‘Drumpellier Country parkrun Event 26 Run Report’ or ‘ View through a phone screen’
There are lots of reasons for choosing to volunteer. Initially it might be (once you realise that other runners take a turn) that you want to take your turn too and ‘give back’ to this wonderful thing you’ve discovered called parkrun. I used to only get to parkrun occasionally and so even trying to keep an arbitrary ‘1 volunteer stint every 10 runs’ ratio meant that I only did it about once a year.
Then you might discover that actually it’s quite fun to play your part in seeing how the system works (and keeping the system working right!) - if also a bit of a challenge. Some might get drawn in to being a regular part of the team; others to the idea of starting a new event and feel they need to get well practised beforehand, and maybe end up volunteering pretty much as often as running.
And, once you’re obsessed and parkrunning every week (whether as volunteer or completing the course) then you can get into games, challenges and targets. With my ‘100 milestone’ coming up, and the date set, I knew I had a ‘spare week’ to play with and in fact had to make sure I didn’t get to 100 runs a week early; after all, the invites have gone out, plans made to tour on other Saturdays, and so on.
So finally I had to choose - which Saturday would I be a non-running volunteer - 18th or 25th? A couple of other unofficial challenges settled that for me - another event which I haven’t been to yet, has an ‘event number 7’ on the 25th that I need to ‘collect’, plus I have run on the 18th January before… so volunteering it was!
In a fit of enthusiasm and to plug some gaps in the roster, I said I’d help out with setup, as well as be a Marshal and Photographer, and eventually Run Report Writer as well!
At this point, congratulations and thanks to my fellow volunteers on the team: Yvonne GENTLES • Lynn REID • Karen CONNAL • Fay MCARTHUR • Linda WALLACE • Carrie COOPER • Jason MCMINN • Jennifer WATT • Cara SULLIVAN • Ruth MCCONACHIE • Johanna MACIVER • Ethan HODGE • Laura PATERSON • Sheena MORROW • Abigail BISSETT • David WALLACE • Gavin MCINNES • Brenda MCRAE • Emma Kate GALLAGHER • David NAISMITH
- a great mix of regulars and newer faces, some supporting while returning from injury, some volunteering and running, some who volunteer but aren’t runners - or not yet! If you’ve never volunteered before, I highly recommend it - just drop an email with your barcode number to firstname.lastname@example.org and you can even suggest roles you’d be happy to do, subject to availability - everything’s straightforward to pick up and learn! Also do subscribe to the volunteer email list if you can.
Things I (re-)learned this week:
- It’s hard to get up early for setup when you go to bed late… (I’m a VM40-44; you would think I would have learned this life-lesson by now…)
- Waking up and discovering that the time on your watch is the time that you were actually supposed to be there is a bit panic-inducing! (Though better than waking up and realising you’ve missed it entirely; something I have done before…) Fortunately there was still some setting-up left for me to help with by the time I got there. Plus I brought some salt!
RD Cara did a great job, deciding on proceeding though with the advice to run on the grass and avoid the icy tarmac; and then updating social media. The coldness of the day might have suggested we would have fewer runners than usual but maybe New Year Resolutions were still in effect, plus some of our neighbouring events called off, meaning that we actually pushed our record attendance on, by 6 from our Christmas Day run, to 326!
I only discovered we had achieved this record afterwards, having made my way to the far turnaround or ‘hairpin’ before the start. A good spot for photos where you can see folk coming down the straight from quite a way off.
However more learnings:
- It’s hard (virtually impossible) to give high-fives to runners when you are concentrating on keeping your phone steady and to catch a good shot of everyone passing you.
- Also watching runners through a lens and screen means you often don’t realise who it is that is passing you. I saw at least one person on their second lap who I hadn’t recognised the first time, and a few more in the results I hadn’t spotted at all.
- Taking lots of photographs, in the hope that in quantity would appear some quality, gives you more work later. Either editing and deleting (which I largely opted against) or taking ages to upload batches of 80 to Facebook. Or potentially both.
- While a cold day, it was relatively sheltered in the woods, but I still ended up with cold fingers by the time I got back to help with the take-down.
A few stats to highlight from the results:
There were 36 people doing their first ever parkrun (or at least the first time to scan… remember all you need to bring is a printed barcode: no printed barcode, no time, no result!). It’s great to see 21 folk did their “difficult second parkrun”, with several either getting PBs or perhaps catching the ‘tourist bug’ early, coming to us after starting somewhere else. And 19 were on their third parkrun.
Wendy WARREN ran her 50th parkrun, the only new ‘Milestone Club’ member, however there was also a runner with a customised ‘150’ shirt, who turned specifically for a photo before she passed me. And Craig Preston WALKER of ‘Scottish parkruns’ YouTube channel joined us for his 275th run, one of eight members of the ‘250 Club’ who were present ranging from 260 to 365 parkruns
Overall there were 53 ‘Personal Bests’ achieved on this course.
And after 26 events, I quite like the numbers that a total of 2,333 participants have run 5,554 parkruns here!
However I know there will be many individual achievements that don’t happen to mean a milestone or PB - it might be that you achieved a ‘comeback PB’ after months or years, or that you’ve knocked off a particular target - or just the fact that you got yourself out the door and along to your local event. Well done to everyone for their achievements! And if you didn’t quite manage what you’d hoped - there’s always next week.
It was great to see a number of ‘bark-runners’ with their owners, some perhaps providing more ‘assistance’ than others! And also some buggy runners - kudos to them also - in my experience it’s not easy.!
I enjoyed my volunteering day again (and still had my customary roll and sausage thanks to a friend, despite me not having run!) — I haven’t actually marshalled that often, and never been the official photographer before (perhaps I won’t get to be it again - too many photos!). Now, onwards to my ‘Flake run’ and then the big 100th!