What a glorious morning in the sunshine to be Tail Walking!
When I offered to write this week’s run report, I hadn’t realised that it also marked the 3-year anniversary of my very first parkrun, also at Market Harborough. My parkrun attendance for the first 2 years had been sporadic. My partner Paul is a keen golfer and preferred to tee off first thing on a Saturday morning, meaning I was looking after our son Mackenzie. But in the last year, thanks to a change in his golfing plans, I’ve been able to run most weeks, resulting in several PBs and a desire to be involved in parkrun as often as I can.
A few months ago, Paul needed to play early and I didn’t want to miss out on parkrun, so I decided to volunteer both myself and Mackenzie to Marshal. I didn’t know if he would be bored and just want to go and play in the park or if it would be a success. Thankfully, he loved it! Lots of high-fives were given and he wanted to volunteer again. S o, I made him the promise that we would volunteer once every month.
A friend suggested that Tail Walking is one of the best volunteer roles, mostly because it counts as a completed run as well as a volunteer credit. But I think it’s great for other reasons too. When I’m running, trying not to run into people on lap 1, watching for those overtaking on lap 2 and gasping for breath, hoping for a PB on lap 3, I don’t manage to look around and appreciate just how beautiful Welland Park is, especially by the water. I don’t manage to always acknowledge the volunteers stationed at various points on the course who have given up their time and recognise that, without them, parkrun cannot happen as safely and as efficiently as it does and I didn’t realise the importance of the Tail Walking role.
The Tail Walker’s job description is easy to explain – this volunteer is the last person to cross the finish line and the last person throughout the event to ensure that no parkrunners are still on the course when the timing systems are shut down. The Tail Walker also lets the Marshals know when their duty is done for the day and they can head for the café.
Today, Mackenzie and I completed Tail Walking volunteer number 3. After checking in with Lisa, our RD this morning and donning our Hi-Vizs, there was just enough time for a trip to the zip wire before heading to the start line. After the briefing, we were off. It took a little time to establish who exactly was taking part in parkrun this morning and on occasion, Mackenzie and I had a little jog to catch up when we’d fallen behind. Thank you to the runner who retrieved the tail which became detached at one point. We’ll know for again to select the shorter of the two tails offered. Thank you to those who gave us encouragement as you lapped us. It makes such a difference and brings a smile and an incentive to volunteer again. Thank you as well to Julie, our co-Tail Walker this morning, who kept us company and allowed us to sprint down the final straight to a new PB for Mackenzie.
Today, 358 of you ran, jogged or walked to an impressive 52 PBs on a rather hot morning. We welcomed 30 first timers and hope to see you all again.
So, if you’re recovering from injury or have races lined up for the Sunday or like me, want to complete parkrun with your child or simply fancy a walk to appreciate the scenery, why not volunteer to Tail Walk!