(Better late than never) Run Report #256 (26/5/18)

A huge thanks to everyone that came forward to volunteer this week!

After a post on our Facebook volunteer group and a post on the main Facebook page, as well as an email appeal, by Friday morning we still did not have enough volunteers.

It was decided that the run must go on! But the volunteers that were due to help around the finish area would have to be redeployed around the course as marshal to ensure a safe run...meaning no time keepers and no finish positions.

However, a last minute plea on Friday morning meant that we had a full contingent of high-vis heroes to allow the event go on as usual!

It's never too early to put yourself forward to volunteer. It means a have a less stressful week trying to get enough helpers together by Friday afternoon when I send the email out to everyone with all the instructions and the code for the free parking.

This week the event was under the eyes and ears of Run Director, Steve Megson. Arriving early we had Roy and Lorna Young, Peter Brantom, Lee Jones (who earned his purple volunteer t-shirt for now having volunteered on 25 separate occasions, thank you Lee), Brian Caine and Sarah-Jane Gill to set up the course. This role means that many of the helpers will then run too and some will volunteer in an additional role.

The first timers were greeted by Gary Parr who explained how our parkrun works...everyone please quietly listen to the main run brief, start in an appropriate and safe place, run on the path following the runner in front/directional arrows/marshals instructions, children under 11 must be accompanied by a responsible adult, one dog per runner and must be kept on a short lead. The important rule…no barcode, no time, no exception.

As well as the safety announcements and thanks during the run brief, Steve also asked if there were any milestone runs this week…

621 runners then set off for their 5k run/walk/jog. Cheered on by some regular marshals…Roy Young, Pauline Kennedy, Niamh McDonald, Brett Baines, Frazer Burlinson, Andrew Hawkins, Sue Pawson and Richard Taylor, and some who were marshalling for the first time…Sarah Baines, Daniel Benning, Alison Rye, Gill Searl and Susan Stevens.

Thankfully, due to enough people coming forward to help, it meant that we were able to give everyone a time this week. Michaela Parr and Mia Purnell were your timekeepers on Saturday and I’m sure the fact that they have volunteered in this role almost 30 times between them (plus other roles) tells you how much they enjoy it – and that it’s not as scary as it sounds.

Handing out the finish tokens this week were regular volunteers Ben McCann and Lee Jones. Ensuring that everyone stays in order down the funnel is extremely important to everyone receiving the correct results which is why we try to have plenty of funnel managers. The funnel managers encourage everyone to keep moving down the funnel when they have crossed the finish line, stay in order, and not duck out of the funnel before receiving a token. This week Laura Whale, Lizzy Threadgold and Sam Jacklin manned the funnel from the start, soon to be joined by Shaun Walton after finishing in an uncredited second place (as he forgot his barcode), Martin Gichuhi in third place and one of our core volunteer team members, Billy Slaven (who has volunteered around 80 times and was completing his 32nd run).

We also had Dominic Moszkal running first then volunteering…quite literally running first. Dominic was first time finish with a new PB on Saturday and then went straight over to join his other half, Sophie Watson barcode scanning. Marc Horner also ran and then immediately grabbed a high-vis and a scanner and helped too. Regular volunteer, James Sells was writing down the unscanables barcodes this week. If a barcode won’t scan then James takes down the details and these have to be manually entered into the results. As you can imagine, this can take quite some time, especially if there are a lot to do one morning. This can usually be avoided by ordering the parkrun cards/wristbands/trainer tags.

Some of you may have been pounced on by one of the number checkers as you walked down the funnel. Nona Bowkis, Gina Crane, Sam Webster and myself were running up and down the funnel trying to see if we were staying in sync between the timers and the tokens. We pick runners at random, note down the watch position and time as you cross the line, then see what token position you get. We of course have to find out your name but hopefully we leave you enough time to get your breath back as you walk down the funnel before we do this! It’s a really fun and active volunteer role and a personal favourite of mine!

Ensuring that the last parkrunner is supported throughout, was Kayleigh Draper who was the tail walker. Kayleigh also collected some of the signs as she made her way back which helped Peter Brantom out who was responsible for the post-event close down.

Better late than never…congratulations to Elaine Nash on completing her 50th parkrun and to Jacqui Smith for completing her 100th parkrun!

Laura Whitton, Peterborough parkrun volunteer co-ordinator