We've been working hard behind the scenes to get things organised for our safe return to parkrun this Saturday (21st August) and wanted to give you a flavour of our "new normal" under the parkrun Covid-19 framework before we return. This is to reassure both participants and volunteers that all will be well and to familiarise everyone with how things operate.
Overall, the event shouldn't look or feel very different from how it was in the past; we're hoping the footspa will fill up regularly to give everyone those special moist moments of enjoyment, and because we're quite a new event we won't have to get used to using the Virtual Volunteer app as we were already app only.
The complete Covid-19 framework from parkrun makes for fairly dry reading (sorry, parkrun!), and even they must be admitting that as they've produced some handy-dandy posters summarising what needs to happen.
For runners/joggers/walkers, the poster is here:
All pretty straightforward really. Although distancing is no longer required outside in Wales, it's part of the parkrun Covid-19 framework and we have to operate under this as a condition of our return, so please help us to comply with this.
For volunteers, there's a slightly different poster:
We'll be providing hand sanitiser for volunteers at the finish area, so please use that when you arrive and if you need to handle any shared equipment. On that note, we'll be doing our best to minimise contact with any equipment, but obviously some things do need to be picked up and moved around. If you feel anxious about anything like that, please let the Run Director know!
There's an FAQ section below and if that still doesn't answer your question, please do drop us an e-mail.
Q. How did you work out which parts of the event needed to change? And have all events made the same changes?
A. The parkrun Covid-19 Framework identifies the risks and how we minimise those risks along with the regular risk assessment that we have always had. We're lucky not to have had to make any changes to the course or the start and finish areas.
Q. I want to hand out tokens, how will that work?
A. You can still "hand out tokens" except now we ask you to "drop them" carefully into the participant's waiting open hands. We may look to have more than one volunteer handing out finish tokens.
Q. I'm a bit concerned about wearing a hi-vis that someone else has worn, can I bring my own?
A. We'd rather you didn't. All of our lovely pink hi-vis vests are brand new and have never been worn before. They'll either be washed, quarantined or both before each subsequent event. You'll stand out a lot if you wear a yellow hi-vis.
Q. I'd like to do timekeeping or scanning, can I borrow a phone? Won't I need to wear disposable gloves?
A. You'll need to use your own phone to either scan or timekeep using the parkrun Virtual Volunteer app for Android or for Apple. Unfortunately we're not able to lend people phones and request that you don't ask to borrow them from someone else, so no gloves will be needed. If you don't have your own smartphone, you'll need to do something else to volunteer - we have lots of options!
Q. I'm excited for parkrun's return, I've put my name down to volunteer but I'm not feeling too good. I don't think it's Covid but I don't want to let the event down...
A.If you, or anyone in your house is exhibiting any of the symptoms of Covid then please stay away from the event (yes, that includes spectating too). If you could let us know would be great and we can find a replacement for your volunteer role. The event won't be going anywhere and we look forward to your return once your self isolation period is complete!
Q. How will scanning work? Surely handling all those tokens is a risk?
A. parkrunners will be asked to hold up the finish token to be scanned and then they will be asked to drop it into the bucket themselves. The scanner volunteer no longer needs to handle any of the finish tokens. We've actually now got a bucket for finish tokens, which will be behind the scanners (one scanner per 50 participants)
Q. Sorry, how many scanners did you say!?
A. To reduce the scanning queue we will need some additional scanners for our event (probably 1 or 2 extra). We're hoping that some of the faster finishing parkrunners will register to become scanners which will help us in both finding that number of additional volunteers as well as keeping the numbers down. Once the queues have subsided after the "peak" (normally after about 9.40am) the number of scanners can be reduced. The aim is to keep the scanning queue short and away from the finishers.
Q. Is it true you're not doing a Covid-19 Risk Assessment?
A. No, this is not true - as well as the numerous risks we've assessed and mitigated already - we have those that have been raised in the parkrun Covid-19 Framework and the mitigation activities that have been recommended here has resulted in changes like the lengthening of the finish funnel, the new scanning and timekeeping processes and the use of sanitiser gel.
Q. Will we need to "check-in" using the NHS app?
A. No you won't need to "check-in". If needed for "Track & Trace", parkrun will use the contact details you provided when you registered for your barcode which is why it's even more important that you "Don't Forget Your Barcode" #DFYB.
Q. It's raining, I don't want my phone to get wet, why don't you have phone cases we can borrow?
A. We can actually go one better and GIVE YOU a waterproof cover for your phone (please don't give it back). Okay, it may look a bit like a freezer bag...
Q. Are there any course changes?
A. No. The course has already been designed to minimise pinch points. As always, we ask participants to seed themselves so that the faster runners are near the front, and slower runners and walkers towards the rear, but this is even more important now. The course will continue to flow in one direction and hasn't needed to be changed at all. Don't forget whether you're a fast parkrunner or a regular parkrunner you have no priority over anyone else and especially no priority over other park users.
Q. I've being doing (not)parkrun or Virtual parkrun, but I've not actually done a "real" parkrun before - will there still be a first timer's briefing?
A. Welcome to parkrun! Yes, there absolutely will be a first timer's briefing - but it will be brief! It will happen at 8.50am and won't be any longer than 2 minutes. Don't forget to bring a printed barcode (we can't scan images on your mobile phone) and you should be just fine!
Q. Will the cafe be open?
A. The Tesco cafe will be open, but please remember that they might not be used to so many of us appearing at once! They're sure to be pleased to see you, but please be patient.
Q. My child is really looking forward to coming back to parkrun, any new rules for the kids?
A. Yes actually there are. Whilst normally children under the age of 11yrs old are asked to be accompanied by an adult within arm's length during the event, we now ask that children stay with their adult before and after the event too. Young children do not necessarily understand the social distancing rules so it's the parent/supervising adult's responsibility
Q. Yay! parkrun is coming back! Can we bring cakes?
A. As much as we all love a slice of homemade, post-run/walk cake, alas no. Let's postpone the celebrations and the cakes until the event is back, everything has settled down and we can run the event as it was before all of this (waves arms around)
Q. I want to help pack equipment away, but I'm concerned.
A. We will attempt to reduce the amount of "hand offs" as we pack away to minimise the handling of course equipment. We have hand sanitiser available and would recommend you use that after you've helped pack the equipment away.
Q. How am I going to remember all of this?
A. We've updated the lanyards we give to all volunteers, so they now include a copy of both the volunteer and participant codes for quick reference. We'll give a few reminders in the volunteer briefing email (which goes out on Friday afternoon/evening), and will have reminders at the park.
Hopefully this goes some way to give you an idea of all the risks and changes we've made to the event. If you've still got any questions or concerns, please drop us an email at email@example.com
We're all looking forward to seeing you all back in our gorgeous park for your favourite free, weekly, timed 5km run.
So we've hinted about volunteering in the comments above! As ever, we require about a twenty volunteers at each event. Some of these roles are compatible with participating as a runner too. You will be able to email the details of when you are able to volunteer and what role you would like to do, to firstname.lastname@example.org any time you like. If you would like to receive reminders, login to https://www.parkrun.com/profile/ then click on 'manage my profile', then 'email options', then select the events you'd like to hear from and click 'save opt-in events list'. You will then receive regular emails from those events letting you know all about their volunteering opportunities.