Thousands of rowers flock to the major Head of the River races on the Tideway every year – but what’s it like to process and organise all of that as an Entries Secretary? Lara Matthams speaks to the two women responsible for enabling crews to line up and head off under Chiswick Bridge.
The men’s (HORR) and women’s (WEHORR) Head of the River Races, traditionally staged a couple of weeks apart in early March, are arguably the two most important heads in the UK season, certainly for eights.
The commitment involved in preparing for them by the rowers, coxes and their coaches is well documented – hours in the gym, and even more hours on the water – but very little is written about the men and women who work tirelessly behind the scenes to organise these major sporting events. To gain a little insight into the enormous task these volunteers face, I spoke with entries secretaries Lesley Baguley of WEHORR and Bryony Gough of HORR.
Phase 1: Set up for success
Months before clubs are even thinking about selecting their crews for these races, there is a flurry of activity to set the foundation for a successful event. Entries secretaries support the race at every turn, from first committee meeting to the wash-up discussions afterwards. “You have to be a very methodical and process-driven person” explains Bryony.(more…)