The marking team points out the route with markings on the road. The markings could be arrows to show where to go, crosses to show where not to go, SS, CS and lunch point positions, and any other messages the team thinks of. The team generally starts out in the dead of the night around 2 AM or so and completes their work by afternoon/evening depending on the complexity of the day’s route. Consequently, most riders do not meet the markers except possibly on the rest day and during the cool off party.
In order to ensure their effort is not wasted, riders and volunteers ought to keep an eye out for these markings and not miss them by oversight. Especially at junctions, even if it takes a little extra effort to look for it, ensure that you actually see the arrow and take that direction. A lot is different between when the marking is done in the night and later on, as the day progresses. It might turn out that a large vehicle is parked on top of the arrow, or it is too dusty a junction and the markings get hidden as the day goes on, or well…you get the drift! And even when it is a single road for quite a distance, there are arrows marked every few kms just to reassure the riders.
Most riders get used to seeing the markings after one or two days on TFN. A couple of notes of caution…. Please don’t be so intent on the marking that you forget the road and traffic around you. Do not make sudden movements or stops based on the markings you see on the road. Secondly, please ensure you have a general idea of the route map, landmarks and the direction you are headed. It may sometimes happen that there are other markings from other events that might be misleading. So, it is important that we be aware of where we are headed and do not just dumbly follow wherever the markings lead.
That said, the markings have immensely helped riders and volunteers get home on so many TFNs before this and their importance has been universally acknowledged.