You might be thinking of signing up to become a Run Director at Telford parkrun this gives you a good insight to what happens
1. With the ego the size of a planet and head sized to match any role titled “director” is impossible to resist. Especially as I get to boss people around which my wife doesn’t let me do at home.
2. “Director” looks fantastic on your CV, at least until you have to describe what the role entails “I, um, make people run round a park” “NEXT”
3. parkrun is a community and having taken from that community, it feels good to give something back. Its very rewarding to see people enjoying themselves when you have contributed to that.
4. You will look awesome in BLUE
Being a run director is a little bit more involved than standing up on the wall looking and feeling like a berk and cracking a few jokes. Here is a rundown of the activities of my first event on the job.
Saturday brings parkrun day. Plenty to do today I get to the course for 8am and unlock the gate. Before unloading everything from the car. First order of business is to find my shiny Blue Run Director Jacket of Authority so I can strut around the place like an enormous Blue peacock. We have 9 marshal positions. Paula turns up early so So I put her into action on creating my finish funnel. As the volunteers turn up I explain their role and give them their hi-viz jackets, before sending them off with their signs.
As 9am approaches, we get the runners assembled in the correct area and I climb on the bench to give the briefing. I’m fairly sure only about 3 people are listening but I go through the required points and then its time. I make sure some of the eager runners get back behind the start line and 3, 2, 1 they are off and running, walking, skipping, crawling or prancing.
The pressure is now off for just over 17 minutes (15 in Kim is around) and I can enjoy the parkrun experience and cheering on the runners as they thunder around our course.
The first runner comes around to start his final lap so I ensure that the finish funnel team are all ready.
As the last few runners come in, I make sure that we are sorted on the numbers and thank the marshals as they come back once relieved by the tail runner. Big thanks to Ellen as she has marshalled a lot of times and never run the course and I had been pestering her to tail run for weeks and she came up trumps.
Once the run was finished the first task is to dismantle the course. Once again by the time we start dismantling the finish funnel everyone else has gone home. BOO! Need to ensure in future the funnel team manages the clear-up process. This job takes ages due to winding the tape up nicely.
I get the laptop, stopwatches and scanners and we head home to process the results, including the added time penalties. We wait for the laptop to finish last nights update. Doh, should have restarted last night. I plug in the first scanner to download the results – An even number of records is a good start. There is an even number of records on the second scanner too and the third and fourth. Next is the stopwatch and I download the results from there.
We then enter the parkrun results system which has a scary red bar at the top announcing CAUTION – THIS IS LIVE Instils a nice sense of well-being from the start. Maybe they should consider a softer pastel colour and lower case text.
Task 1 Is to confirm the volunteer roster to ensure that every helper is acknowledged. We then go ahead to process the results and upload the scanner data followed by the time data. Once this is all uploaded the results screen appears. This is split into a number of tabs relating to position. If a runner is green then all is good, if they are in a pale yellow colour means that some data is missing.
There were 14 runners with missing barcode data. The general rule is no barcode, no time, no exceptions. In this case the missing data was all recorded by the Number volunteer. On this occasion I follow down the number checker sheet and add them to the results.
The next task was to check the times and positions against my copious Funnel managers notes.
All good to go it’s time to submit for processing
I fire up the parkrun email and there is a results query. Fortunately it was for the week before. I get that resolved with the helpful advice of the other RD’s on our completely focused parkrun Facebook messenger group (wink wink) and post the link to the results on our Facebook page.