Victorian Ulysses Members Volunteering and Fundraising for UCARF and VSK
I was asked if Ulysses members might be interested in volunteering and assisting in the conduct of the Asia Pacific Ironman Championship in 2013. I said “Yes” and we have been doing it for three years now. The reward (beyond getting involved and doing something really different) is that the organisers (Ironman Events) make substantial donations to our nominated charities.
The 2015 race on Sunday 22 March started at Frankston at 0730 with a 3.8 kilometre swim, a 180 km bicycle leg doing two circuits of Eastlink between Frankston and Nunawading and finished with a 42 kilometre run along the Bay to St Kilda with the fastest of the competitors finishing in just over 8 hours and many taking twice as long. There were over 2000 competitors and over 1700 finishers.
I contacted ‘local’ Victorian branches and thanks to Ulysses members from Central Victoria, Melbourne, Mornington Wanderers, Shearwaters, Two Bays and Yarra Ranges plus some unaffiliated people we provided 30 volunteers. John Eacott of Macedon Ranges also put me in contact with some volunteers.
The Orange Knights (SES Volunteers) also provided 4 volunteer motorcyclists this year and have also been involved for the past three years.
In recognition of these volunteers’ efforts the organisers have donated almost $1900 to the Ulysses Club Arthritis Foundation and an identical amount to Very Special Kids. We have raised almost $6000 for UCARF over the past 3 years plus the same amount for VSK.
I would like to thank all the Victorian Ulysses members and the organisers who made this contribution possible and I apologise if I have omitted any branches.
Our involvement started with a volunteer briefing at Frankston on Saturday 21 March, where we collected fuel and meal vouchers, volunteer T shirts, caps and official bike placards. We were allocated our roles and most met our pillion passengers.
We then reassembled at 7.30 am on the Sunday morning.
Above photo supplied by Ian Taylor
Unfortunately one member had an "off" and was injured on his way to the event on Sunday morning
Our tasks were to convey some 18 technical officials throughout the bike leg of the event, convey media personnel (mainly still cameramen and the like), 4 bicycle mechanics plus motorcycle escorts for the leading male and female competitors.
The bike leg was a time trial which is very technical in that cyclists were not allowed to draft or block each other. As there were over 2000 entrants, this required rigorous enforcement by the technical officials we had on board (as pillions) to stop groups forming. Quite a bit of cajoling and a number of time penalties were handed out and many were out on the course for up to 5 hours with minimal breaks before the bike leg ended and many finished their duties for the day.
Other volunteers conveying media, the escorts plus some technical officials continued throughout the “run” leg which was a full marathon from Frankston
to St Kilda
and that provided more challenges such as extremely slow riding whilst negotiating traffic along Nepean Highway and Beach Road. Once the event started, we really saw very little of each other as we spread over the course.
Although fatiguing, I thoroughly enjoyed the event and found it very challenging, interesting and rewarding. Many of the volunteers indicated that they enjoyed it, and would do it again.
The fact that Ulysses members have been able to assist in raising substantial donations for both UCARF and Very Special Kids made it even more worthwhile. Again - Thank you to all who volunteered and the organisers.