Since 2012 I've worked at the London Marathon providing post-event massage to fundraising runners. In recent times I've worked with a small charity, treating their runners. This got me thinking about smaller charities or charities with only a handful of runners. Set out below is the basis for a post-event service shared between a number of these smaller groups. 

The full version is available here.  

The London Virgin Marathon attracts thousands of runners every year. Many run to raise funds for charities. After 26 miles of running it’s great to be able to offer these fundraising runners the opportunity to have a short sports massage to help ease tired limbs and reduce some or the inevitable post-event soreness that they will experience.

But what do you do if you are either a smaller charity, without the resources, or a charity with only a handful of runners? Our idea is simple: Gather a small team of therapists working with a group of charities to provide a post-event service to their runners.

Rather than work individually we pool our resources and work as a team. Four or five therapist serving up to a hundred runners across maybe six or seven charities. The charities benefit too. Not only can they offer a post-event treatment to their runners, they can work together on meeting their runners after the event and sharing the costs of post-event gifts and refreshments.

How it might work

Let’s assume that each therapist could comfortably manage to treat 15 runners over a 4 hour cycle. A typical post-event massage lasts around 10-15 minutes, and there’s a bit of time cleaning the couch etc before the next treatment. Obviously there is likely to be some degree of congestion as a number of runners arrive at the same time. It is also important to factor in breaks for the therapists. Massage can be hard work, and although we’re all trained to look after our hands, it is quite stressful.

So, a team of 4 therapists might reasonably be expected to be able to treat 60 runners. If between 50-70% come for treatment, that would suggest that we could cater for up to 120 registered runners.

If we limited access to the scheme to organisations with 25 or fewer participants, then 5 charities could participate or a greater number if they have fewer registered runners. 

Counting the Cost 

At a basic level there would be a fee to be part of the service. This is to cover the costs of administration and supervision. My suggestion is that each charity pays the same to be part of the service, and at the moment I’m thinking this would be around £50-£100. It’s a bit of a guess, and I’m certainly not trying to make money out of this, but I don’t think that it’s an unreasonable amount. Trying to develop a sliding scale dependent upon how many registered runners each charity has just makes the process a whole lot harder and I’m all for simple solutions. My understanding is that a typical cost to a single charity of £200-£300, dependant upon the size of the team, is typical and means that supervisors are appropriately paid for their work and responsibilities. 

A Final Word

Each year I’ve worked at the London Marathon it’s been a challenge getting across the city dragging my couch and equipment. I do it because I believe it’s worth the effort to support all the people who have trained hard and campaigned to raise funds for their chosen charity. Each year I meet first-time, (and last-time!) runners. I hear stories about why they’ve chosen to run.

I’d love to see every charity runner have the option of a post-event massage. They all deserve it.