I felt it was time to write some words about our amazing, fantastic, awesome volunteers that help make parkrun happen every week around the world.
There’s an image within the traditional role models of clubs (föreningar) in Sweden that everyone who is a member (or indeed if you are a parent to a child who is a member) then you have an “obligation” to help out at events; this can vary in frequency but can be seen as a burden, “something that just has to be done” to help the club survive financially.
This couldn’t be further from the truth at parkrun! Although there is a certain amount of work on the part of that week’s Run Director in organising the volunteers, it’s never felt like a burden and indeed is part of parkrun’s concept; that volunteering is equally as rewarding as taking part. Many of our helpers have been involved numerous times, just count the purple “V25 t-shirts” and it’s plain to see people just simply love it.
On a personal note, having brought parkrun to Örebro I am rewarded 10-fold every week with the feeling that you belong to something that matters to others, and can have an impact on the health and well being of thousands of people. You have a sense of community.
It’s awesome seeing new friendships forming, whether over the challenge of beating each other’s PBs or simply just having a laugh and a coffee afterwards. The tasks are really simple, full instructions are given and there’s a sense that we are part of a big family, with thousands of events happening all over the world. Sometimes you take part, sometimes you help out. Simple!
Volunteering at any event is important and it helps others, which gives you a sense of doing something good and helpful for others, and the volunteers are always highlighted and thanked before each event at the pre-run briefing.
I’m convinced that volunteering is good for you! Volunteering can enrich your own life in so many ways without that being your intention. It will offer new life experiences and is a great way to network and meet other like-minded individuals, creating friendships that can last a lifetime.
At Örebro parkrun 104 different people, to date, have helped out at our 82 events that we have held so far which is simply awesome. Come snow, cold and heatwaves (I kid you not when I say it hardly rains at parkrun!) we have so much fun together. Always smiling and willing to help out.
Experience parkrun just once and often you’re hooked, you just want more and more of the atmosphere, warmth and lack of pretentiousness. After a while, if you want to experience parkrun in a different way, why not help out now and again as a volunteer – it is so rewarding. Give it a go!
Event Director, Örebro parkrun
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