The recent success at Sewerby in attracting many new runners culminated in a magnificent field of 347 on Easter weekend. However, this has only highlighted how important particular volunteers roles are. For example two scanners does speed up the queues but volunteers willing to learn and operate them are needed. While it appears there are many volunteers each week the roles which are absolutely necessary for Sewerby parkrun to take place are only taken on by a few and this would cause problems if only 2 or 3 were absent on one Saturday.
The problems are two fold. Key roles during the event, and roles taken mainly after the event:-
With the new distance and extra directional signs there should be no need to stand next to a sign and direct runners, but during the run there are crucial marshal jobs which need to be allocated and these will have to be done on a needs basis as follows.
(Tail Runner, Place token marshal, Scanner marshal 1) The absolute minimum which would result in place results but no times.
(Timekeeper marshal 1, Backup timekeeper marshal, Funnel manager marshal, Scanner marshal 2, Funnel marshal 1) The essential jobs to get efficient results out.
(Funnel marshal 2, Red flag marshal, Woodland entry marshal, Woodland exit marshal, Ship Inn to Land Train station marshal, Woodland walk marshal, Double cross marshal or timekeepers aid, Funnel marshal 3) The extra jobs beneficial to the success of the run in terms of safety and for help in collecting and returning the signage etc.
Therefore we have 16 marshal jobs which need to be allocated and with the above list everybody knows the roles.
The second problem is after the event when most runners have been retiring to the cafe to leave a very few to prepare and put away the equipment for the following week. The above, only, applies to roles during the actual run, there is still room for more people to learn how to input the results onto the website and to learn where the signage etc goes which has been gained over 5 years experience.
Sewerby parkrun is great and the athletic health and social benefits are there to be seen in the increased size of the fields, but it is free and belongs to everybody collectively. It only works with everybody helping to some extent. As parkrun UK says 3 volunteer jobs per year should be done by all runners and over a year it could be when injured or just not feeling right.