Hi, Peter again this week but we are looking for volunteers for next week to write the "not the run report".
The news we were expecting, but didn't really want, is that parkrun remains closed until at least the end of May. Sorry
With some sadness in my heart, I set off with my Wife, Christine, to the Pyramid Centre and Orsett Heath to do a few parkrun errands and combine the trip with our daily exercise.
As I said in last weeks report, I have been thinking about how we can improve our parkrun / make life easier for volunteers during the down time. One of the things was to get a few adjustments made to our deployment and collection vehicle (affectionately known as the rocket launcher). The lovely Clint who donated it to us at event 200 has taken it away (combined with a necessary trip) to shorten, lighten and make some adjustments to sign and cone storage. Thanks Clint - you are a star.
On arriving, I was greeted with a freshly painted men's WC door (thanks Thurrock Council).
Before starting off on a circuit. I took a picture of Christine at the start line tree and then another as we started to head to "pooh bin corner".
It was then that I realised just how well trod this route has been in the weeks since we stopped. nearly 5 agonising Saturdays ago.
Is it me or has a curious new line appeared which seems to avoid the bumps and may provide the fasted possible run on the first sector. It will be interesting to observe the route amongst the faster of you.
I am pleased to say that the grass has been cut in the last couple of weeks and doesn't look like it needs too much attention to get it back up and running on our return.
By the end of a "long lap" (and we did a second) I had been reminded what a lovely place Orsett Heath is and how you can exercise, take in the scenery and socially distance at this wonderful place. I think a few others may also have discovered it. No wonder the run line is so clear. I found myself leaving with a happier heart and a mental note to continue to make regular visits.
What I would like to do until we can start parkrun again is to make life easier and simpler for all of us.
Dave S started a crusade to get local signage in the area to guide people to Thurrock parkrun. He had got senior councillors engaged when suddenly, lockdown kicked in and it all stalled.
I'd like to add getting some permanent signage on the run lines especially the "Caution runners signs". Get a few arrows put on existing lamp posts and we could get marshals to set up and take down their corners. If anyone has the right council contacts, please champion these ideas.
I also want to move us over to the "virtual volunteer app" - freely available on iPhones and Androids. Our stopwatches and scanners are nearly 5 years old and require the use of special leads and a dedicated laptop. The move to smartphones could greatly simplify doing the results but it requires volunteers being willing to download and use the app. It is free and you can practice and play to your hearts content. All new parkruns since the beginning of this year have this as their only method and it works.
Finally, there are lots of consumables at parkrun which are usually funded by the event/run directors and volunteers. Donating pens, paper, toilet rolls (which many people may end up with a surplus of), disinfectant and batteries would all be welcomed.
Enough from me. Let's look at some of the activities being done by our participants.
Sandra is making lemon, lime and orange curd to get donations for the RNLI
Liz, Lucy and James are participation in #NHSNomads to raise money for NHS charities
and we are doing the Phoenis Striders Lockdown Letter Hunt to raise money for "Isla's Charity"
Take care all. Keep exercising responsibly, socially distance and stay safe.