors initiative was that we had scores of participants saying they wanted to carry on volunteering for the city, and many of those had only volunteered for the first time during the Olympic Games.

It’s resulted in a fantastic level of volunteering interest for the forthcoming half marathon. We’re lucky enough to have so many enthusiastic people – like Michael – in and around Coventry.

The Coventry Ambassadors scheme, which was awarded the official Inspire mark of the Games, was funded by Coventry City Council and managed by Coventry University in conjunction with both Voluntary Action Coventry and Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Sport.

Coventry’s half marathon, which is sponsored by Decathlon, takes place on Sunday 14th October, and will start at Millennium Place at 9am. For more information about the event – which also includes a team relay and fun run – please visit www.coventryhalf.com.