LIke many people I suspect I was again bounced from the ballot for the PR100. I was chatting to a friend of mine and he suggested volunteering to be a marshall in the event. I thought it might be a good idea so I've looked into it and what I found actually really surprised me.
This event (and the London Marathon) are actually run by a private limited company - London Marathon Events Limited. The named Directors on Companies House are a mix of Public and Private sector people and include Baroness Grey Thompson.
I've been advised, and admittedly I do not know if this is true because it's anecdotal, that volunteers are unpaid (of course) and do not claim back expenses (despite this being against the government's own policy of best practice). I want to reiterate that I do not know if this is true as the details are not on the PRL100 website yet.
What I'm trying to get my head around is why would I want to volunteer for free to work for an organisation that is run by private individuals and that made over £4m in profit last year? Would this not be like working for free for my own employer (something which, when my boss emails me on a Saturday, feels like it's the case).
A little more research indicates that this is now common practice with people volunteering for mass participation events that are run for profit by private companies. It appears that running a private business under the auspices of a large sporting events allows a company to effectively recruit staff to run the event for free.
I'm not a cynic (alright, I am very much a cynic) but does anyone else think that if an event is run by a private firm then supporting staff should at least be paid something for helping to deliver it bearing in mind the profit being made by the organiser?