Drumchapel parkrun – Volunteer of the Month
Name: Ron Downie
Age Group: 65-69
Number of times you’ve volunteered: I’ve volunteered 39 times and run 33 times. I’m steadily trying to equalise these two numbers (Ron has completed 48 tasks over 39 volunteering sessions, 38 of which were at Drumchapel!)
How did you first get involved as a volunteer with parkrun: My daughter started running at her local parkrun in Manchester and told me about it. I was injured at the time and couldn’t run for almost a year so I volunteered. I love being involved with runners, sometimes I run myself but I enjoy volunteering just as much
Favourite Volunteer Role: I enjoy marshalling. I grew up in Drumchapel and used to play in the Woods in the 1950s. The trees aren’t as big now but it’s much the same! I like hanging about there remembering the past and feeling pleased to see the Woods being used in this way
What’s your parkrun routine on Saturday mornings: I live within a mile of the start. I enjoy walking if it’s a nice morning and seeing the Woods in different seasons. Sometimes I drive but I feel guilty about that. The Run Directors seem to think I’m best suited for Marshal Point 5, I usually get that position. It’s the furthest away point on the course, maybe they’re trying to tell me something! (The real reason we ask Ron to Marshal at Marshal Point 5 is because he always remembers to bring the signs back afterwards!) I enjoy a cup of tea and a chat (and a roll Ron!!) at the Orchard Cafe at St Mark’s Church afterwards. I attended the Church when it was first built in 1955 and I’m pleased to see it’s still going strong
What do you like most about parkrun: I marvel at the efficiency and speed with which parkrun is organised. The way the results appear within hours of the finish. When I’m volunteering I feel that I’m part of a well-oiled machine!
How has volunteering at parkrun positively impacted on you: There are loads of interesting people involved in parkrun and I’ve learned a lot from speaking to them. I met Norman Boyle and joined his yoga class (Norman is our resident yoga guru!). Yoga has improved my fitness and general well being.
What skills have you developed or put into practice as a volunteer at parkrun: I feel I’m much more supportive of people who are trying to improve their fitness through not only running but any sport. I’ve developed this through shouting encouragement to runners at parkrun.
What advice would you give to anyone considering volunteering at parkrun for the first time: If you are a runner, volunteering occasionally is an opportunity to observe good runners and pick up some tips. If you don’t run, it’s a great way to meet people and walk around the Woods. There is no pressure on you, and if something goes wrong no one will blame you.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: The most memorable moment was last March when I received the phone call telling me I had won the parkrun competition holiday to South Africa. Exodus Travel has arranged the holiday with flights paid for by Vitality. I intend to run the Greenpoint parkrun in Capetown when I'm there (wearing his Drumchapel apricot tee-shirt we hope!). I am going to keep a blog (don’t know how to do it yet!) and also post on facebook. (Last March, Ron won the Vitality UK’s #WalkJogRunWin prize which is a trip of a lifetime to South Africa! Despite our best efforts, Ron decided not to take any of Drumchapel’s Run Directors, but chose to bring his lovely wife instead!)
Describe Drumchapel parkrun in three words: Great morning out!