It was another very warm morning on Saturday, and with the Festival of Speed taking place, it's always hard to judge how many people will turn up (the traffic can be a nightmare!), but the first few parkrunners arrived very early, having run down from the Goodwood camp site.
When I first attended Chichester parkrun in September 2014 (as a volunteer marshal, I still hadn't run 5k at that time), I was greeted cheerfully by Sam Houston who was Run Directing and very much enjoyed my first marshal spot down at the archery club U-turn (for those who remember our original route!).
I obviously enjoyed the experience, as I returned to regularly volunteer and then in 2015 had my first stint as Run Director under the excellent tutorage of Mike Houston. Four years later, and after 113 volunteer stints at 97 different events, I've decided that it's time for me to hang up my RD high viz vest, and to hand over the role of Event Director to some new blood. I'm sure you will all join me in congratulating Peter Anderson and Lynette Woodward who will be taking on this role together.
Being a run director is a little bit more involved than standing up on the picnic tables looking and feeling like a burk and cracking a few jokes. Here is a rundown of the activities of the role.
Sunday – The official handover of RD responsibilities from last week’s run director. We monitor the mail box for messages about missing times, and volunteers signing up for future weeks.
Monday –As we usually have gaps, we put out a request on Facebook for more volunteers often using the seemingly obligatory tactic of using sad looking animals.
Wednesday – New appeal on Facebook, and a volunteer appeal email to those who have registered to receive the volunteer emails (if you haven't done so, please do log onto your account and opt in to the emails).
Thursday – Write some notes for run briefing and send a reminder email to those who have signed up to volunteer.
Friday – Final check, ensure everything is ready, Finish tokens in right order, stopwatches and scanners cleared down and charged. Check laptop for windows updates. Often a last minute appeal for volunteers
Saturday – parkrun day. Arrive early at the park (usually before 08:00 for me so that Alice can have a run about whilst we get ready). Get all our kit from the store and wheel it round to the start area. Set up the finish funnel whilst the set up crew pick up the trolley and head round the course setting up the cones and the arrows. Greet the volunteers as they arrive, hand out the high viz, give some guidance and training as required, check with the set up crew for any issues out on course, get the first timer brief started, get up on the picnic table to do the run brief (after shutting Alice in the car to try and drown out her somewhat exuberant barking), then gather everyone at the start line ready for the 09:00 start.
Once the runners start running home, we try and keep everyone in order through the finish funnel, write down the numbers of any unscannable barcodes (NOT the numbers for anyone who has forgotten their barcode!) and then collect back all the equipment, lock up the store, head home to fire up the laptop, download the stopwatches and barcode scanners, process the results (hoping there are not any issues), add any manual times, update names from the volunteer board, liaise with the run report writer to get the report, update this, check the email boxes for any queries, and then try and relax!
It's a lot of work that people don't see, and can be made much more difficult if people don't help us out by following the simple requests of only crossing the finish funnel once, staying in order through the finish funnel, taking a finish token (even if you have forgotten your barcode or do not want a time), going through the scanners with your barcode ready and handing over the finish token and then moving away from the scanning area to leave space for those runners behind you. I think all of the RDs have had Saturdays where we have been working through to the evening on a Saturday because people have crossed the line twice or who have ducked out of the finish funnel without taking a position token.
I've enjoyed almost every minute of it(!) and I know that we have such a great core team at Chichester that you won't notice any difference (other than the ba. I'll still be running regularly with you guys, so it's goodbye, but not goodbye!
My aesthetically pleasing time of the week goes to Ben RITCHIE for achieving a very impressive 20:14 (being the year I first attended Chichester parkrun).
As always, we are very grateful to the volunteers who made this event happen: Peppy ANCKORN, Trevor BAKER, Jo BRINING, Marieann DICKER, Martin EMMETT, Vanessa FRANKLIN, Tony HACK, Jeremy HARRISON, Matt IRWIN, Lee MOODIE, Jane MOODIE, Jo PROSSER, Ian ROBERTSON, Justine-Elizabeth STAMP, George STANBRIDGE, James STANBRIDGE, Liz STANLEIGH-TURNER, Geoff SUMNER