Bond has ‘Q’, Batman has ‘Alfred’. ÖTILLÖ has ‘Team Logistics’
By Team Logistics
3 am. ÖTILLÖ World Championship race day. Suddenly wide awake, trying to recall if we have remembered to put a cutting knife for the bananas in box number 12 and if the hot water for the soup will be ready for collection before we depart in two hours time.
4:30 am. The wind is howling, the rain is horizontal and a tense subdued crowd is eyeing up Team Logistics expecting us to make it good for them.
5:45 am. A hug for Alison and Wez (Team Splash and Dash from the Isles of Scilly) going for the big one after just one previous race experience and they are off.
What a year 2017 has been. In a 28-week period, we put on 12 races and our two shipping containers have travelled over 18,750 km with an inventory of over 2950 items, from spare batteries for the bullhorn at the start, First Aid kits for the volunteers at the Energy stations, and the cable that connects the timing clock on the Finish Line.
By the time the start gun goes our little circus troop of Håkan (“Let me check my list”), Maja (“Volunteer Queeny”), Lollo (“Got to work with a view”), Ally (“Little Miss Sweep”) and Andy (“Does as he is told”) has swelled to over 70 people so that you guys can venture out into the open sea and swim 1750 m in gale-force winds and 1 to 2-m waves.
11:30 am. The wind and rain are still biblical and volunteers are whooping and cheering as they thrust much-needed energy at bedraggled competitors; it is so true that a smile is always the best tonic.
1:45 pm. The seasick media team is at full stretch scampering from location to location carrying vast amounts of very expensive gear, they always seem to break something, and the pink vested medical team are dispensing tough love to any doubters as quitting is forever…
A happy organisation is inevitably a good organisation and Team Logistics thrives on banter, laughs, good food and the odd drop of amber liquid. It takes us three, long, solid days to set up an event once we arrive on location, not to mention the hundreds of hours of pre-planning that goes on before we arrive. Vital to our success is always our onsite “fixers” and we are so fortunate to have a community of people who clearly don’t have the word “no” in their vocabulary. Our friends, the sponsors, are just as important and their display stands and stock are very much part of our caravan that is shipped to each event location.
6:15 pm. Will the rain ever stop? At the Finish Line, the atmosphere is both humbling and euphoric but no rest for Team Logistics, as we kneel down for the 300th time to remove slimy timing chips and listen to the amazing compère Philip O’Connor (it’s so true what they say about how the Irish can talk!).
11 pm. The lights are being switched off and an enormous satisfaction of a job well done descends around us.
The following day, the pack of 70 dissolves back to a hungover, sleep-deprived, feeling-sorry-for-themselves group of 5 facing a veritable mountain of soggy, wet, dirty equipment that has to be sorted, cleaned and repacked into the containers … and yes, we really are looking forward to meeting you all again in 2018 to make more of these memorable moments.
Article first published in Swimrun Life Magazine Issuze #4 (October 2017)