After a few “volunteers” from one team working during Standard Chartered Singapore marathon complained about several issues that cropped up during the event, a representative from the event released a statement detailing answers to the complaints.
What were the complaints?
According to Daryl Chia, 19, a student from Republic Polytechnic, he and some of his co-volunteers waited inordinate amounts of time for volunteer buses to not arrive and were unable to get any food or water from the event
Some experienced rude treatment from people working with the marathon and overall poor coordination and planning with regards to their duties.
But records show that Daryl and other complainants were not officially registered volunteers. Instead, they were part of a transport team organised by their school. They were required to help out at the marathon to complete some school requirements, but were not officially linked with the marathon.
As for the rude treatment, it had happened to a student from another team who was an official volunteer, but the incident has since been resolved, at the event itself.
IRONMAN Singapore and marathon sponsor Standard Chartered answer the complaints
Lack of food and drinks for volunteers
In a statement released by the marathon organisers, the staff said that they ensured that their volunteers had all the infrastructure and supplies they needed–if they had gone to the registration area to get their paraphernalia.
IRONMAN said that all official volunteers were given a wristband and three coupons so they could claim a bento meal, a bag of snacks and all the bottled water they would need at the registration area.
Daryl Chia mentioned that he was not given any wristband or coupons and was briefed to go to the first station at once, without going to any registration area. But how would he, when he wasn’t even registered?
The briefing reportedly happened in his school prior to the event. He only attended one briefing and was unable to recall the name of the representative.
IRONMAN records show that they had conducted two briefings at Republic Polytechnic, one on November 7 and another on November 9. There was also a public briefing organised on November 4.
Missed buses because of breaking protocol
The IRONMAN team further said that they had instructed the volunteers for the route teams in previous briefings to wait one hour after the last runner passed their station and only make their way to the next one after that hour.
According to the organisers, some of the volunteers had left the station just as the last runner passed, which may have resulted in missed buses and coordination. Leaving their station immediately was also against protocol.
Rude treatment because of panicking and miscommunication
Addressing the incident where a student named Hannah Zalkaff was reprimanded in a rude manner, IRONMAN said that the matter occurred between Hannah’s fellow volunteer and a member of the Athlete team for volunteers.
When the friend was unable to get information about her duties, she asked another one of her friends instead of her captain, which resulted in panicking and stress. This may have caused the verbal altercation.
This incident was resolved later when the two parties were asked to discuss the incident. The person who spoke rudely to Hannah has since apologised and the matter settled.
IRONMAN Singapore said that the kids were in no way required to pay for their transportation costs and were either required to walk from one station to another (which, according to IRONMAN was 850 meters at most) or to wait for the buses which were being coordinated during the race.
IRONMAN reiterated that volunteers to different events held by other firms weren’t normally awarded any allowance at all but Standard Chartered wanted to provide it. These students were given $20.
A WhatsApp group for the volunteer captains was established to help coordinate the volunteer teams. The volunteers would only be able to be picked up by the buses if the coordinators had given the signal–this is why they had to wait one hour after the last runner passed their station.
Read the full statement from IRONMAN below:
– There were a total of 4,000 volunteers for the event week
– Volunteers had 3 reporting times 12mn, 1am and 3am. All captains have to report 30 mins before the volunteers’ reporting times (11.30pm 2-Dec, 12.30am, 2.30am).
– Volunteers reporting at 1am and 3am had scheduled buses from six pick up points across the island, Republic Polytechnic and Nanyang Polytechnic (buses were scheduled 1 hour before volunteers’ reporting time)
– A total of 400 people reported for the 12am shift, and public transport to was available to get them to the point
– Meeting point for all volunteers was the floating platform where they were given a final briefing. All volunteers were provided with a wrist tag which entitled them to
o A meal coupon (Bento Box meal)
o Welfare Tag: which included coffee and six snacks
o Drinks: volunteers are entitled to as many bottles of water as desired
– Upon departure volunteers were advised to bring with them at least 2 bottles of water each
– Some volunteers opted not to take the meals, despite being advised
– All volunteers were provided with google map print outs of the race routes together with handbooks with contact details, instructions and protocols
– The longest shift for any volunteer was 10 hours, 3am to 1pm
– Volunteer briefings were held before the session, when IRONMAN visitied Republic Poly a total of 1,500 students were meant to attend the briefing, only 600 attended in total
– Each volunteer was given reimbursed $20 for their time and effort – this isn’t a common practice globally, and the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon is one of a few events that provide a volunteer stipend, a welfare pack and a shuttle service for the volunteers
– Volunteer deployment buses were on hand to ferry volunteers from the floating platform to various locations
– Volunteers were not required to take any form of public transport to get from one location to another
– 2 route teams, 2 station teams, and Padang teams were required to walk to their stations, the longest walk was from the Floating Platform to the Padang (850m)
– Volunteer captains were instructed to contact control at the Padang via Whatsapp to stand down 1 hour after the last runner had crossed their locations
– Hannah’s group stood down early, immediately after the last runner had passed them, which was against protocol
– At this stage, the roads were not yet opened and buses were not yet activated to pick them
– The last runner passed their point at about 9am, they were only meant to stand down at 10am (earliest)
– Some volunteers had chosen not to wait, and captains were not able to prevent them from making their own way from the venue. This resulted in them going to the wrong pick up location, meaning that the bus driver was unable to locate them when he went to the designated pick up location
– All stand down instructions and protocol was communicated during briefings and in the volunteer handbook which was issued to everyone
– Hannah’s friend was deployed near F1 pit building (650m)
– While making her way to the point she got lost, she rang a fellow volunteer at Athlete Welfare instead of calling her volunteer in charge
– She was unable to identify her location, started to panic and became distressed, this resulted in a frustrated exchange over the phone with a contractor at Athlete Welfare, where she was spoken to in a rude manner
– This incident however was resolved when both parties met, the volunteer management team had apologised to her on the same day, the apology was accepted and she carried on her duties
What do you think of these students and their complaints? Let us know in the comments!