ATHLETICS: Rugby & Northampton AC’s Bryan Acford was a volunteer ‘runner’ at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London

A busy morning during high jump qualifying
A busy morning during high jump qualifying

“If anything needed assembling, lifting or painting we did it!”

Keen-eyed television viewers might have spotted Rugby & Northampton AC’s Bryan Acford at the IAAF World Athletics Championships.

Mascot Hero the Hedgehog stole the show throughout - here with the Band of the Household Cavalry

Mascot Hero the Hedgehog stole the show throughout - here with the Band of the Household Cavalry

No, not competing, he was one of the volunteers in bright pink tops helping to keep everything running smoothly.

And on Wednesday night, when the weather was extremely wet and the water puddling around the track, you might have noticed him pushing the squeegee by the hammer cage!

Bryan was a ‘gamesmaker’ at the London 2012 Olympics and since then has been part of a group called Track Team 500 who have helped on a range of events, this time called ‘runners’ working on behalf of UK Athletics.

“If anything needed assembling, lifting or painting we did it!” he said.

Little electric vehicles were used to collect hammers and javelins

Little electric vehicles were used to collect hammers and javelins

“It was hard work, we might not leave until 11pm and were back in just after 7am to set things up before the public came in at 8.30am, but it was a huge privilege to be there.”

In the ‘field of play’ team Bryan spent four days before hand getting everything ready at the track, four days helping during the event -including being part of the starting blocks team or at the finish line - and another two days watching from the stands.

Like theatre stagehands, the ‘runners’ played a vital role, from unpacking and building equipment, to swapping pole vault beds for high jump ones and setting out hurdles with military precision.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “A wonderful spectacle and very well presented.

A sunny morning at the warm up track

A sunny morning at the warm up track

“Although the focus was on Farah and Bolt, as we all saw, sport isn’t a fairytale and there were lots of unexpected winners.

“Hero the mascot was huge entertainment and really stole the show, occasionally getting into trouble as well. There was a lot of speculation as to who was inside.

“Overall the support from the crowd was phenomenal. There was a wave of noise around the stand following the athletes. They all loved it.”

Usain Bolt crossing the line for Jamaica in the heats of the 4x100m relay on Saturday morning

Usain Bolt crossing the line for Jamaica in the heats of the 4x100m relay on Saturday morning

Newly delivered equipment in the storeroom waiting to be unpacked

Newly delivered equipment in the storeroom waiting to be unpacked

The team setting out the hurdles

The team setting out the hurdles

The million pound television screen where athletes entered the track

The million pound television screen where athletes entered the track

Mo Farah training at the stadium

Mo Farah training at the stadium

Ecstasy on face of USAs Will Claye after claiming silver in triple jump

Ecstasy on face of USAs Will Claye after claiming silver in triple jump

Hero up to his tricks

Hero up to his tricks