You can't park here
‘You can’t come through here. The road is closed’. The guy waved his arm gesturing to the motorists that stopping on a roundabout was not a good idea.
One by one they got the message and moved on.
‘We’re breaking a new guy in’. The marshal told me, point to a guy in a fluorescent jacket 50 or so yards further down the road. ‘I’ve told him not to approach the vehicles. Just shout that the road is closed and ask them to move on. Once you approach the vehicle and engage the occupant in conversation, the motorist thinks they have the upper hand and will try anything to get through’.
A white van pulled up. The marshal gestured to them and asked them to move on. The window of the van was slightly open and from within you could hear mutterings and the occasional expletive. They finally moved off.
‘Last year we had a guy in an artic turn up. He wouldn’t move on. Just sat in his cab rambling on about his tachograph. I just told him in that case you should find somewhere to park up and get some sleep. You can’t park here, and I’m not letting you through. Once I got the police down here he soon moved it’, the marshal explained to me.
Fifteen minutes later the two occupants approached the marshal. ‘Why won’t you let us through?’
‘The road is closed’, came the reply. ‘It’s the Sheffield half marathon. The runners started five minutes ago, it’s now a live event, they will be here any minute’.
‘We only need to get down that road. We’ll be two minutes. C’mon let us through’.
‘Sorry it’s a live event, I can’t do anything. I can’t let you through until 12 noon when the event has finished’.
‘F**king c**t. What’s your f**king problem? Can’t you do anyone a favour? If you won’t f**king move them we’ll move them our f**king selves’.
The marshal just shrugged and went back to listening to his radio to hear how the race was progressing.
The two guys wandered off swearing under their breaths. The marshal turned to me and said, ‘If they move those cones I’ll just call the police. Simple as that’.
This guy, as I found out, had been supervising events for the last twenty years. He’d been round the block and then some. He’d take the crap and just shrug it off. If people want to play nasty, so be it.
The two guys never came back.
Later, when I was packing up my gear I noticed the same two guys standing on the bridge watching the runners go by. They had accepted that there was no way through and all they could do was wait. There threats were empty. Just words to vent their frustration; which to me seemed to boil over far too easily.
After all it was a Sunday.