From our research on volunteering at parkrun this year, we identified eight common myths that can sometimes prevent people from volunteering. We aim to bust those myths once and for all, to ensure everyone, no matter your age, ability or background, knows they are welcome at parkrun. Here they are!
1) Not sure how to volunteer?
Signing up to volunteer is super easy and everyone can volunteer at parkrun.
Click on your nearest event using the event finder, and email the event using the contact details on the event page. Include your name, parkrun ID (the number on your barcode), the date and the volunteer role you would like to do (if there’s a specific role you’ve got in mind). Don’t worry if you don’t know which volunteer role you want to do, there’s something for everyone. The event will then be in touch to confirm!
Alternatively, just chat to the run director at an event about volunteering, and they will be able to add you to the future volunteer roster.
2) Nervous about volunteering alone?
We know that some people who are volunteering for the first time are worried about not knowing anyone. Why not bring a friend or family member to volunteer alongside you? When signing up to volunteer, simply mention that you’ll be volunteering in a pair.
We might be biased, but we promise you’ll have the best time!
3) Volunteering is super simple
Are you worried about ‘making a mistake’ while volunteering? There’s no need to be worried!
The parkrun virtual volunteer app has been designed so that it is simple to use when volunteering as a time keeper or barcode scanner. Plus, you can always watch another volunteer first so that you feel extra confident. Why not give it a go?
4) No experience needed
A common myth about volunteering at parkrun is that you have to complete the 5k a few times before you can volunteer, or that you need ‘previous volunteering experience’ before volunteering for the first time.
That’s not true! No experience is needed to volunteer at parkrun – everyone is welcome.
We know that some people are also unsure about volunteering in case they don’t know an answer to a question. That’s not a problem! We don’t expect you to have all the answers. We just expect you to get outdoors and have a load of fun.
If a parkrunner asks you a question you’re not sure about, just direct them to the run director.
5) How long does volunteering take?
There are no cut off times at parkrun, so the duration of volunteering can vary from week to week. The length of time also depends on the role you are doing – some only take a few minutes, others can take longer.
Some roles can also be done whilst walking or running the course. You can stay as long as you like though, including joining others for a drink at the cafe after!
6) Walk, jog or run and volunteer on the same day
Did you know you can volunteer as well as walk, jog or run at parkrun on the same day? Choose from course checking, pre-event set up, first timers welcome, tail walking, token sorting, report writing and post-event close down!
This way, you get a volunteer credit as well as a walk/run credit all in on event.
7) Volunteering benefits for children
Are you struggling to find time to volunteer at parkrun without childcare? Bring your kids along to parkrun!
Roles such as marshalling or tail walking are simple roles to involve your children in, so you never have to choose between parkrun or childcare again. Plus, the various skills developed and confidence gained by volunteering from an early age go a long way.
8) Volunteering with a disability
Our volunteering research revealed that some people who live with a disability feel that they can’t volunteer at parkrun, but we welcome everyone who wants to help out at parkrun events. There is a volunteer role for everybody!
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