About parkrun UK
Cath Jones – Finance Manager – parkrunner A33656
She first came across parkrun when jogging around Bramhall Park one morning. After quite a few volunteering stints at 'Duck Poo Corner' she finally plucked up the nerve to join in the running in 2009. She's now part of the core team at Lyme Park parkrun which was set up in 2014.
Cath initially joined the team in October 2015 as a contractor but is now a permanent member of staff, looking after all things finance, including expenses, donations and withdrawals, invoicing funders… anything with a number in it!
Favourite volunteering role:Pre-event setup and tail runner – these two roles usually go hand in hand at Lyme Park and mean that you can jog round half of the course before the runners start, opening the gates and checking the route. It's lovely and quiet and the views are fantastic. And then you can run round again, locking the gates and chatting to the last runners and marshals.
What does she love about parkrun?The new friends and team spirit. Apparently most people make very few friends once they hit 30 – parkrunners certainly buck this trend!
Cathy Martin – Administrator – parkrunner A769125
Until the age of 42 Cathy's running experience consisted of school cross-country and running home from youth club to avoid being grounded. She rediscovered running in a more positive light towards the end of 2013 when her husband (also new to running) dragged her around Colwick Park, she managed 2.5k. She then ran her first parkrun at Colwick in February 2014.
Favourite volunteering role:Barcode scanning – you get to talk to people after they've got their breath back a little, but you can still enjoy the buzz of the finish line. She particularly loves volunteering at junior parkrun events.
What does she love about parkrun?She loves that parkrun can be whatever you want it be, whether it's a walk or jog around chatting with friends or chasing that PB, it's the best way to start a Saturday morning!
Chris Jones – Head of Finance & Fundraising – parkrunner A19147
Chris first heard about parkrun from a friend who ran Leeds ‘Hyde Park Time Trial’ as it was called back then, although he didn’t actually check it out until August 2008! Chris joined the parkrun UK team in January 2014 and is responsible for financial matters for parkrun UK.
Favourite volunteering role:Standing on a windswept corner shouting a mixture of encouragement, style comments, running tips etc.
Personal goalChris has become an avid parkrun tourist and is keeping an eye on clubmates Nicola Forwood and Andrew Nicholls in the race (or is that run?) for 100 different events.
Chrissie Wellington – Head of Participation – parkrunner A406323
Having retired from professional sport, Chrissie came back to live in UK in 2012. At that time she was a parkrun ignoramus. She first encountered parkrun when she came across 300 people lining up in Richmond Park on a Saturday morning. She naughtily gatecrashed that event, but her first official finish was at Richmond Park soon after.
She first started working for parkrun in February 2013 and is responsible for banging the drum for participation within parkrun, and also working with other organisations to promote healthy lifestyles and participation in physical activity.
Favourite volunteering role:Cheerleading, very loudly!
Words of wisdom“If you run 5k very fast it hurts a lot more than doing an ironman, but you get less blisters and chaffing.”
Clare Fowler – Safeguarding Lead – parkrunner A1074389
Clare first found out about parkrun in Spring 2014 through a chance conversation with a man who happened to have the same running buggy. It took a couple of months of nervous loitering with baby and buggy before finally gathering up her nerve and joining in at Old Deer Park in the summer.
Clare joined the parkrun UK team in March 2016 as Safeguarding Lead, working Mondays and Wednesdays; she is responsible for keeping our runners, joggers, walkers, volunteers, ambassadors, staff, children, adults – and reputation – as safe as possible.
Favourite volunteering role:Barcode scanning – it’s so simple that even my toddler can do it (and often does!) plus it’s a great way of learning people’s names.
What does she love about parkrun?It’s the only ‘grown up’ thing she can do that doesn’t involve having to organise childcare.
What doesn’t she love about parkrun?That she can no longer go to the supermarket in her pyjamas because she has so many local friends!
Glen Turner – Communications Manager UK & Ireland – parkrunner A65462
Glen was an occasional parkrunner at Bromley and Wimbledon Common in 2010 and 2011. But a move north of the Thames and a long-term injury in 2012 led to him becoming the Event Director of Gladstone parkrun and then a parkrun ambassador the following year.
Glen joined the parkrun UK team in June 2015 and is responsible for editing the weekly newsletters, raising the profile of parkrun and generating positive media coverage in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Favourite volunteering roles:The first-timers briefing and barcode scanning – the fastest and easiest ways to meet people and learn their names.
What does he love about parkrun?He can be running or volunteering at a parkrun in the UK while his family are running or volunteering at a parkrun in his native Australia (more often than not at Shellharbour). And on the odd occasions they get to run the same parkrun together, like on his brother's wedding day or the 10th anniversary at Bushy Park, it is extra special. Contact Glen on firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Hood - Head of Event Delivery – parkrunner A165246
Helen first heard parkrun mentioned on the Marathon Talk podcast. She went along to the third Colwick parkrun with her family for the first time in July 2011 and never left! She joined the parkrun UK team in January 2014 and is responsible for the operational activities of parkrun UK events including policies, procedures and communications.
Favourite volunteering role:Happy to do anything in the hi-vis but rather partial to the Run Director role and leading the warm up at any junior parkrun event that will let her.
Why does she love parkrun?She loves the fact that we are building communities that extend beyond a Saturday morning.
Ian Rutson – Technical Lead – parkrunner A249753
In his youth, Ian was as passionate about avoiding exercise as he now is about parkrun. Having piled on a few extra pounds in his late thirties, he started the Couch to 5k programme in January 2012 and ran his first parkrun at Pontefract a few weeks later. In hindsight, running every one of those 5000-odd steps really was a life-changing experience. Soon afterwards he started to volunteer regularly and took over as Event Director the following year.
He started working for parkrun in August 2015 covering event activation in the UK and providing technical resource to the rest of the team.
Favourite volunteering role:New runners brief – what better way to start a weekend than explain parkrun to a bunch of eager new faces?
What does he love about parkrun?That it’s accessible to all yet can challenge everyone.
Jake Lodge – IT Support Analyst – parkrunner A209983
As with many other parkrunners, parkrun sparked the beginning of Jake’s passion for running. Perhaps it was his Northernness, or maybe student instinct, but the sound of something free lead him to join a couple of friends at Cannon Hill parkrun in Birmingham back in 2011.
Similar to the runaway success of parkrun, there was no stopping his appetite for running once he’d begun. He has been ‘streaking’ for over two years (since the start of 2016) and has recently completed his 100th parkrun. Jake enjoys the challenge of remembering his barcode and parkrunning in equal measure!
Most intrepid parkrun adventure:Determined to make it to the Bere Island parkrun after missing the ferry, Jake kayaked a mile, then sprinted another two just to reach the start (in the nick of time) before taking part.
What does he love about parkrun?The variety, diversity but also familiarity of every different event. Communities meeting each Saturday morning for a common purpose; to enjoy parkrun! Whether running, jogging, walking or volunteering.
Jaz Bangerh - Head of HR & Volunteer Management – parkrunner A7786
Jaz was encouraged by Tom Williams go to a pilot 5k time trial in Leeds and then further coerced to be on the start line of the inaugural a week later. To be truthful she hated running in those early years and had all the grace of a baby elephant in a stampede.
It took her about 18 months to run the entire course without stopping and years later she went on to run the London marathon. On the 10th Anniversary of parkrun, Jaz celebrated by becoming the first woman of Indian heritage to achieve 250 parkruns.
Jaz joined the parkrun UK team in March 2014 and is responsible for all matters related to the management, development and welfare of staff and Ambassadors.
Favourite volunteering role:She loves being Funnel Manager and describes it as ‘a bit like being the traffic controller in an airport!’
What does she loves about parkrun?Jaz loves the courage and persistence of people whether it’s to just get to the start line, to finish the course, or to simply put one foot in front of the other. She says it really is a beautiful, heart-warming, soul-lifting experience.
Jo Sinton-Hewitt – Event Support Manager – parkrunner A987
Joanne is the wife of the founder of parkrun so has lived with it from its birth! She mainly volunteered in the early days at Bushy and was on the very first volunteer team. Jo supports existing events in the UK including risk assessment updates and recording incidents.
Favourite volunteering role:Her favourite volunteering role is timekeeper – she likes shouting encouragement to people as they near the finish line.
What does she love about parkrun?She loves running with her dog, meeting new teams and visiting new courses.
Mike Graney – Head of Analysis – parkrunner A41158
Mike heard about parkrun in 2010 when he was coming back from a long-term injury, and went along to Heaton Park in Manchester to see what it was all about. It was love at first sight and he raved about it from the very first run, becoming addicted to the stats and soon dragging his family along with him.
Mike joined the UK team as Head of Analysis in May 2015 and his job is to generate insight from parkrun data and other sources to help parkrun keep growing bigger and getting more people active.
Favourite volunteering role:Timekeeper. Mike "loves getting to congratulate the runners as they cross the line”, and “always enjoys watching a good competitive sprint finish!"
Why does he love parkrun?Mike loves that it's a blank canvas and people can enjoy it in so many different ways, from being a chance to catch up with mates, people's only exercise of the week, or a chance to go all out for that illusive PB!
Rowan Ardill – Engagement Officer – parkrunner A72589
Rowan ran his first parkrun at Heaton Park in Manchester in 2010 after seeing an article in a running magazine. He loved the idea of parkrun so much that he set about launching an event in his own community almost instantly.
He has been Event Director at Bolton parkrun since the outset and the event celebrates its fifth anniversary in February 2016. Rowan has been an Ambassador for parkrun since 2013, supporting the set up of numerous new events around the North West of England.
Rowan started working for parkrun in November 2015 and is responsible for increasing participation in junior parkrun events, particularly in disadvantaged communities.
Favourite volunteering role:
I love doing absolutely any volunteer role but my favourite is barcode scanning – I love chatting to people immediately after their run, getting to know new people and hearing all their parkrun stories!
Tom Williams – Chief Operating Officer – parkrunner A6013
In early 2007 Tom saw parkrun feature in a Runner’s World magazine and decided, along with a whole load of great people from the University of Leeds, that he’d like to bring it to Leeds. On August the 4th that year he took part in Bushy parkrun (or Bushy Park Time Trial as it was then) and two months later Leeds parkrun (or Hyde Park Time Trial) was born. The rest, as they say, is history.
Tom has been a volunteer since 2007 and a member of staff since 2011 and is responsible for guiding the overall strategy for parkrun UK whilst developing relationships with commercial partners and key stakeholders.
Favourite volunteering role:Timing... because he loves the thrill of the finish line! Every single emotion captured across one final glorious metre.
Fun factTom hated running at school and didn’t take part in any form of timed run until he was 25!