(not)parkrun
(not)parkrun
News - 16th May 2022

What motivates you to volunteer?

vol_milestone

We all have different motivations to stay active as we know it can lead to being healthier and happier. But when it comes to volunteering, there can be different motivations.

 

Since the introduction of volunteering milestones in 2021, there is now the opportunity for every volunteer instance to contribute toward the volunteer milestone clubs. Just like the walk/run milestone clubs, the parkrun volunteering milestones recognise the amazing contribution of this form of participation at parkrun. Whether someone chooses to walk, jog, run or volunteer, all are welcome and we value them the same.

 

To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we chatted to three parkrun volunteers who have recently reached new parkrun volunteer milestones and found out more about their journeys.

 

Robyn Lindsay – Mosman parkrun – 250 volunteer milestone

 

If you’ve been to Mosman parkrun in the past few years and enjoyed three laps of their scenic waterside course, chances are you’ve seen Robyn at the top of the turnaround hill, ready with some warm words of encouragement.

 

Robyn only ever volunteers and of her 250 volunteer stints, she estimates about 245 of them have been marshalling.

 

“I love it up there. It has become my spot,” she said.

 

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Robyn has tried other roles but gets nervous scanning or handing out tokens and marshalling and cheering on others makes her happy.

 

“parkrun gets me out of bed on a Saturday morning. I’ve also now got so many parkrun friends and a little parkrun community. They are nice people. I love that parkrun is such a diverse group. You’ve got people who are retired or still at school, professionals, retail people, tradespeople, finance people – such a wide cross-section of society. I love it,” Robyn said.

 

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She said aiming for the 250 volunteer milestone had been a goal long before the new volunteer clubs had been announced and while she had not ordered volunteer t-shirts in any other colours, she was very excited to order her green 250 volunteer t-shirt.

 

Robyn intends on continuing with volunteering, specifically marshalling and has her name down on the roster for weeks in advance.

 

She’s aiming for her 300th stint now and her eyes on a longer term goal of 500.

 

“The maximum I can do is maybe 52 or 54 volunteer roles a year. I plan my life around my Saturdays and tell people I have to be around for parkrun. It’s not a chore, but a commitment I’m not prepared to break. It’s an addiction but a good one,” Robyn said.

 

“I love getting to see such nice people who make me feel important. I feel like if I’m not there or I’m away, I feel like I’m really missing out.”

 

Amanda O’Reilly – Westerfolds parkrun – 100 volunteer milestone

 

Amanda O’Reilly discovered Westerfolds parkrun not long after it launched in 2014 and has been an integral part of the team ever since. She has reached the impressive milestone of volunteering 100 times.

 

Over the years Amanda has collected her 50, 100 and 250 walk/run milestones but it’s her volunteer 100 milestone that gives her the most pride. “I walk a bit taller when wearing my volunteer milestone shirts; I’m immensely proud of them.”

 

On a recent tourist visit, wearing her v100 shirt became a great conversation starter, and Amanda encouraged others to aim to achieve their own volunteer milestone. “It represents years’ worth of participating as a volunteer at parkrun, not many can say that.”

 

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Amanda is not only involved on Saturdays; she’s also a Run Director at Westerfolds junior parkrun on Sundays. She said not only did volunteering at juniors help her hit volunteering milestones quicker – as you get a volunteering credit just as you would on a Saturday – but she said seeing the junior walkers and runners filled her with a great sense of satisfaction.

 

“juniors is extra special, seeing all those happy little faces. It builds their independence and resilience. They have a great sense of achievement in completing the 2k. I’ve seen many juniors build-up from running with mum or dad to running on their own – it’s a joy to be part of.”

 

Most of her volunteering now is as Run Director but she has enjoyed trying almost all the volunteering roles. “I’m happy to contribute to the event in any way I can. You get to see the different ways people enjoy their parkrun – walking with friends or chasing a PB – there are so many variations,” Amanda said.

 

Natalie Vujovich – Karkarook parkrun – 50 volunteer milestone

 

Natalie Vujovich started parkrun August 2018 and has recently clocked 50th volunteer at parkrun.

 

She tried marshalling first and loved cheering everyone on. By her own admission, the marshalling role really suited her, because she is “naturally very loud”.

 

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Now a Run Director and soon to be a Co-Event Director, Natalie said run directing is now her favourite role.

 

“You meet so many new people. Seeing the first finishers, meeting people volunteering for the first time, it’s great,” she said.

 

Natalie hoped to line up her 100th walk/run and 50th volunteering stint on the same Saturday, but her love of the Run Director role over the summer meant she hit the 50 volunteering milestone first.

 

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And what keeps Natalie coming back to volunteering? Natalie said volunteering makes her feel valued. “I love how everybody thanks me. It’s good to feel appreciated,” she said.

 

Keen to lend a hand at parkrun? We’d love to welcome you. The simplest way to sign up to volunteer is to send an email to your local parkrun. You can find your local event here, and you can locate their email address on your event’s home page, under the ‘volunteer’ tab.

 

Sally Heppleston

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