With one week to go before what would have been Uckfield parkrun’s 1st birthday bash (Whoo whoo!) it seems a good time as any to show our heartfelt appreciation to everyone who has helped make our parkrun the amazing, fun, inspiring event it has become - The volunteers! 229 people have come forward and helped, in one way or another over the last year, which is a fantastic turnout. Whether you helped every week, once a month or just tried it out and decided it wasn’t for you, we are so grateful to every body who donned a fluorescent jacket and gave it a go. From run directors to token sorters, every single role and enthusiastic person has been essential to creating the wonderful Uckfield parkrun we love . You are all stars! (As is my eldest son who helped me create this "Star of Stars", thank you William.)
You have braved the heat of the summer, the rains and winds of autumn and the cold and mud of the winter.
And its not just the weather you have tolerated, the time and dedication given have been amazing. As a result, a number of people have gained a new t-shirt in this last year, for volunteering 25 times (Congratulations David, Deborah, Kathy, Lorraine, Rowan, Kathy, Mary, Emma, David, Sam, Stephen, Deborah). The enthusiasm has been unbelievable - We have had people volunteer with a broken ankle, a 5 week old baby and as whole families. You have supported cake sales, International Women's day, an extra Christmas day event, and our crisis of a flooded start, to name but a few of the last year's happenings.
International Women's day event
Not surprisingly, our volunteers are often commented on, by participants, for their proficiency and enthusiasm. Similarly our parkrun is often remarked upon, as being very scenic, which actually translates to "needing quite a lot of volunteers"! Unlike a few laps around an urban park, our beautiful route is not so simple to set up or marshal. The course set up starts at 7.15am - this is the cold dark of day in the winter, but the lovely cool sunshine in the summer. Still, it’s not a popular time and as the Volunteer Coordinator I would like to give a special thank you to Kathleen Southall for answering my desperate pleas on a Friday, to help with this one when we are short. I would also like to thank Kathy M and Lorraine for always being willing to give up their run to help out if we are low on volunteer numbers on the day (before packing away or setting up, I hasten to add). Additionally, we acknowledge the help of the students using parkrun to fulfil the volunteering section of their Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme: Alex, Hamish, Izzie, Joseph R, Joseph W, Lenny, Lydia, Mia, Paula, Sam, and Troy – filling the roster during the cold winter months would have been very difficult without you all!
Unlike some parkruns, we have never yet had to cancel due to lack of volunteers. Thankfully you all keep coming back for more! Whether you volunteer out of altruism, a love of running, a wish to meet new people or just something to do on a Saturday morning, the camaraderie and spirit of Uckfield parkrun makes it something to enjoy. And if there is any doubt that volunteering can be as good for you as running, walking, or taking part, take a look at the results of a survey done by Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC), in October 2018. Using results from 60,694 survey returns and 11 million answers to 47 questions the study showed that “Those who also volunteer reported an 84% improvement to their happiness, compared to 79% for all respondents.” No wonder some people prefer volunteering to running!
If you haven’t yet tried volunteering, there are a number of ways to get involved. The simplest is to check out the future volunteer roster and email me at Uckfieldhelpers@parkrun.com, with a date and what you would like to do. Alternatively there is a sign up sheet on the barcode scanning table at each event. You can also sign up to the Uckfield parkrun email list (by editing your parkrun profile or clicking the link in your results email) so that you are alerted to appeals for help.
Finally, I thought I would share this clip, of a very enthusiastic marshal – inspiration for those days when we can get back out there.
In the meantime, I hope you are keeping healthy and still managing to run, walk, jog and/or volunteer, within government guidelines of course.