Text written by: Zdravko Malezija
When we inform you in the informal conversation about what you like most about the race, except the beautiful surroundings and the excellent organization, almost everyone mentions our volunteers, or how we like them to call “people in red”, make this race special.
And how everything works “from within” is best learned from one of them. Zdravko Malezija leads us into the magical and often “invisible” world of those who make this race special.
An unbreakable connection between competitors and volunteers
People in red! A team that makes every race alive and without which it would certainly not be a the same.
Poreč Triathlon and volunteers love each other.
When does the “job” of a volunteer start?
If we skip the complete logistics of everything needed to maintain the race, which is done by a smaller round of volunteers, the right action takes place two days before the race in the early morning by loading all the necessary items in trucks and departing to Poreč.
Matching zones, marking the track, packing the start packages, refreshment preparation and many other things are far from the eyes of the contestants. There are a lot of physiques, nervousness, some elevated tones, but there are a lot more laughter, so the difficulties that come through are quickly forgotten.
The best part – working in the zone
Personally, the best part of the volunteer “work” on the race is greeting the contestants in the zone, because you have the opportunity to talk to the athletes -people just trust you when you wear that red volunteer shirt.
The point is that in a few minutes you spend with them in conversation you connect with the contestants and then you are their “man” on the race. Whenever you meet after that, you always get the greeting, smile, handshake, or “high five.”
And these are moments that mean a lot to the contestants.
In the race itself, volunteers are life savers! With a few hours all ready in the legs, the “motors” starting to shut down, the glass of isotonics or water, or the banana provided by the volunteer seems like a light at the end of the tunnel, which may mean a turning point in whether the contestant will finish the race or give up. When it is not going according to plan, a volunteer is someone that does not allow you to give up.
DNF – no option!
In those moments, the contestants are looking for a familiar face (remembering the contestants in the zone) who will say, “Let’s go!” Still “only” 15 km! They are looking for someone who will walk along to them 10, 20, or 300 meters until they gather strength to continue the race. That horrible three letters (DNF) are something that you do not want to see beside your name when the results are published.
How not to continue the race, if your glass is handed by a smiling 7-year-old girl, or the entire family who has decided to spend their free time with the contestants that are complete strangers to them? There is no idea of quitting when you realise there are children cutting fruits just to fit your needs – these are all small projects in their little heads and big hearts. They are here just for you and do not think where else they might be in that moment.
No matter what…
It’s raining or sun – they’re there.
And it will always be there.
Because of you.