A day in the life of Julia Gilbert - a national road and track commissaire at the Olympic road race test event
Tell us what attracted you to officiating?
I started at Welwyn track, I was injured at the time and my husband was racing so I offered to help as I was at the track anyway. My first roles included finish judge and lap board and bell at the track league. The more I did the more I enjoyed it which was helped by the friendly team I worked with.
The chief commissaire at one of the local open meetings asked if I was interested in becoming a commissaire and pointed me towards the assistant commissaire course and it went from there. When the opportunity to shadow the officials on the World Masters Track Championships arose I grabbed it and that was it, I was hooked!
Can you explain your journey from your first official appointment to being involved in the recent London 2012 test event?
As a regional track commissaire I was appointed to local grass track events and open track meetings at Welwyn. From there I was asked to help out at the club’s road race which gave me my first taste of officiating on the road. From there I booked onto the next assistant road commissaire course and started to officiate in the region, as my experience grew I was promoted first to a regional commissaire and then a national road commissaire.
Since then I’ve worked on road and circuit races around the country and gained experience in many different and varied roles. These include chief commissaire for the girl’s road race at the UK School Games, keeping an eye on the team cars in the convoy during a Premier Calendar as ‘Comm3’ and as Pit Commissaire for the Tour Series.
What would you say to people interested in getting involved or progressing on the officiating ladder?
If you enjoy a challenge, like working as part of a team and can be calm under pressure then you can learn all the other things as you go along. You have to be determined and work hard but it’s worth mentioning you are interested in furthering your experience to some of the more experienced commissaires when you feel confident.
Finding one or more ‘mentors’ to help you is essential, you will learn so much more from your experiences using their advice and hearing a different point of view. This doesn’t have to be officially set up for you, just find somebody with experience who is doing the kind of thing you want to get involved with and start from there.