On October 5, almost all of our core volunteer team will be away on a visit to Poland. Not everyone can go, sadly. Someone has to mind the shop.
So, with so many people away, we felt this was the perfect opportunity to breathe some fresh life into our event and have our inaugural `first time volunteers takeover'.
The idea is pretty self-explanatory - that the entire roster (above) will be filled by people who have not volunteered before. We already have a first time run director lined up and need between 8 and 10 more to make the event run smoothly.
In the four years we have hosted parkrun at Stormont Estate, we have welcomed almost 7,000 different runners. By contrast, only around 350 different people have volunteered with us at least once during that same period.
Volunteers make parkrun happen. No volunteers, no parkrun.
Volunteering at parkrun is fun. No role should be daunting. Equipment is easy to use. Whatever you want to do, there is a role for you.
There are some who are perhaps apprehensive about it, but it could not really be much more chaotic than January 1, 2016. This was the day of the very first parkrun double in Northern Ireland, and a day we welcomed a first time volunteer.
It was a day during which everything that could do wrong did go wrong.
"I'll not throw you in at the deep end, I'll give you something easy like finish tokens."
Let's see, the tokens after position 300 had not been removed from the sheets they came in originally, as we had never used them. We then ran out of tokens. One of the scanner batteries died and the stopwatches could only record the first 500 times.
A baptism of fire and enough, I thought, to put someone off the idea of helping out again. But still fun. Possibly because if we didn't laugh, we'd cry. But it didn't put anyone off volunteering. It encouraged them to return and try different roles each time.
All our run directors were once first time volunteers. Maybe starting by being a marshal, or jumping straight onto barcode scanning - you've seen it done week after week and would be able to do it without realising.
Our weekly run reports often heap high praise on first finishers and welcome first timers. Now, it is time to see your name in lights by completing another first, and taking the first step towards the easiest of milestone t-shirts to achieve.