LDWA – Daffodil Dawdle 2023
The Daffodil Dawdle is one of the challenge events that is organised by Norfolk & Suffolk LDWA and one that I’ve been marshalling for several years having previously walked it numerous times. My role in the whole event is managing the registration and IT side of the operation, aided by Richard who I’ve trained up to do just about everything, which is allowing me to focus on my additional role of food tester. The start is Stradbroke Community Centre where we were made welcome by the particularly engaging and personable caretaker.
Here’s Richard entertaining some of the entrants before they get ready to start the event, which this year had two options, an 18 mile and a 26 mile route. He has been getting much better at recent events following my extensive training programme which I’ve been offering, although he’s yet to walk a challenge event himself. There were many negative comments about that during the course of the day, although to be fair, they were all from me. Being the brave athlete I am, I’ve already signed up to complete the Smuggler’s Trod later this year, the third time that I would have entered.
I put myself in charge of signage and an example of my professionalism is visible here. Richard claimed that this was would blow away within minutes, but I’m pleased to confirm that it lasted for the entire day.
Some of the 08:00 starters ready for the off, with plenty of Hike Norfolk members in there as well.
The 08:30 starters.
And the 09:00 starters who were mostly runners.
After the registration process is completed and the entrants are all on their way, Richard and I do two things. Firstly, we double check the entries to ensure we know how many people are out on the route and we update the checkpoints with this information using WhatsApp. Secondly, we get breakfast, which is my case was a delicious beans on toast prepared with care by Hayley in the kitchen.
Jayne excelled herself in the kitchen with this delicious leek and potato soup, which was prepared in honour of South Wales group. Actually, I’m not sure if that’s true, but it’s the sort of thing that we should do. Many entrants commented just how good this was and I’ve requested that it makes a reappearance at future events.
Peach crumble, also prepared by Jayne and this is another one of my favourites.
When entrants come in I tell them how brave they’ve been, if I think that’s appropriate, before writing down the time and entrant number for Richard to process. He then prints a certificate, which I carefully take over to the certificate table. Richard and I think that this is the mostly highly streamlined element of the event, although the kitchen staff are also nearing perfection as well. We run such a tight knit little enterprise in the corner that it gives me time to go and sit with entrants who have finished the route to gossip about numerous things.
It’s always great to hear feedback from entrants and I only received positive comments about the route, the volunteers and the food and drink. For LDWA members, the event fee was £14 which gets you drinks and biscuits at the start, numerous checkpoints all laden with food, such as sandwiches, crisps and the like, as well as the soup, beans on toast and peach crumble at the end. You also get a certificate and the warm feeling of completing a challenge, all for a very reasonable price I think.
We had just under 140 people walking the event this year and we were pleased that a slightly soggy area on the route had mostly dried out by the day of the challenge. Entrants navigate around the route using either GPX, the route description or a combination of both, but there are nearly always people around to follow if anyone does get muddled up. The group’s next event is the Summer Poppyline in Sheringham which will take place on Saturday 22 July 2023, with entries open at https://www.sientries.co.uk/event.php?elid=Y&event_id=11026.
And for anyone interested in volunteering for the LDWA in Norfolk and Suffolk, contact Hilary or Ray. Unfortunately the food testing role is filled, but help is always appreciated in other areas, whether that’s in the kitchen, at checkpoints, checking the route or in many other ways.