As one thing comes to an end, a new one is beginning – Event Director changes at Didcot parkrun
Little did I know when delivering the First Timers brief at the very first Didcot parkrun on 21st February 2015 that I’d be spending the next four years as a parkrun volunteer, Run Director and Event Director.
In those early days I used to wake up worrying that no one would turn up we had an average of 80 runners in the first year and seen the event grow with numerous attendance records recently seeing numbers rise to consistently over 300 runners, joggers and walkers.
parkrun has changed my life forever and given me much to be grateful for, I have met some fantastic people during my parkrun journey and many of whom I now call friends. The four years of early mornings on Ladygrove Park has been nothing short of magical, especially when the sun is out of it’s been a frosty morning. The peace and quiet when setting up the course and only sharing it with an occasional dog walker or rabbit is so tranquil. Just once this summer I urge you to come out early and soak up the park’s energy, it’ll fill you with joy for the whole day...I promise.
There have too many highs to share here and I can bore you with them in person but I am so proud of how Didcot parkrun has blossomed into a fantastic community event and more than just a run in the park. The run is clearly important as without it we couldn’t facilitate our community activities.
The collection we held in aid of the Didcot Foodbank prior to Christmas was excellent and well received, the various takeover days has been special with regular takeover from running clubs and the extra special Didcot Slimming World takeover which saw members of Didcot parkrun signing up to eat better and lose a few pounds but the flip side is we saw a growth in runners and volunteers with Malcolm, Angela and Carol regularly out on the course marshaling.
parkrun cannot function without a core of regular volunteers and currently I am the last remaining member of the original team having seen a healthy transition of Run Directors and Core team members but today will be my last day as Event Director of Didcot parkrun.
I have worked with some seriously dedicated and special people throughout the initial setting up stages right through to the current day who have supported not only myself but the wonderful event that it now is and I knew that one day I would step aside to let someone else experience the wonderful things I have as the ED.
This hasn’t been an easy decision as I love Didcot parkrun and being part of the team but all good things have to come to an end. I am leaving the wonderful team in very capable hands and the event will move in a new direction with a Co-Event Director team in Helen Brind and Sue Henderson.
The major factor in my decision is so I can focus on being a more effective Event Support Ambassador for parkrun, there are many new events in the pipeline for our area along with some fantastic established events that need weekly support so not being involved in the weekly running of Didcot parkrun means I have more time to spend in my volunteer role for parkrun.
As one thing comes to an end, a new one is beginning and I’m super excited to let you know that junior parkrun will be coming to Didcot later this year and I’ll be leading the newly formed team as a Co-Event Director. There will be more info in the near future as the team gathers experience with training and test events as we move through the activation process and we hope the event will be as successful as current Didcot parkrun 5km event.
My leaving wish is for Didcot parkrunners to support two collections that we are organising, both of which are close to my heart:
Didcot Foodbank – Collection of goods in support of our local community to be donated to the Didcot Foodbank
HMP Spring Hill (near Bicester) – Collection of new and used running trainers and t-shirts. parkrun has launched a series of parkruns in prisons throughout the UK and I have been fortunate enough to experience Springhill parkrun as it is not open to the general public. The inmates are in resettlement stages and close to release into the general public with many unable to run or use the gym due to inadequate personal equipment and I would love it if we could make a small donation to support some of the inmates.
More information on both collections will be published this week and I would love you to consider supporting one or both of the collections as they will make a huge difference to the receiving communities.
Thank you for the wonderful memories and support you have given me, my life has certainly been enhanced through my experience as Event Director at Didcot parkrun, I can only ask that you give both Helen and Sue the same support and if you haven’t volunteered yet then please do consider joining in one weekend as it really does make a difference.
My last role in the Core Team will be as Run Director on 4th May for the Star Wars themed event so please join me as I say thank you to our wonderful parkrun community and RD for the last time.
All the best and see you at Didcot parkrun in the coming weeks,