I’d like to say it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas when I arrived at Southwater Country Park this morning but the only thing remotely resembling a winter wonderland were the 7 swans-a-swimming over the path of the route.
Today was my first time out, flying solo, as Run Director. Except, as with all volunteer roles at parkrun, you’re never really on your own. I had a team of Volunteers, a team put together by the Volunteer Coordinator who would also let them know their roles on the day, and I had the support and guidance of the other Run Directors and Core Team. Today I also had Phil setting up the course with me and putting in place the slight detour to avoid the flooded path, ensuring runners wouldn’t plunge into the lake! As we walked, I made a note on my phone to mention the detour in my briefing.
I’d written the briefing the night before, slightly dismayed when I logged on to look for upcoming milestones to see they had all vanished from the new look results page! (When did that happen? It’s been so long since I’ve run!) Some clicking of buttons and I found them. My briefing notes had all the bullet points I had to mention: First Timers; Tourists; Conditions; Rules etc. And a note in BOLD: DO NOT SAY “GO” BEFORE CHECKING THE TIMEKEEPERS ARE READY. I’d had nightmares about that one.
The briefing went well – “Congratulations” to Janet Callaghan for completing your 50th parkrun, and to Christopher Wood and Matthew Cumber on completing 100. “Hello” to the 3 First Timers and the tourists from Guildford, Petworth, Dorking, Rushmore, Epsom and Marlow. I mentioned the Rules and thanked the wonderful Volunteers. Check. Check. Check. Check. Phew.
I realised, once the runners were all on the way round the course, that I’d forgotten to wish everyone Merry Christmas – it wasn’t in my notes! I did remember about the Timekeepers though!
We had 318 runners and walkers this morning. Thank you all for turning up, so many of you in your festive garb. Thank you to the lovely Volunteers who made my role so much easier. Thank you to everyone for an uneventful, incident free run (the closest we came was a mulled wine accident on, until that point, a remarkably white snowman suit). A fabulous morning, full of good cheer. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Saturdays are definitely the best day of the week.
All I want for Christmas is you, to volunteer.
Merry Christmas Everyone.
Jo and Team .