Wycombe Rye parkrun non-Run Report, 8th August 2020 #21

On 4th April 2012 Wycombe Rye parkrun was started by Sam Amend and Manfred McKenzie. There wouldn’t have been a parkrun without Sam and Manfred but since then the work has been shared by a team of Run Directors.
Twenty Run directors have shared the bulk of the responsibility of running Wycombe Rye parkrun.

Robert Alistair France [56 as Run Director]
First RD on 20th April 2013

Me
When did you become a Run Director at Wycombe Rye?
I missed the inaugural at Wycombe as we were on holiday, but I have been running and volunteering here ever since. I first volunteered at event 6 on 8th September 2012 and did my first stint as Run Director with Sam and Manfred on 20th April 2013. I remember it well, mostly for the sense of panic I felt rising in me as all the results came up pink (instead of the normal yellow or green). It turned out that we had forgotten to clear the scanners so had duplicate results. Easy to fix, but it certainly raised the heartrate.
What do you enjoy about run directing?
The thing I like the most about Run Directing is that if you are doing your job right then most of the time everything goes smoothly and everyone else does the work. The Run Director is responsible for the safe operation of parkrun but once the course is set and the volunteers have been briefed then you really can start to enjoy it. I also really enjoying seeing new Run Directors join the team and watching volunteers grow in confidence. That said, the best thing about the role for me, and also as Event Director, is that we represent Wycombe Rye parkrun: we get to talk to first-timers, tourists and milestone runners; we share in people’s PBs (and disasters); and we get to be at the heart of an amazing, caring, encouraging community.
What is your favourite memory of being an RD at Wycombe Rye?
I wrote the question, but I am really struggling to answer it. I have so many favourite memories from Run Directing with my each of my children, to some of our birthday and anniversary runs. If I had to pick one then I think it has to be our 200th run on 25th June 2015. For me, this had everything that makes Wycombe Rye parkrun so special. Not only were there 397 runners and 20 volunteers but, to celebrate our partnership with Wycombe District Council we were joined by their Chairman Counsellor Mahboob Hussain. We also had a great collection for the One Can Trust and there was cake!

200th
Anything else you want to say…..
Yes. Thank you. As Event Director and Run Director I couldn’t do this without first the team, and second, you. You are what makes Wycombe Rye parkrun. Also, a personal thank you. Wycombe Rye has always been a special place for me and that is because of your kindness, encouragement and support.

Ronnie Mubayiwa [56 as Run Director]
First RD on 20th July 2013

Ronnie
Ronnie has been involved with Wycombe Rye parkrun from the start. He volunteered at the inaugural and is still here with us now. Ronnie joined the team in July 2013 and has now volunteered 78 times including 56 as Run Director. This means that Ronnie has been Run Director [56] more times than he has run parkrun [55].

Nick Sendall [55 as Run Director]
First RD on 30th November 2013

Nick
When did you become a Run Director at Wycombe Rye?
I am first credited as a Run Director on 30th November 2013 but at this stage I was still learning and under the experienced wing of Sam Amend. What could possibly go wrong? Well, as I learnt over the weeks before that, and since, practically everything.
My first solo outing, where I actually had to pretend that I knew what I was doing, was 14th December 2013, aided by 9 other volunteers, many of which have become good running friends (well, they all still speak to me). Regardless of our combined naivety, we still successfully staged a free 5km run, starting at 9am and 117 runners completed a marked-out, marshaled course safely (or at least, without incident) and they all received a result when they got home.
So, thanks to the volunteers on that day:
Nigel Masters & David Morley (Timekeepers)
Michael Hickman (Photographer)
Caroline Bishop & Matt Fowler (Barcode Scanning)
Peter Astles, Peter Collinson, Martin James Dean & Simon Dust (Marshals)

What do you enjoy about run directing?
I really love seeing the event evolve on the day – starting at 8am as the volunteers arrive, emptying the shed, assigning kit and volunteers to locations, starting the run, seeing the first runners appear, spotting the Tail Walkers on their return leg, seeing the kit packed away by around 10:30ish as if 500-600 runners were never there and then processing the results successfully. (And of course, the cake!)
I enjoy all the background elements that come with the role too. As one of the Event Directors, I am inevitably involved on a daily basis with parkrun enquiries, issues, developments, strategy for how we cope with increasing numbers, course changes, etc. I think a lot of people don’t realise just how much the RD’s also do behind the scenes – we work on all of this as a team and pre-lockdown it is fair to say we are all communicating on a daily basis figuring out how to make the next Saturday go even smoother and safer than the last. There are 27 recognised volunteer roles at parkrun and the RDs typically undertake 8 of those within their role as RD while of course taking responsibility for all 27 of them.
I enjoy operations management and problem-solving in my working life, so it is probably no surprise that being an RD appealed to me.
What is your favourite memory of being an RD at Wycombe Rye?
My favourite has to be the run we staged in the snow. The week, the days, the hours, then the minutes before staging the event were tense and nervous – whether we were doing the right thing when everyone else was cancelling, were our risk assessments correct, would we get through it safely, would the volunteers freeze to death? – all fears evaporated as the runners came into the finish and the sheer delight on everyone’s faces is a memory that will stick forever. I still feel indebted to so many people who supported the decision-making and helped check and prepare the course, that led to successfully staging that event.

snow

The First Five Run Directors

5 RDS

Norman Lockhart [29 as Run Director]
First RD on 19th April 2014

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Norman first volunteered on 29th December 2012 and joined the team of Run Directors on 19th April 2014. Norman volunteered 45 times at Wycombe Rye including 29 as Run Director. His last stint as Run Director was on 2nd September 2017 before he and Valerie moved out to Singapore.
Norman has now run 238 parkruns, 154 at Wycombe Rye, and its nice to still see both him and Valerie on their returns to the UK.

Phil Burridge [32 as Run Director]
First RD on 20th September 2014

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Phil was always an essential part of Wycombe Rye parkrun. He ran at event 2 on 11th August 2012 and first volunteered at event 4 on 25th August 2012. Phil has volunteered a total of 142 times including 32 as Run Director. This is even more impressive when you consider that Phil has also run 53 times at Wycombe Rye out of a total of 63. Phil stepped down as a Run Director on 24th February 2018.

Lyndsay Markham [49 as Run Director]
First RD on 8th November 2014

Lyndsay
When did you become a Run Director at Wycombe Rye?
I attended Wycombe parkrun as a runner and a regular volunteer in 2013. My first time as Run Director was way back in 2014 when the crowd at the start line was a little smaller than it is now. However, a microphone was soon to be on the to buy list as attendance grew.

What do you enjoy about run directing?
There are lots of positives of being a Run Director apart from the Friday night prep which never goes to plan.
1.Meeting with and hearing about the run experiences of our invaluable volunteers.
2. It's great to see everyone cross the finish line including both the experienced runners and parkrun first timers
3. Meeting with parkrun tourists and hearing what they think about our course especially the steps of doom.
4.Cake!

What is your favourite memory of being an RD at Wycombe Rye?
My favourite Run Director memory is when Marlow Striders (my running club) did a volunteer takeover to show off our new kit. This happened to coincide with my birthday and the first run after Christmas so it was a record attendance but a somewhat chaotic hour.

Lynd cake

Jo Warnock Horn [34 as Run Director]
First RD on 5th July 2016

6th birthday RDs
When did you become a Run Director at Wycombe Rye?
Having volunteered to do a January 2016 Run Report, I stated that one of my new year’s resolutions was to try out every different volunteer role by the end of the year. I thought I might be able to shadow an RD one day to tick that one off the list. Instead I ended up wearing the coveted XL RD tabard!
What do you enjoy about run directing?
The great thing about parkrun is that everyone is there because they want to participate: it makes the whole atmosphere and ethos so positive. The special moment for me is when I say “3 – 2 - 1 parkrun!” and the whole process takes on a life of its own. Whether you are running, marshalling, timing, scanning all the elements become come together in one supportive event and the sense of achievement and buzz of happiness is all around.
What is your favourite memory of being an RD at Wycombe Rye?
The events that are often cited as memorable for parkrunners (the flooded one, the snowy one etc) are not the most pleasant for the RD making the call on whether to run or not. The sixth birthday run in August 2018 is probably the event I remember for its enjoyment rather than angst!

6th birthday volunteers

Rebekah France [18 as Run Director]
First RD on 1st October 2016

Roo

Rebekah first volunteered on 20th July 2013 – as a nine-year old – and has volunteered at Wycombe Rye on 93 occasions. Her first event as a Run Director was on 1st October 2016 and she has done the job 18 times.
What do you enjoy about run directing?
I enjoy that you interact with every runner.
What is your favourite memory of being an RD at Wycombe Rye?
My favourite memory is when Beth and I were Run directors and the Mayor came and we all dressed up in a Rainbow theme... all dress up weeks are fun!

Girlcolour

Douglas Gordon [27 as Run Director]

First RD on 15th October 2016

 

Doug

When did you become a Run Director at Wycombe Rye?
My first outing as RD was 15th October 2016 with the help of Phil Burridge, and the following month, 12th November 2016 I got to fly solo (208 runners) – back in the days when we only had one RD on duty each Saturday.
What do you enjoy about Run Directing?
It turns parkrun from being a once a week run to a fully engaging activity, joined by a wonderful team of RDs, that creates such a wonderful community that we all enjoy.
What is your favourite memory of being a Run Director at Wycombe Rye?
There are a great many happy memories as an RD, but I would have to include the first week that over 600 runners enjoyed Wycombe Rye. As a team, we had a sneaky suspicion that there was going to be a large turn-out, so I was delighted that the extra effort to push out the finish tokens above 600 hadn’t gone to waste. Jo and I were RDs for both the first and second time that we had over 600 runners at Wycombe Rye, but not the current record of 666.
Anything else you want to say…..
I have done quite a bit of volunteering at parkrun, especially with many months out injured. I have volunteered at 88 Wycombe Rye parkruns and currently I still have done the photographer (28) role once more than Run Director (27); although if you include junior parkrun, I have been Run Director 54 times and Photographer a mere 44. Volunteering has certainly been such a great way to enjoy the community when running wasn’t an option.

Beth France [16 as Run Director]
First RD on 24th June 2017

beth

Beth first volunteered on 13th July 2013 and has volunteered 65 times including 16 as Run Director. Beth was the fourteenth Run Director at Wycombe Rye and had her first Run Director event on 24th June 2017.

Katt Clark [25 as Run Director]
First RD on 22nd July 2017

Katt

When did you become a run director at Wycombe Rye?
My first ever volunteer role as run director was on the 22/7/2017. I remember being sat in a pub having a meal with several friends (also park runners two of whom are also run directors) after a local running event and the conversation got around to who would like to be guest RD. I thought it could be fun. After a couple of parkruns shadowing Phil Burridge to learn the ropes, I was in charge! On the morning of my first volunteer RD I remember being nervous, not about the role - only about speaking to over 400 park runners in the main briefing!
I’ve now taken on the role 25 times and look forward to getting back to it when parkrun is able to resume.
What do you enjoy about run directing?
As a back of the pack runner, I have always enjoyed having a chat to other runners on the way round the course. As RD one of my favourite things to do is the first timers briefing, meeting the new park runners and of course, the tourists. It is always nice to be able to congratulate the new runners as they come through the finish funnel. Even better when they say that they enjoyed their run and will be back next week.
Favourite memory of being an RD?
So many memories, all the wonderful cakes brought down by runners to celebrate their running milestones, the fancy dress, talking to runners who have run a new PB and of course the runner who ran parkrun with a teddy bear in a pushchair so that he was ready to run with his child, or the lady who made me smile coordinating her leggings to match her dog! and did I mention the cake?

Dalmation (2)

Barry Vincent [22 as Run Director]
First RD on 9th September 2017

Barry
When did you become a run director at Wycombe Rye?
During a conversation at lunch after the Beaconsfield 5M in 2017, it was mentioned that additional RDs were required, I duly offered my services and did my first RD role on 9th September 2017 shadowing Phil.
What do you enjoy about run directing?
Although I enjoy many of the volunteer roles at parkrun, I do like the additional responsibilities that being an RD involves, from organising the rota for the day, ensuring that all of the equipment is ready and charged, doing the results, everything in fact, except writing the run report!
Favourite memory of being an RD?
One of the main rules of parkrun is no barcode, no time, #DFYB. On one occasion when I was RD, I was approached by a runner after he had completed his run asking if his time could be recorded manually as he had forgotten his barcode, I obviously refused. I am pretty certain that the runner was our local MP!

Carolyn Hall [19 as Run Director]
First RD on 12th September 2017

Carolyn

What do you enjoy about Run Directing?
I love the community spirit, being able to pull people together to put on our fabulous parkrun. It is giving back to the community. I love getting to know more runners down seeing people progress from first starting to getting their milestone tee shirts. I love engaging with people and seeing their exhausted but jubilant faces when they cross the finish line. In a slightly odd way I enjoy the results processing in the cafe afterwards with a hot coffee (and cake if there is any left!).

Favourite memory of being an RD?
I really don’t know. I have lots of fond memories mostly incorporating all of the above. I do remember being RD in my pyjamas one week though which felt rather odd. Announcing Hannah and Matthew Quixley’s 50th milestone also meant a lot having watched them grow up from being pushed around in buggies to running.

Ruth Walne [14 as Run Director]

First RD on 16th June 2018

ruth

When did you become a Run Director at Wycombe Rye?
I became a run director in June 2018 with my first time in a RD vest shadowing on June 16th.
What do you enjoy about Run Directing?
Initially it was very scary when my turn came around to be RD, there was always the worry I would forget to charge something (which I have done) but as I’ve done more turns it has become less worrying. I enjoy the behind the scenes preparation in the lead up to the run, then on the day once the set up has taken place you have the joy of welcoming new runners to the event and set off the run, the feeling of the ground shaking as 500+ runners start is pulse racing and something to be experienced. After the run comes the processing if results which if it goes without a hitch is very rewarding as you see some if the runners in the cafe checking their emails from smartphones.
What is your favourite memory of being a Run Director at Wycombe Rye?
My favourite memory must be that first time I was stood on the rye as 486 runners ran towards me.

Guy Hylton [16 as Run Director]
First RD on 15th September 2018

Guy
Guy was the nineteenth person to don the Run Directors jacket. He knows the course well having run 105 of his 113 parkruns at the Rye. Guy first volunteered on 21st February 2015 and has volunteered 58 times at Wycombe Rye.
Guy caught the eye when he turned up on a snowy/icy morning pulling a sledge with a shovel and some salt on it so that he could clear the steps to ensure a safe run. He did his first stint as Run Director on 15th September 2018 and has now been Run Director on 16 occasions.

 

There have been others who have donned the RD Jacket, particularly when we have had takeover weeks, but it would be remiss of me not to mention Alex Morris [3 as Run Director] and David Milne [1 as Run Director]. We were also privileged to welcome Simon Jones to our team as our twentieth Run Director on 1st February 2020.