This week Ethan, one of our DofE candidates who has been volunteering with us for the last few months has kindly written a report for us and telling us about his experiences.
I have just completed my volunteering section of my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award at the Torridge junior parkrun. It has been lovely coming down on Sunday mornings to see the park being used by the junior parkrun and to see the children aged 4-14 running 2k around the park. I have tried lots of different roles like marshaling, barcode scanning, and funnel manager. The hardest one I found was the funnel manager because you have to make sure they all stay in the same order they came over the line in and not all the children will listen to you.
It doesn’t matter what age they are or what the weather is like they still have the determination to wake up and come down on Sunday mornings. This week there were two brothers that have done the junior parkrun 200 times, and there are only a few children in the whole country that have done it more times than they have. Most of the times have been at Torridge junior parkrun but to show they are dedicated to the junior parkrun when they go on holiday, they have visited junior parkruns nearby where they have been staying. So, this was a very special week for them. There was a bit more to setup this week because they decided to buy cakes for every one after the run, so we had to put up the gazebo to make sure it if it did rain then the cakes wouldn’t get wet, and guess what it did rain.
What made it even more challenging this week was a bowls tournament also going on in the park, so there were also a number of parked cars on the course. Also, there had been a little music festival the day before which was still set up in the park and was on the path were the run takes place. However, Phil made use of the stage to do his briefing and hand out some awards, which included one to myself to say thank you for volunteering at the Torridge junior parkrun as part of my D of E award.
This week I was on the only role I hadn’t done yet and that was timekeeping. Leading up to the start of the run I was a bit worried because I didn't want to get it wrong especially that it was the boys 200th run. When it was all finished, I felt that it went fine and I didn’t make any mistakes. After cakes, I helped pack away all of the signs, tables and gazebo to the stores and then went over to the boat (which has been turned into a cafe) to process the results. I do the main parkrun in Barnstaple on a Saturday so I always wondered how they uploaded the results to the web site. It was a lot simpler than I imagined, the barcode scanners and stopwatch are plugged in to the laptop and uploaded to a special parkrun website. It creates all the information in to a table to then check over and add any details of barcodes that didn’t scan, then it publishes the results and sends emails out to all the runners.
I would just like to say thanks to Phil, and to all of the other run directors, and other volunteers that come week after week to marshal. Even though I have finished my D of E I will still come and volunteer at Torridge junior parkrun as I see how important it is to the children.
Thanks Ethan, it has been a pleasure working with you, and you will always be welcome to come and join us again.