A massive operation has swung into action in readiness for Keighley’s BigK 10K.
The run/walk has become Manorlands’ biggest single money-spinning sports event.
Last year’s extravaganza attracted more than 1,000 entrants and raised a massive £49,000 for the Oxenhope Sue Ryder hospice.
On March 30, when participants line-up at the start in Victoria Park, few will realise how much behind-the-scenes work is involved in staging the event.
Activity begins in November when organisers contact sponsors, set up online entry and create a publicity plan.
“Part of this is ordering new banners and renovating ones that will do another year – we don’t like to waste a penny!” said Manorlands fundraiser Andrew Wood.
“Four weeks before the event we put advanced road-closure warning signs out around the route, so as to make life for motorists as smooth as possible that morning.
“And a few weeks before the race we also order the water and T-shirts that we will need on the day – it is useful if participants enter in good time to make this easier for us to judge how many will be required – and we book first aid.”
Entries are handled by Poppy Holmes and Harriet Bevan, who are also in charge of distributing packs to the individual entrants.
Prior to the event, testing of the chip timing system takes place and goody bags – containing a commemorative T-shirt, sports water bottle from Yorkshire Water and information about other events and sponsors – are packed.
Mr Wood said volunteers play a massive part in helping with the event and the goody-bag packing is one example of how essential their support is.
“Many hands make light work when you have 1,200 bags to fill,” he said.
“Judy Newiss is one of our most committed volunteers, and she is always present for the bag packing prior to events. They all do a fantastic job.”
In the days leading up to the event, high- visibility jackets, whistles and instructions are given to the 80 marshals who will be stationed around the course – closing roads and directing and encouraging runners.
“Warning stewards about intolerant motorists is the worst bit of the race preparation,” said Mr Wood.
“The volunteers are all giving up their time for a great cause and they don’t deserve to be given abuse by the odd impatient driver.
“In the past certain drivers have been reported to the police for abusive and dangerous behaviour.”
On the eve of the event, a team puts out ‘caution runner’ and directional arrow signs along the route.
And on the day, teams are out at 6am checking the route and setting up the facilities at Victoria Park.
All the entrants must register and collect their chip timing tags from one of the long line of desks in Victoria Hall.
Visit bigk10k.org.uk for more information about the event.