This week I'm going to report from what a lot of people think is the dark side.. volunteering.
Saturday was my first time as Run Director without having any other Run Directors at the event to help out if I got stuck, but did have telephone support if needed. Thursday evening checked the stop-watches and barcode scanners where reset and put the laptop and barcode scanners on charge overnight. Friday evening packed everything up and printed out the event briefing notes and volunteers roster before heading to a Kasabian concert! Managed to get out of bed on Saturday morning at 7:00am after 5 hours sleep to drink a couple of mugs of coffee, then off to the parkrun where arriving a little early I had time for another coffee.
The volunteers started arriving at 08:15 and we took all the equipment to the start/finish area to sort out and then give the volunteers briefing. Everything was calm and running to clockwork! At about 8:30 I was ticking off names of the volunteers, when I ticked off the name of the Finish Tokens volunteer, I was hit with a sudden realisation that I did not have them with me, ooops, big ooops. Luckily we had a fair number of volunteers that knew the ropes, so I left to do the Newark to Bottesford round trip as quickly as I could, for a timed drive I did very well, while they sorted out the course signage and explained to the first time volunteers what to do. One of our runners, John, volunteered to do the beginners briefing and I arrived back just as he was starting, so let him finish it, but I was able to give the main briefing, phew. When asking for parkrun tourists the first lady to put up her hand said.. Australia, which think damped the spirit of other 'local' (well within the UK) tourists slightly.
William Parkin was the first runner home for the second week in a row in a time of 19:15 and Gail Savage was the first female home in a time of 21:12. Back to the dark side and things were going well with the timekeepers and finisher tokens. There are two timekeepers and they check every so often that they both have the same number of laps (runners finishing) and then check with the finish token volunteer on the number of finish tokens handed out, hopefully they all match. All was going well until somewhere between 100 and 120 where the finish token were at one position more than the stop watch laps. A problem to be investigated and resolved later on.
For those that don't know the Run Director once everyone is in, takes the stopwatches and barcode scanners and with the laptop disappears into the cafe to work their magic with a bacon and egg cob and a coffee... The information (position and runners name) from the barcode scanner is uploaded along with the stopwatch laps (finish times). The system then matches the stopwatch lap (finish) with the barcode position and runners name, so you get position; time; name. The system groups the results into groups of 20 and highlights any issues, like your personal bar-code did not scan so your details were recorded on a sheet, the RD can them go through the results and update these records. On Saturday the issue of the stopwatches/finish tokens miss-match was identified when sorting the token back into order, token 112 & 113 were stuck together. So we had a position 113th with no runner details and in fact it was the time of the runner who came 114th. Luckily I had another future parkrun RD shadowing me, so while I was having a mild panic trying to find my telephone support number, he was scrolling through the parkrun result processing wikki and after a while the answer was found. There was a way of moving all runners details up by one place, so 114 became 113, 115 became 114 and so on, deleted the last record which now had no runner, we had a complete set of result. Hit the finish button and your results where processed and emailed out to you.
So by about 11:15 I had finished my first parkrun as RD, had a few hiccups along the way but was very pleased I had come out the other side having sorted out a few issues to get your results to your, maybe a little later than normal but mission accomplished, I left a happy person.
I would like to thanks all the volunteers (and John who was running) who acted so professionally, that until you read this you possibly had no idea the turmoil going on behind the scenes, but we pulled it off. Looking forward to my next time as RD already, like the challenge and satisfaction of successfully finishing a parkrun.
My message volunteer, it's rewarding on so many levels. Good luck next week.
And now for the stats...
Event number 79
29th November 2014
William PARKIN (SM18-19) of Grantham Running Club, was first over the line in 19:15 - second time in 2 appearances.
Simon DANIEL (VM35-39) (Unattached) was second over the line in 19:33 - was first to finish once before.
Mark PATTERSON (SM25-29) (Unattached) was third over the line in 19:44.
Current standing in the Men's annual points competition:
Daniel WILLIAMS (Unattached) 2230 pts.
Mark WINTER (Unattached) 2205 pts.
Nigel WATKIN (Southwell RC) 1730 pts.
Gail SAVAGE (SW30-34) (Unattached) was first (10th overall) over the line in 21:12 - first time in 6 appearances.
Isobel BRENTFORD (JW15-17) (Unattached) was second (17th overall) over the line in 22:40.
Rona MCINTOSH (SW30-34) (Unattached) was third (29th overall) over the line in 24:16.
Current standing in the Women's annual points competition:
Gill FLYE (Unattached) 2173 pts.
Jackie DUERS (Southwell RC) 2112 pts.
Kate FISHER (Notfast RC) 1985 pts.
The following runners recorded the best Age Grade scores:
Janice ANDERSON (VW60-64) was graded 77.73% for the time 24:37 (32nd overall).
Robert HOWBROOK (VM55-59) was graded 75.79% for the time 20:27 (5th overall).
Felicity Ann GARLAND (VW65-69) was graded 73.51% for the time 28:26 (76th overall).
This week there were 137 runners, of whom 12 were first timers and 20 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 13 different athletics clubs took part.
Newark parkrun started on 1st June 2013, and since then 1,953 different runners, including participants from 141 athletics clubs, have completed 10,969 runs covering a total distance of 54,845 km, and there have been 2,872 new Personal Bests.
The women's record is held by Jennifer MCBAIN who ran in a time of 00:19:16 on 2014-10-11 (event number 72).
The men's record is held by Alastair WATSON who ran in a time of 00:15:51 on 2014-07-12 (event number 59).
The Age Grade course record is held by Alastair WATSON who recorded a 83.70% run (15:51) on 12th July 2014 (event number 59).
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Newark parkrun Results Page.