It’s official. We’ll be back parkrunning at Rushcliffe Country Park on Saturday 24 July. So now’s a good time to share a few changes to how things will run and our core team, plus a handy tool for volunteers.
We want everyone to enjoy and feel confident about their next parkrun with us – whether it’s your first or you five hundredth.
Not long now until we can all soak up that parkrun spirit once more and enjoy a free, timed, 5k run, jog or walk around beautiful Rushcliffe Country Park.
As many of our regulars (when we were regular) will tell you, parkrun events are as much about the sense of community we feel when we get together as they are about doing some physical exercise. Which is why so many come back week after week both to take part and to volunteer.
It's not a race; everyone is welcome whatever their ability, and you can complete the course at whatever pace you're comfortable with. Our team of volunteers and other parkrunners will cheer you on all the same. Just be sure to pay the positivity forward.
We've missed it. Lots of us can't wait to have it back. So what can first-timers and seasoned Rushcliffe veterans expect from our post-pandemic parkrun?
Following the Covid framework
The parkrun spirit remains unchanged for our return. Although it’s a timed event, it’s not a race and we don't have exclusive use of the park. So please be considerate and respectful to other park users, parkrunners and our volunteers.
For the foreseeable we're going to be following the parkrun Covid framework, and ask all participants and volunteers to please do the same.
If you're taking part, here's what you'll need to do:
And here's what we're asking of our volunteers:
More on the volunteering side later...
(Note: full alt. text is included for the images above in case you have any difficulty viewing the text they contain).
Course and meeting point changes
The good news on the course front is that very little has changed in our months away. Now that Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, we're able to run together with increased confidence. All the same, a couple of tweaks have been made to help provide some extra space at key points.
Our usual meeting point by the parkrun start sign, alongside the children's' playground, has been moved back past the refreshment vans and into the grassy field beyond, known as Kite Field on the RCP maps. The Run Director will give the pre-run briefing here each Saturday (using the handily placed bench), before everyone moves up to the regular start line for a quick 3, 2, 1 and away.
The briefing will be a fairly quick affair for now - logistics and safety information mainly, (no milestones or other announcements initially, we're afraid - please email those in advance to email@example.com or message us on Facebook and Twitter) and we will get them featured on our social media pages, and in the run reports.
Thanks to the efforts of the Rushcliffe Country Park manager and his team (who we're grateful to for all efforts to bring our event back as soon as possible), a 'pinch point' early in the course has been eased with the widening of a path near the Education Centre. Besides that, the course remains unchanged.
The clothing trolley
At previous events parkrunners have been able to leave items of clothing in a trolley at the start that's then been wheeled to the finish where the items can be collected. As an extra precaution, this trolley won't be available when we return, so please bear this in mind when gearing up for the event, and make alternative arrangements if you do need an extra layer you'll likely need to shed mid-run.
Our previous post-event meeting point for teas, coffees (and quite often a celebratory cake or two) – the Education Centre – is being refurbished so won’t be available for our return. So those who’d like to mingle for a drink afterwards are invited to join us at the refreshment stand next to the railway track, behind the children’s playground.
The Virtual Volunteer app
Another important change to how parkruns everywhere will run from now on is that all timekeeping and barcode scanning will take place on the free parkrun Virtual Volunteer mobile app, rather than with stopwatches and physical scanners as before.
This app is very easy to use if you're performing either volunteer role, and it makes things a lot simpler when we process the results after the event too.
There’s a video covering how the app’s different functions work here. There's more detail than you'll need if you're timekeeping or barcode scanning.
Join our volunteer roster
parkrun is only possible thanks to the volunteers who give their time to make it happen, and we’re always looking for people who are happy to help out.
There are lots of different roles, from helping coordinate the other volunteers to setup and packing away of event materials (depending on what we’ll be using during and after any Covid restrictions), but some of the main roles we’re always eager to find volunteers for are:
Marshals – These stand at key points around the course to help direct parkrunners, provide support and report back to the Run Director if needed, and of course offer lots of encouragement in the form of claps and cheers.
Timekeepers – Armed with the Virtual Volunteer app on their phones, they start parkrunners on their way then move to the finish line ready to clock everyone across the line. When the event’s finished, they scan our new Rushcliffe QR code and the times they've recorded are sent automatically to our results system for processing.
Funnel managers – These help to keep people moving down the finish funnel after they’ve crossed the line, then pack up the funnel once the event’s done and dusted.
Finish tokens – In charge of keeping finish tokens in order and handing them to finishers as they pass so our barcode scanners can scan them to capture when they finished.
Barcode scanners – These use the Virtual Volunteer app to scan each parkrunner’s personal barcode followed by their finish token to confirm their position. When the last token’s been handled over, they scan the QR code to send in the results.
Tail walkers – A pair of parkrunners (or more) who walk the route at the back of the field, keeping the last participant in sight, to make sure everyone’s okay along the way and alerting the run director if anything needs their attention. Tail walkers also collect event signage as they pass it on the second lap, handing it to marshals to take back to the finish area as they walk in from their positions. As a tail walker, your trip around the park counts towards your event tally.
You can see all of the roles we need to fill for upcoming weeks on our roster page. If you'd like to fill one or several, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook and Twitter.
Changes to the core team
One of the biggest changes since we last ran, jogged or walked together is the departure from the core team of an important and very popular member of the Rushcliffe family.
Lisa, who’s played such a key role in the event since its early beginnings and throughout its growth into Nottinghamshire’s largest parkrun event, has decided to step down from her role as an Event Director.
We’re incredibly sad to see Lisa go, as we’re sure many of our regulars will be too. We're equally sure they’ll join us in saying a heartfelt thank you for all the passion, energy and unfaltering smiles Lisa has put into our event over the past 9 years. We hope to still see that smile enjoying our course on a Saturday morning from time to time.
This change means a few more to the core team. Geoff remains the Event Director, and is now supported by Marc, Darren, Jo and Kirsty, from L-R with Geoff in the picture below.
They’ll be helping to run the events each week supported by our many regular and occasional volunteers. If you have any questions just look out for these faces.
See you there
It's been so long since we got together and we know many of us have found the absence of our Saturday staple difficult. So we're very much looking forward to seeing you all there when – finally – we're able to shout "3, 2, 1 - go!" once more.
The Rushcliffe parkrun team