On Saturday, Crewe Parkrun was proud to host our biggest event yet with 465 people taking part; running, jogging and walking the event powered by pacers, pushchairs and puppies, with around 15% of these being first-timers! This not only takes some organisation behind the scenes (especially when we experience a hiccup with the results :') ) but it takes a lot out of our dedicated cohort of volunteers each and every week too.
Here's a little insight as to how volunteering has changed the mindset of one of our stalwarts, Gail Prince:
I have this wonderful family who support me ‘no-matter-what’, despite that, I had come to the realisation that I’m not the person that I was or that I could be. Over many years I had gradually put on weight and in May last year I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. So the time had come for me to shake myself off and do something about it.
My daughter, Sadie, spoke so often about the parkrun and the wonderful people she had met there. She tried talking me into going for months but I always said no because I just loved my Saturday morning lie-ins, no alarm = bliss.
However, one week I decided to set an alarm and go over to the park as a volunteer and to see what the fuss was about. Feeling very nervous, I headed over with Sadie by my side. When we arrived I could feel an energetic buzz in the air, a feeling of excitement and community spirit. I was made to feel really welcome and I loved it from the word go.
For the moment I have mostly done barcode scanning which I love to do. I get to see everyone cross that finish line and I completely respect every single one of them. I have seen people start their journey and continue to see them on that journey and all of the time I applaud them.
I remember having many conversations with Sadie about running and I have to admit that it was ‘never my thing’ and I didn’t understand how she felt. However, every week I wish that it was me crossing that finish line.
I have started my own journey now, I’m 30lbs lighter and so very determined to actually complete the parkrun myself. With each lb I lose, my confidence grows and with a little bit of practice and my family by my side, I know I can do it.
I cannot measure on any scale how different I feel. Those Saturday morning lie-ins are a distant memory and I’ve got no plans to go back there. I have met some wonderful people, can see some amazing journeys and feel like I’m part of a beautiful community. The parkrun community, along with my family has inspired me to carve out a new me.