The theme for this year’s International Volunteer Day is “Together We Can Through Volunteering” and there have been so many examples this year of volunteers across multisport giving up their time to help those who have been effected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Triathlon Scotland’s 2020 Volunteer of the Year, Colin Freeman is a great example of the impact that volunteers have on our sporting community. Freeman launched the ‘Lockdownathon’ at the beginning of the spring lockdown in order to engage the members of ATHelite Triathlon Club through a long period of isolation and inactivity.
Freeman said: “We realised soon after the beginning of lockdown that people were struggling with their motivation to train so at the start of May we launched this series of weekly events to give people a little bit more structure around their training. We then began adding events, time trials, yoga classes and social activities like adding photos onto our Facebook page.”
Freeman created virtual replacements for the club’s cancelled events, adapting Ultra Race Romania into a more accessible Ultra Race Lanarkshire, and included the IRONMAN virtual racing series events in the Lockdownathon, offering points to those who took part and bonus points for those who beat their previous times.
As a result of this great effort, the club managed to finish in the top ten of IRONMAN’s virtual racing series, but more importantly the club became a more united community despite circumstances that have seen many become socially isolated.
Freeman said: “We have a hardcore group of people who race a lot and do quite well at it but to see all the other people get involved and even people who are injured still taking part is great.
“I myself have struggled with my own mental health through this time, it’s been really challenging for lots of people but the biggest thing is the community and we’re out there supporting each other, particularly those people who may not be the most fit or competitive but just want to get active for their own mental and physical health.”
The series of activities lasted for 12-weeks and after taking a break in July and August was brought back in September and is currently still keeping club members active and engaged despite the lack of events.
“We found that we had members that were really quiet who all of a sudden came out and started getting involved and also new people signing up to join the club and take part,” said Freeman.
Freeman has relished in his role as a volunteer and recommends that others do the same saying: “The triathlon community is so welcoming. As a volunteer you can get involved in so many different ways, whether that’s being a coach or participant, and it’s so rewarding.”
Our sport has at least 24,000 people volunteering at events, in clubs, as Technical Officials, coaches, Activators and much more. Click the button below to find out how you can get involved in multisport by becoming a volunteer.