I spotted this lovely sign on a recent visit to Portrush parkrun in Northern Ireland. Volunteering at parkrun is an amazing way to become a bigger part of your parkrun community, it really is so much more than just a run in the park. You will meet new people, get to know your fellow runners, and gain an understanding of how parkrun works behind the scenes. On a personal note, I have met some great friends through parkrun over the last few years and we now travel to visit other parkruns together (hence how I came to be in Portrush!) and also meet up for races and social events.
parkrun is entirely run by volunteers – no volunteers, no run, so please take time to look at your diary and see if you have free Saturday to help out. All roles are very straight forward and you'll be fully briefed on what you need to do. All we ask is that you arrive for around 9am and are able to stay until the tail walker finishes the run which is usually around 10:30am. Under 18's are welcome to volunteer although if they marshal or tail walk they must be accompanied by an adult, and any unaccompanied on the finish area need to be responsible for doing a role as we aren't a free baby sitting service while parents run!
If you can help we'd love to hear from you, just drop us an email with your date and barcode number and if you have a preferred role firstname.lastname@example.org you know you’ll look good in hi-viz!
The key roles we need to fill each week are:
- Timekeeper - requires a bit of concentration but not as daunting as people think! Timekeeping is now done on the “parkrun virtual volunteer” app so you will need a fully charged smart phone. You just tap it to start the run and tap it every time a runner finishes. As it’s app based you can even have a practice at home first!
- Marshals - the people who are stationed around the course to make sure everyone goes the right way, stay safe, and provide encouragement to the runners.
- Funnel managers - positioned along the finish funnel to make sure runners stay in the funnel, stay in finish order and that the line keeps moving. This helps ensure that everyone gets the correct time and finish position in the results. Experience of herding cats helpful but not essential!
- Finish tokens - the people who hand out the finish tokens at the end of the funnel. The tokens are all strung up in order so you work as a pair with one person taking them off the string in small blocks and the other handing them out to runners. It doesn't even matter if you drop, we can sort that when we process the results!
- Barcode scanners - the folk who scan your barcode and token to make sure you get a result. Barcode scanning is also done through the “parkrun virtual volunteer” app so you’ll need to bring a fully charged mobile phone.
- Number checker - will become the timekeeper's best friend by the end of the run! This is an essential role to provide checks between the timekeeper and finish tokens to ensure the numbers are in sync (if they aren't we can adjust the results accordingly). Sounds complicated but all you need to do is write down numbers!
- Tail walker - their main job is to finish in last position while making sure that everyone is safe around the course. The tail walker gets a run credit as well as a volunteer credit (so long as they scan their barcode).
We also require a car park marshal and welcome help with the pre-run set up if you’re able to arrive a bit earlier. These roles can be done before you take part in the run.
If you’re one of those speedy types who can get round the course in under 21 minutes or so then you’re welcome to run and then barcode scan or funnel manage, just let us know you’ll be doing this when you email in so we can ensure someone will be there for the first finishers!
This week’s heroes in hi-viz were: Ann WILLIAMSON • Kirsty THOMSON • Ian FYFE • Patricia HAMPTON • Stephen MALONEY • Pamela WILLIAMS • Alistair HUNTER • Gary HALL • Julie WATKINSON • Simon WATKINSON • Susan PATON • Angus ROBERTSON • David MUEGO • Robert SMITH • Gareth MACKIE • Craig JACKSON-DYKE • Jackie CALDWELL • Louise SINCLAIR • Hugh THOMSON • Ross MUIRDEN
This week 210 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 113 were first timers at Oriam parkrun, 52 recorded new Personal Bests, and 10 people did their first ever parkrun (we hope you’ll be back!). Representatives of 36 different clubs took part.
Congratulations to James Dunn who broke the male course record in a lightning quick time of 16:57.
And thanks to Pam for covering my RD shift at short notice when I wasn't well!