Written by Wendy Sears
At the beginning of every parkrun, when announcements are made about the course and personal achievements, you can spot parkrunners (we're looking at you Bill Mac!) cocking their head to listen out for what some consider to be the most important words heard at a parkrun:
"There IS a café this week."
The parkrun café is the equivalent of the 19th hole in golf... with tea, coffee and squash instead of alcohol and toast, waffles and crumpets instead of beer nuts. Scrolling back to past run reports I noticed a great report from Liz Tideswell written in May 2017 explaining why the café is loved so much. http://www.parkrun.org.uk/hanley/news/2017/05/30/event-297-we-love-the-parkrun-cafe/. So I thought I'd continue that theme by getting information directly from today's café volunteers.
The parkrun café is manned by volunteers and takes place at Park Church, located at Boughey Rd, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 2BZ. It is easily accessible through the park itself – usually within 5 -10 minutes walk to and from most available parkrun parking. The Run Director will always be able to point you in the right direction if needed.
The café is run by volunteers, who set up tables and chairs either the evening before the parkrun or on the morning of a parkrun. The same cohort of individuals take responsibility for ensuring there are sufficient resources each week to feed the hungry parkrunners. However there are plenty of tasks for other willing volunteers.
The café kitchen has capacity for three to four volunteers to work comfortably to prepare beverages, toast everything from bagels to waffles and to wash up. Volunteers can also help to collect abandoned crockery and return it to the servery or even help to put the tables and chairs away at the end. One of today's volunteers did suggest that he had been headhunted for the role. Another was trying to obtain a PB in cup washing.
When you look around the hall you will be able to view a sea of welcoming faces, many of whom will be visibly steaming after their 5km run. Its a great opportunity to unwind, recount heroic tales of running up the bridge incline without the use of tethering rope or crampons, and to fill your face with yummy warm food... uhh I mean replenish your body's spent energy. The only requirement of runners is the removal of footwear to maintain the cleanliness of the floor as much as possible and a very nominal donation for what you consume, to allow for the purchase of more resources the next weeks ravenous rabble.
The café is also where token sorters sort though the jigsaw of tokens, ensuring they are restrung in the correct order ready for distribution the next week. It is also where the run director can be seen praying in one corner of the hall that the information from the timekeepers and the barcode scanners match. The café is an incredible hive of activity!
And occasionally an event will be hosted at the café like the televising of a royal wedding on a big screen or, as on this day, the provision of a demonstration regarding resuscitation techniques.
So in short, the café is a great place:
To enjoy some great food
Incidentally if anyone is interested in volunteering with the café then just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or just ask on the day. All help will be gratefully received. As one of the volunteers said today:
"If you can toast it, you can do it!"
Can you Help?
If you would like to volunteer over the coming weeks then please tell any of our run directors or contact Hanley parkrun and they will be more than happy to put you on the roster. There are a range of ways to help out and volunteer; you could scan barcodes, hand out tokens or you could marshal. You can help out in the cafe or sort out the finish tokens.
It doesn’t matter what you do, every volunteer role is greatly appreciated. You can also get in touch via Facebook, send us an email (email@example.com) or speak to the run director after your next run.
This week 227 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 15 were first timers and 18 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 17 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 30 volunteers:
Laura Joan CARPENTER • Bryn HOLMES • Julie HOLMES • Philip DAWID • Brian TONKS • Ray WILSON • Jenny HARPER • Michael BEASLEY • Wendy SEARS • Sarah HARDY • Ruth PARKES • Sue RUSHTON • Janet BRINDLEY • Michael John UNWIN • Charlie COX • Grahame STANLEY • Simon CLARKE • Jorja HARPER • Mick HALL • Craig CARPENTER • Rose YEARDLEY • Dean BROMLEY • Dexter HARPER • Linda SHEFFORD • Mel BATH • Jackie MCGOWAN • Steve WRIGHT • Kim MOODY • Rebekah BEESTON • Dianne DAVIES
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Hanley parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by Ryan HOLROYD who recorded a time of 15:28 on 17th September 2016 (event number 261).
The female record is held by Kate HOLT who recorded a time of 17:04 on 17th June 2017 (event number 300).
The Age Grade course record is held by Angela OLDHAM who recorded 89.20% (22:23) on 23rd July 2016 (event number 253).
Hanley parkrun started on 24th September 2011. Since then 8,024 participants have completed 64,569 parkruns covering a total distance of 322,845 km, including 11,873 new Personal Bests.