Unsung heroes of the JK
Many of the 3000 at this year’s JK will be blissfully unaware of how many man-hours of work have gone into making it a success, and not just beforehand either. The remainder will have a pretty good idea as they are “the insiders”, those who have played a major role in previous major multidays events themselves.
This year was no exception. Countless hours have been spent in meetings about road signs, in discussing peregrine falcons, in establishing at what stage SI cards should be checked for the Relays, in drafting and re-drafting car park plans, just to mention a few of the less expected issues. And many others of the several hundred volunteers will have their own story of duty “above and beyond” too; what follows is just one of many.
Those at the Relay Day will remember that the last 70 metres’ walk before the Arena field was up an inclined vehicle track. They may also have heard that Day 3’s rain had prevented the toilet company from delivering water to the toilets and that the caterers were unable to access the Arena field too. Those vehicles which could get in and out had left the track in a mess, with 9 inch deep ruts carved out in the mud.
We had promised the landowner to return the track to normal afterwards so an assorted collection of orienteers of a certain age from BOK, NGOC and SLOW was asked to bring shovels, spades, wheelbarrows and old clothes and to volunteer their labour two days later.
They were greeted by a huge pile of 16 tons of hoggin (hardcore) at the foot of the track and spent the next four and a half hours, much of it in driving rain, shovelling, barrowing, tipping, spreading and compacting the hoggin along the ruts.
Eventually, the pile disappeared and the job was done, save only for a couple of trips up and down by a friendly Freelander to test and further compact the hoggin.
The work was hard, the weather testing, no one had been trained for it and no one complained. It was all part and parcel of running a JK after all …