Event number 220
4th August 2018
Today someone asked me what’s involved in being a parkrun Run Director. So I thought I’d used this run report to explain all….!
Saturday afternoon: It was fun to support Andy, RD on 28th July, with processing the results and I now have three bags of parkrun kit decorating my living room floor! I check the emails. There are a few emails in the parkrun inbox from runners about their results so I reply to them. I then put in a funding application to the parkrun Community Reward Scheme – you don’t get, if you don’t ask!
Sunday evening (6 days until parkrun): I send out an email appeal to everyone registered to receive Chipping Sodbury parkrun emails asking for volunteers for next Saturday. To find out how to sign up for these (amazing) emails, visit https://support.parkrun.com/hc/en-us/articles/200566453-How-do-I-volunteer- I then wait for the replies to come flooding in….and they do! How lovely to have wonderful parkrunners coming forward to choose their role. As run director, we use each person’s name and athlete number to find them on the parkrun system and add them to the volunteer roster. It’s amazing how many people there are with the same name registered with parkrun so it really helps when volunteers let us know their athlete number.
Monday and Tuesday (5 and 4 days to go): I check the parkrun inbox and there are some more offers to volunteer so I add them to the roster. It’s looking good.
Wednesday (3 days to go): There are still two marshal positions and a timekeeper that haven’t been filled on the roster for Saturday so I put out a plea on Facebook for people to come forward. Within 30 minutes I have offers from lovely parkrunners and a full roster! Hoorah! Later on I log in to the parkrun inbox again and there’s an email from Waitrose’s Community Matters project. Our green token box (which was part of their scheme for the month of July) has raised £500! Great news! Thank you shoppers!
Thursday (2 days to go): Quick check of the parkrun emails. There’s one from parkrun HQ asking for information about our defibrillator. I must remember to get the make and model and other details on Saturday so I can reply.
Friday (1 day to go): Every time I’m RD I tell myself that I’ll sort out the kit before it gets to Friday evening. Every time I’m RD, I end up doing it on Friday evening! I clear last Saturday’s results off Gromit II, Wallace and Shaun (the barcode scanners) and plug them and the parkrun laptop into charge. I reset Huey and Dewey (the stopwatches) so that last week’s results are cleared off them. I check the walkie-talkies are charged. Then I go for a run – I need to do my ‘parkrun’ tonight! When I get back, I double check that all the tokens are in the right order ready to be given out in the morning – I know how to have a wild Friday night! I also check that we have enough Finish Token Support and Funnel Manager sheets and pens – where do pens disappear to?! Finally I put a post on Instagram (@csparkrun). I love our Instagram followers – such a friendly bunch of people who are all so supportive of each other.
Saturday morning (parkrun day!): I’m up nice and early and arrive at The Ridings at 8.15am. I’ve been beaten to it by Event Director John and a couple of eager volunteers who are already making a start on getting all our kit out of the cupboard – not a small task as there’s cones, stakes, signs, tape, hivis vests, milestone vests, two tables, a megaphone, a tarpaulin…… all to be carried round. We seem to be a little short of hivis vests and the blue and white run director vest is nowhere to be seen. I ask a couple of volunteers to go on a hunt. They return with a couple more hivis vests, but no vest for me! I message the other run directors – one of them had kindly taken the vests home to wash, mystery solved and at least next time we’ll all smell as fresh as daisies! With the volunteer coordinator, John, we check in all the volunteers and make sure everyone knows what they’re doing. A party of hivis heroes sets up the finish funnel, whilst others set up the start, ‘Bob’s Rock’ and the tennis court carpark. For some it’s their first time volunteering in a particular role, so we show them how to use the stopwatches, barcode scanners, walkie-talkies. Others have volunteered many times and get stuck in without any instruction needed. Then it’s a case of making sure everything runs (almost) to time: first timers briefing (about 8.50am), main briefing (about 8.55am), start (about 9am).
Once everyone’s running, the RD’s job is to support the volunteer team and be the first point of contact should there be any problems. All the marshals either have a walkie-talkie or mobile phone so they can contact me. I’m on the look out for under 11s running without an adult, this is against parkrun rules and is not safe practice. There are some people wanting to drive into the carpark, but we keep the gate shut until the tail walker goes past on the last lap. I explain this to them and they agree to wait. As the fastest runners pass us on their final lap, the timekeepers get into position, thumbs at the ready! They’ll need to stay alert whilst all the runners, joggers and walkers come through the finish. The number checker and funnel manager will then make sure everyone stays in order in the finish funnel and keep track of whether the numbers on the stopwatches are in sync with the finish tokens. Everything is going smoothly until a runner jumps into the funnel without going through the timekeepers. Before we can do anything to stop it, she takes a token. Now we have one less time on the stopwatches than we have given out tokens. The Number Checker volunteer makes a note – we will have to jiggle the results to sort it out.
The tail walker comes through the funnel and it’s time to pack up. The hivis heroes are a dream to watch as tape gets wound up, cones stacked, and everything squeezed into the cupboard.
I’m lucky this week as I have Duke of Edinburgh volunteer Stuart helping me with the results. We download the data off the barcode scanners and pick one of the stopwatches to use to get the times. We then use the parkrun website to merge the barcode scanner data and stopwatch times. We manually input the names and positions of the people whose barcodes wouldn’t scan. Then we add in a time for the person who jumped into the funnel. Now our number of times matches our number of tokens. Finally we update and confirm the volunteer roster so all the hivis heroes get volunteer credit. Meanwhile the tokens are put back into the right order ready for next week by two amazing token sorting volunteers.
And after all that, the results are made live on the website and they are:
292 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 26 were first timers and 39 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 28 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 27 volunteers:
Malcolm Kevin WHITE • Jackie THOMAS • John FRANCKSEN • David STOTT • Bruce SELLERS • Rosamund MOGG • Gary BIRCHER • Annabelle WESCOTT • Cliff TREW • Charlotte MITCHELL • Gavin START • Rob BIGGS • Debbie YOUNG • Ellen DEVINE • Angela WORLOCK • Hannah GOLDIE • Betty MANSER • Stuart MANSER • Myra EVANS • Sophie HILLYERD • Kevin BEARD • Sue BIRD • Karen DORE • Claire THOMAS • Ben WILLIAMS • Julie DEVINE • Lesley PERRETT
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Chipping Sodbury parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by Unknown ATHLETE who recorded a time of 15:16 on 10th September 2016 (event number 128).
The female record is held by Charlotte Emily TAYLOR-GREEN who recorded a time of 17:35 on 11th November 2017 (event number 188).
The Age Grade course record is held by Caroline LAVIS who recorded 90.12% (24:18) on 12th March 2016 (event number 104).
Chipping Sodbury parkrun started on 22nd February 2014. Since then 7,606 participants have completed 55,451 parkruns covering a total distance of 277,255 km, including 10,716 new Personal Bests.
Saturday afternoon: After a nice cup of coffee and a bit of lunch, I log into the parkrun inbox and reply to a couple of queries about times and an offer to volunteer on a future week. Now it’s time to write this run report and reflect on how great it was to see so many people enjoy parkrun this morning.
Thank you to everyone who took part by running, jogging, walking, spectating and especially to those who volunteered. We’ve got the week off next week, but we’ll see you bright and early on 18th August for another parkrun.