Volunteering at parkrun is ace! You might think it's for all the usual reasons like 'giving something back', supporting other runners or fancying trying summink new. Well, these are all excellent and very valid reasons but there is one other reason that caps them all!
It doesn't matter if the weather is set fair and the course is in sublime nick like last Saturday. It doesn't matter how many tourists we've got, be they from London, North Wales or even Tetbury like this week. It doesn't matter if we get six PBs, including Clare Dinnis, Jane Heryet and Mary Derrick. It doesn't matter that seven of the first ten finishers were all first timers at Wotton.
What matters is that you parkrunners turn up and set off. Because then, we volunteers get to the the best thing - we watch you all cut a dash across the PARC and up the hill on the other side of the hole in the hedge, each of us cogitating silently before one hi-vis hero pipes up and says, "Alright then, 'ow many do think there are this week?" And then, we're off. The best bit of parkrun has begun! So you lot all run your socks off while we suck air through teeth and try to guess how many of you there are.
This week, Emma said 50. I said 87 and suddenly she'd amended the rules, gone again and said 100.
James reckoned 80 or so (I can't remember exactly) and Sam, well, he was very controversial because he said 'around 90'. This caused much interesting discussion as to what the parameters of 'around' meant, especially once runners started finishing and it became quite clear that there would indeed be 'around 90' athletes finishing. The debate really hotted up as runner after runner sprinted up the gravel track and got tapped into the system on the timekeepers' phones. With just one runner and the tail walker to go, we were on 86. So (and does parkrun get any more exciting than this?), was I right with my 87 (there were 87 runners, plus the tail walker), or, with 88 finishers in total, was Sam's 'around 90' right? Or, if we're rounding, was the 88 closer to my 87 than 'around 90'? Who knows? Who cares? But what a brilliant way to spend a morning while helping you fellow parkrunners enjoy their Saturday morning 5K.
Only thing is, we need you all back next week so we can do this best bit of parkrun again. If you volunteer too, you get to join in with it AND it'll mean there's a different number of parkrunners too. Fun-tastic!