Tales from the Back Room - the Race Secretary of the Potters 'Arf by Sue Rushton

Victoria Hall early Saturday morning, nearly 300 eager people attend to catch the Early deal of 25% off the entry fee which our sponsors The Hanley Building Society generously support. A good day is had by all.

February and March
Is a more quiet time for the Race Secretary and I’m just involved with the ordering and compiling information for leaflets and info sheets for the runners.

This is the month when my work starts, Easter passes and it’s time to start sending entrants
numbers and info out. Entrants are getting twitchy wanting to know when they will receive anything so better get going. My laptop becomes my best friend for the weeks now leading up to June 12th and the view from my office window thankfully is pretty, as for the time being I spend a lot of time ensconced in there! Online entries to download, labels to print, race numbers and info to stuff into envelopes and post out, postal entries arrive and cheques need to be banked though that does mean I can escape from my enclave in Potters Arf towers to visit the bank!

My busy times have begun.

May continues in much the same way as April with a steady stream of online entries and postal
entries arriving daily, our postman is very busy at this time of year. This year we have incorporated a Junior Fun Run in the event and through this it has been my pleasure to have met a lady named Cheryl Everard. Cheryl corresponded with me to organise 90+ youngsters from The Willows Primary School to take part in the Junior Run, these youngsters were all classmates of a brave young man Lucas Wiliams who sadly lost his fight with a brain tumour only 11 weeks after diagnosis, his Mum and Dad have set up a fundraising campaign called Lucas’ Legacy with the aim to raise £50,000 this year for Childhood Brain Tumour Research in Lucas’s name. It was lovely working with Cheryl and I thank her for her part in helping this worthy cause and the looks of pleasure on the youngsters faces when they received their medals was wonderful.

It’s finally arrived the month of the race, where did all that time go? It’s the big push now, got to get everything sorted for the big day. At this point the emails are coming in at a rate of knots and hopefully they get answered with a quick response and an answer that will quell any concerns that someone may have. I have my trusty notebook to back me up which contains lots and lots of info, ticks and crosses, that might seem a little old fashioned in this technological world but it is my security blanket and very important to me. Hopefully I don’t forget anything!
Things continue at a rapid pace in the two weeks leading up to the Race Day and my office becomes even more the room I spend most of my time in.

Oh no Big Spanner in the works!!! One week to go to Race Day the medals have arrived they are late by one week they really needed to be here the previous week which was half term and as both Ken who works in education and myself who does some work on GCSE exams have no work we have a free week to sort the medals out. This involves changing ribbons on stock medals to the present years ribbons, past years this has meant a sizeable amount of work but this year we have a big problem the ribbons have been sent without a hook that could be easily changed and not sewn! The plan gets started and Ken and I have a production line started, take medal out of small plastic bag, cut old ribbon off, pass new ribbon through, pass to Sue, sew ribbon, put medal back in plastic bag. Fortunately I am quite nifty on my sewing machine and 800 ribbons later it was a job well done even though  at the time I felt like I was working in the underwear factory in Coronation Street! That was a job both Ken and I could have done without but it happened and we dealt with it, It’s all part of Race Organisers life.

I must admit that the week leading up to Race Day is my least favourite time and is very stressful. I can understand that people have their concerns and I hope that if people have had to contact us we have dealt with things well and with understanding. Every year it still amazes me how many folk leave things to the last minute to see if they can enter and our phones are just red hot on the Saturday, the eve of Race Day. I apologise to the person who rang at 11:10pm I didn’t answer!! 

Race Day 12th June 2016
Off I go to my favourite day, lets get everyone sorted !

The Hanley Building Society (our fantastic Sponsors) that’s my HQ for a couple of hours pre-race. I have the lovely Audrey and Joan manning the desk for people to come and collect late entries and my lovely friend Jayne with me answering any other concerns that might occur.
Time passes quickly and it is soon 10:20, 10minutes to go to the start of the race, man rushes in
“I’ve lost my number what can I do??” not a problem we will sort you out, quickly sorted and off he goes, another satisfied customer.

10:30am the race has started and off the masses go, all with their own goals to achieve.
I can breathe, and now I just want everyone to come back safe and sound with their thoughts of what they have done and talk about our lovely Potters Arf with the affection with which we as organisers hold for this event.

They think it’s all over, it is now! For 2016 anyway!!

Sue Rushton
Race Secretary
Potters Arf

Sue with husband Ken, race founder