Volunteers are the life blood of our event and volunteers like Linda Stenning are pure gold. Linda has been a volunteer at the SunSmart IRONMAN 70.3 Busselton every year since 2011, except one year when she raced. When she's not wearing her volunteers uniform, you will often see her out on course or in transition in her Technical Officials uniform. We caught up with Linda to find out why she keeps coming back.
How did you first get involved? How many are you?
My parents are Busselton residents and my dad was involved with Rotary when the race started. He volunteered our family to assist the rotary club and we managed road closures for the first few years.
Following that I became a novice triathlete and joined the Technical Officiating team, helping out in roles like Penalty Box, Transition, Team changover and Chief Race Official.
I have a close association with TWA and for the past 5+ years have also volunteered in registration in the days leading up to the race, including those times, we ran registration in Perth.
Mum still loves to come down and help at Registration, but at 82 her hours are getting shorter each year.
Why do you keep coming back?
Triathlon is an amazing sport and I look forward to returning each year to catch up with competitors that I have got to know. I love to hear about the first timers, and their stories of how they got "talked into" this event, and to see them on the course and finishing is such a great feeling.
Busselton also provides an amazing venue for the event, and I am lucky to have friends and family that live there to support me.
What’s your favourite thing about the SunSmart IRONMAN 70.3 Busselton?
Competing the event in 2011 was my biggest personal sporting achievement, and I love that this sport offers that opportunity to triathletes of all abilities. The event covers a huge area from the city centre, the beautiful bay with the jetty backdrop, and the Tuart Forest, with some amazing scenery to see throughout the course.
The goals for each athlete are varied, but there is a common theme among the athletes to enjoy the sport, and from my experience, triathletes are the most appreciative of the volunteers than any other sport. I love to hear at every aid station, road closure location and at the finish line, the athletes all saying "thank you" to the volunteers. It is mainly this reason, that the volunteers for this event continue to come back every year.
What do you enjoy about volunteering?
I have made some long lasting friendships with athletes, volunteers, staff and officials as a result of volunteering at this event and hope to continue to be involved for many more years. I guess I am a serial volunteer, as I am also involved in Masters Swimming, Avon Descent, WA Disabled Swimming and many other events over the years that have called out for volunteers. The personal rewards of volunteering far outweigh the efforts required.
Looking forward to a great 2019 event. I'll be at Registration again, and Chief Race Official on race day.