About parkrun UK
Anita Afonso - Head of Event Activation - parkrunner A27006
Anita was introduced to parkrun by her then colleague, now other half in February 2009, when she ran on a muddy Wimbledon Common. Read the full story here. Anita joined parkrun UK on the 1st of April 2009 and is responsible for all matters related to the activation of new parkrun events in both the 5K and junior parkrun series.
Favourite volunteering role:Run Director, especially doing the pre-run briefing. She believes it is always an enjoyable way to make all parkrunners feel welcome, and to share all sorts of news related to an event. Anita never forgets to mention the postrun café location.
Chris Jones - Head of Finance & Fundraising - parkrunner A19147
Chris first heard about parkrun from a friend who ran Leeds ‘Hyde Park Time Trial’ as it was called back then, although he didn’t actually check it out until August 2008! Chris joined the parkrun UK team in January 2014 and is responsible for financial matters for parkrun UK.
Favourite volunteering role:Standing on a windswept corner shouting a mixture of encouragement, style comments, running tips etc.
Personal goalChris has become an avid parkrun tourist and is keeping an eye on clubmates Nicola Forwood and Andrew Nicholls in the race (or is that run?) for 100 different events.
Chrissie Wellington - Head of Participation - parkrunner A406323
Having retired from professional sport, Chrissie came back to live in UK in 2012. At that time she was a parkrun ignoramus. She first encountered parkrun when she came across 300 people lining up in Richmond Park on a Saturday morning. She naughtily gatecrashed that event, but her first official finish was at Richmond Park soon after.
She first started working for parkrun in February 2013 and is responsible for banging the drum for participation within parkrun, and also working with other organisations to promote healthy lifestyles and participation in physical activity.
Favourite volunteering role:Cheerleading, very loudly!
Words of wisdom“If you run 5k very fast it hurts a lot more than doing an ironman, but you get less blisters and chaffing.”
Ed Hart - Commercial Partnerships Manager - parkrunner A432880
Ed first learnt about parkrun whilst managing the partnership for his previous company and became a parkrun member of staff in March 2015.
In his role as Commercial Partnerships Manager, Ed is responsible for working with parkrun's sponsors and supporters to ensure that the relationships deliver value for both parties, whilst maintaining the interests of the parkrun community.
Favourite volunteering role:Being so new to the team, Ed hasn't yet volunteered at a parkrun however is looking forward to it soon, so watch this space!
Glen Turner - Head of Communications - parkrunner A65462
Glen was an occasional parkrunner at Bromley and Wimbledon Common in 2010 and 2011. But a move north of the Thames and a long-term injury in 2012 led to him becoming the Event Director of Gladstone parkrun and then a parkrun ambassador later that year.
Glen joined the parkrun UK team in June 2015 as Head of Communications and is responsible for raising the profile of parkrun and generating positive media coverage.
Favourite volunteering roles:The first-timers briefing and barcode scanning - the fastest and easiest ways to meet people and learn their names.
What does he love about parkrun?He can be running or volunteering at a parkrun in the UK while his family are running or volunteering at a parkrun in his native Australia (more often than not at Shellharbour). And on the odd occasions they get to run the same parkrun together, like on his brother's wedding day or the 10th anniversary at Bushy Park, it is extra special.
Helen Hood - Head of Operations - parkrunner A165246
Helen first heard parkrun mentioned on the Marathon Talk podcast. She went along to the third Colwick parkrun with her family for the first time in July 2011 and never left! She joined the parkrun UK team in January 2014 and is responsible for the operational activities of parkrun UK events including policies, procedures and communications.
Favourite volunteering role:Happy to do anything in the hi-vis but rather partial to the Run Director role and leading the warm up at any junior parkrun event that will let her!
Why does she love parkrun?She loves the fact that we are building communities that extend beyond a Saturday morning.
Ian Rutson - Operations Manager - parkrunner A249753
In his youth, Ian was as passionate about avoiding exercise as he now is about parkrun. Having piled on a few extra pounds in his late thirties, he started the Couch to 5k programme in January 2012 and ran his first parkrun at Pontefract a few weeks later. In hindsight, running every one of those 5000-odd steps really was a life-changing experience. Soon afterwards he started to volunteer regularly and took over as Event Director the following year.
He started working for parkrun in August 2015 covering event activation in the UK and providing technical resource to the rest of the team.
Favourite volunteering role:New runners brief - what better way to start a weekend than explain parkrun to a bunch of eager new faces?
What does he love about parkrun?That it’s accessible to all yet can challenge everyone.
Jaz Bangerh - Head of HR & Volunteer Management - parkrunner A7786
Jaz was encouraged by Tom Williams go to a pilot 5k time trial in Leeds and then further coerced to be on the start line of the inaugural a week later. To be truthful she hated running in those early years and had all the grace of a baby elephant in a stampede. It took her about 18 months to run the entire course without stopping and years later she went on to run the London marathon. On the 10th Anniversary of parkrun, Jaz celebrated by becoming the first woman of Indian heritage to achieve 250 parkruns.
Jaz joined the parkrun UK team in March 2014 and is responsible for all matters related to the management, development and welfare of staff and Ambassadors.
Favourite volunteering role:She loves being Funnel Manager and describes it as ‘a bit like being the traffic controller in an airport!’
What does she loves about parkrun?Jaz loves the courage and persistence of people whether it’s to just get to the start line; to finish the course; or to simply put one foot in front of the other. She says it really is a beautiful, heart-warming, soul-lifting experience.
Jo Sinton-Hewitt - Event Support Manager - parkrunner A987
Joanne is the wife of the founder of parkrun so has lived with it from its birth! She mainly volunteered in the early days at Bushy and was on the very first volunteer team. Jo supports existing events in the UK including risk assessment updates and recording incidents.
Favourite volunteering role:Her favourite volunteering role is timer she likes shouting encouragement to people as they near the finish line.
What does she love about parkrun?She loves running with her dog, meeting new teams and visiting new courses.
Mike Graney - Head Data Analyst - parkrunner A41158
Mike heard about parkrun in 2010 when he was coming back from a long-term injury, and went along to Heaton Park in Manchester to see what it was all about. It was love at first sight and he raved about it from the very first run, becoming addicted to the stats and soon dragging his family along with him.
Mike joined the UK team as Head of Analysis in May 2015 and his job is to generate insight from parkrun data and other sources to help parkrun keep growing bigger and getting more people active.
Favourite volunteering role:Timekeeper. Mike "loves getting to congratulate the runners as they cross the line”, and “always enjoys watching a good competitive sprint finish!"
Why does he love parkrun?Mike loves that it's a blank canvas and people can enjoy it in so many different ways, from being a chance to catch up with mates, people's only exercise of the week, or a chance to go all out for that illusive PB!
Rowan Ardill – Engagement Officer - parkrunner A72589
Rowan ran his first parkrun at Heaton Park in Manchester in 2010 after seeing an article in a running magazine. He loved the idea of parkrun so much that he set about launching an event in his own community almost instantly. He has been Event Director at Bolton parkrun since the outset and the event celebrates its fifth anniversary in February 2016. Rowan has been an Ambassador for parkrun since 2013, supporting the set up of numerous new events around the North West of England.
Rowan started working for parkrun in November 2015 and is responsible for increasing participation in junior parkrun events, particularly in disadvantaged communities.
Favourite volunteering role:
I love doing absolutely any volunteer role but my favourite is barcode scanning – I love chatting to people immediately after their run, getting to know new people and hearing all their parkrun stories!
Tom Williams - Managing Director - parkrunner A6013
In early 2007 Tom saw parkrun feature in a Runner’s World magazine and decided, along with a whole load of great people from the University of Leeds, that he’d like to bring it to Leeds. On August the 4th that year he took part in Bushy parkrun (or Bushy Park Time Trial as it was then) and two months later Leeds parkrun (or Hyde Park Time Trial) was born. The rest, as they say, is history.
Tom has been a volunteer since 2007 and a member of staff since 2011 and is responsible for guiding the overall strategy for parkrun UK whilst developing relationships with commercial partners and key stakeholders.
Favourite volunteering role:Timing... because he loves the thrill of the finish line! Every single emotion captured across one final glorious metre.
Fun factTom hated running at school and didn’t take part in any form of timed run until he was 25!
Will Prentis - Special Projects Officer - parkrunner A228836
Will has been a frequent volunteer and parkrunner since January 2012. He has volunteered in a host of roles, including Run Directing at both Harrogate and Fountains Abbey parkrun. He joined the parkrun UK team in March 2014 and is responsible for internal information management, archiving stories and case studies, and undertakes special projects or specific tasks as they arise. He is currently a student at the University of Nottingham.
Favourite volunteering role:Barcode Scanning - it’s a fantastic opportunity to put a name to a face and have a chat with all finishers after they cross the line.