I didn’t start volunteering with parkrun until I joined the core team at Whitby parkrun. As much as I enjoy taking part in the 5km run, there is much satisfaction to be had in helping to setup the run as well. I wish I had volunteered sooner. Here’s a view behind the scenes…
Before the runners, joggers, and walkers show up, the crew of volunteers have already been at work setting out the signage, checking the conditions of the course, and noting the weather conditions.
As participants start to show up get ready for the run, the volunteers provide new runners and tourists a breifing about the course and provide the local knowledge to help them get around the 5km.
3..2..1..GO! And the runners are off for their Saturday morning fix. Photographers try to capture each runner at their best along the course, the tail walker makes sure that no one finishes last, and when weather permits, the bike marshal is there to offer support as well.
Back at the start/finish area, those who are timing, scanning etc get about 20 mins to chat about anything and everything. Along with the usual talk about what has been going on in all of our personal lives, there has been recent chatter about how to celebrate the upcoming 1 year anniversary of Whitby parkrun on March 31st. What can we offer at the finish line – Cakes? Medals? Drinks? Bananas? Can we reroute so that the finish line is on the nearby beach?
Hold that thought, here come the first finishers. Strike a pose for the camera as you cross the finish line; click the timer; hand out the token; help any runners catch their breath or find their water bottle.
When it comes to scanning, it’s good practice to take a moment to read the name on the barcode. ‘Beep/beep’… “Well run <participant>, see you next week!”
The early finishers usually stick around to clap, cheer and high-five the runner behind them. Amazingly, the final finishers and tail walkers get the biggest applause of the day!
Now it’s time to pack up. Carefully take down the parkrun flag, collect the orange cones, and km signage, and ensure no litter gets left behind. Head to the local coffee joint and chat with the parkrun tourists from near and far.
Later that Saturday, the results get processed. How many runners hit a Personal Best? How many tourists and first timers showed up? The photos are uploaded to the facebook page and a commentary about the day is written up.
That wraps up this week. On to plan out next week.
Before the next Saturday, we need to check emails from parkrun HQ, tourists and volunteers. We thank the volunteers on the chat group for coming out, and find out who is available for the next event.
As parkrunday gets closer, we check the weather forecast and advise runners/volunteers to dress appropriately. Tokens and equipment are checked and charged.
PS – don’t forget to plan something special for the 1 year anniversary run!
Whitby parkrun Event Director