Between thunderstorms, alarms and pets, one junior parkrunday for me recently was fuelled by coffee. A lot of coffee. Getting up at 6.30am to walk the dog and then shuffle my way to my junior event seemed quite a challenge and I did ponder when I became a bit nuts to sign up to be an Event Director with mornings like this. But there's one reason I did. Not the commitment I made to parkrun (sorry PSH), nor for the love of parkrun, but because it's not just my event, it's our communities' event. The communities surrounding our park who thank us every week...
That week two 4 year old girls stopped me in my tracks as they wanted to say "thank you". It was their first time and they had "really enjoyed it".
It occurred to me at that point that during every junior parkrun event we have held (ok we're only on our 6th!) at least one junior, or a parent had thanked me, and at times all of our volunteers.
Then there's the family who thanked me as their young sons aren't confident enough to do the local 5k parkrun, so the boys love having their own event.
There was the one who rushed up to me to ask if he could come next week as, “It's all downhill, and awesome, and thank you, and bye". I'm pretty sure he didn't take a breath through his entire excited statement! (He'd also forgotten about the 1k of uphill too!)
Then the week after a shy lad, behind the legs of his mum said “Thank you very much" and ran off to play in the park with his brother.
I found myself thanking the brilliant juniors who started popping their parents names down on the volunteer board, as they said "I'm coming so mum can help".
Then our first finishers thank our second and third finishers as good sportsmen and women do, and thank the volunteers, even when they are running past so fast! These thanks seem to be spreading! I then pass the thanks on to my squad of high-vis-wearing brilliant volunteers. I am also surprised when new, and experienced volunteers thank me as they enjoy themselves! These are our usual suspects...
Just like parkrun, a simple thank you is free, but as I've found they can make a big difference to the volunteers on the day. Especially those fuelled on coffee. A lot of coffee.
So thank you junior parkrun for giving me a brilliant community to spend my Sunday mornings with, come rain or shine.
Avenham Park junior parkrun, Preston