Last weekend Newport parkrun celebrated the enormous difference volunteers can make to life, by supporting parkrun Wales and Sport Wales in this annual UK festival.
Every weekend more than 12,000 parkrun volunteers wake up and make a difference to their communities. They choose to give to a cause they believe in, become a part of something bigger, meet and make new friends, have fun, inspire and change lives.
In June 2016, Steve and Celia Marsh had their own lives turned upside down by the news that Steve had cancer. As regular parkrunners they continued turning up every Saturday morning at Tredegar House, setting new Personal Best times (PBs post-diagnosis). Then a new challenge set them on an amazing journey. Steve and Celia planned to run every parkrun in Wales, setting themselves just five months to achieve their goal, 23 Welsh parkruns in 23 weeks, and the ’23 in 23’ was born.
Steve and Celia travelled across the length and breadth of Wales wearing their distinctive green t-shirts, and in doing so have raised a significant amount on money for charities that are close to their hearts. At each new parkrun, the tourists from Newport received amazing support, and as always, the generous host volunteers welcomed them rain or shine.
As the homecoming parkrun in Newport approached, the ‘Green Army’ decided to add an extra parkrun to the schedule and take over running the Newport event. As part of National Volunteers’ Week, Steve and Celia could say ‘Thank you’ and publicly recognise the difference made by the parkrun volunteer community. With the support of more than 90 parkrun volunteers at both Tredegar House and the Riverfront 5k events, the difference was clear for all to see – inspirational.
Not to be out done, the Newport junior parkrunners also wanted to show their support, and 40, many proudly wearing their ’23 in 23’ bright green shirts, organised, marshalled and processed the Newport junior event on Sunday.
The statistics speak for themselves. 90 parkrun volunteers on Saturday and 40 junior volunteers on Sunday. We are proud to shout that Newport parkrun volunteers really do ‘make a difference’.
A huge thank you to all the volunteers from across Wales, who helped Steve and Celia achieve their personal challenge – a parkrun Wales Tour in 23 consecutive weekends, what a way to start 2017!
parkrun and the vision of Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE is the reason that so many people have experienced the joys of volunteering, have been able to try something new, make friends and feel like part of a community.
Newport junior parkrun Event Director
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