Hello, and welcome to the first edition of the parkrun USA & Canada Volunteer update!
Our goal in developing this update is to share important and useful information with parkrun volunteers. You will receive one email per month via this channel. If you read only one thing from parkrun each month, please read this!
We hope you enjoy the first edition of the parkrun Canada volunteer update and would LOVE your feedback via email@example.com.
Here is some of the key information for the coming period:
Under 11s at parkrun
parkrun takes safeguarding very seriously. One of the most important rules is that under 11s stay with a responsible adult at all times. The policy is here.
The adult does not need to be a parent or relative. But it is the responsibility of the parent, not the event team, to designate the responsible adult. One adult may accompany more than one child, but if there are too many to keep within arm’s reach, then it’s probably too many.
Event teams are not expected to actively police this policy. But they are expected to highlight it at every run briefing (or first-timer’s briefing). And visiting groups with children should be alerted to the policy.
If you see clear evidence of someone ignoring the policy during the event, the following steps are recommended:
If further advice is needed, contact your event’s ambassador or drop us a line via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Role of the Run Director
The Run Director (RD) role is the single most important one on any given parkrunday. The RD has overall responsibility for the event on the day, is the ultimate decision maker on whether to cancel or not, and oversees all aspects of the event.
It is vitally important that the RD is free to deal with any issues or incidents that may occur and therefore the RD may not participate in the event as a walker or runner. With limited exceptions, they should also not perform other key roles like timer, scanner, tokens, or course marshal that would impact their ability to react to an deal with any issues.
The RD is usually expected to stay close to the start/finish area, as this is where the majority of any potential issues would occur
For certain smaller events, we recognize that the RD may need to manage one of the finish line roles until the first few finishers arrive and help out, but all events are encouraged to ensure that the RD is not doing another role where possible, and RDs should never take part in the event.
Google Photos Guidance
An article has been added to the wiki that outlines how Google Photos may be used to store and share event photos. Find out more here.
IT Support, parkrun Global
Spring into parkrun!
For many of our events they will be coming out of the winter freeze and into Spring. This means a few things one of which being that attendances will be increasing due to the start of the tourist season, but more importantly because the Spring attracts more runners who prefer to run in warmer weather.
What does this mean for our volunteer teams? Well you may experience a shift in operations as you deal with a larger crowd, for example:
It’s unlikely you will have a sharp spike, but keep an eye on it through week on week. You can see how registrations are doing for your event here.
Effective Communications: “What we celebrate is what we value”
Every week, your parkrun Communications & Community Development team works to prepare publicity and news products that tell the story of parkrun. We think that many of the things that we’ve learned about effective parkrun communications can also help local events improve their own outreach and engagement. We will use this section to highlight tips for improving your communications.
Our constant refrain as the Comms Team is “What we celebrate is what we value.” Whether it’s choosing photos for the weekly roundup or helping to write launch stories for new parkruns, we want to make sure that we are always using our stories to highlight the values that are most important to parkrun.
So, what does this mean in practice? It means that if you’d like your audience to “buy” what you’re “selling,” you have to talk about (or show) it! We reinforce our values by celebrating them on a consistent, persistent basis, across all of our platforms (local newsletters, national newsletter, social media, articles on parkrun blogs, messaging to the community, news articles, etc.)
Say, for example, you’d like more walkers to come to your parkrun. How do you do that? By showing prospective walkers that your parkrun is a welcoming place for them. Share photos of people walking at parkrun; write profiles about your regular walkers to share on Facebook, your blog, and in the weekly newsletter (or even the parkrun USA weekly newsletter!); highlight walking PBs just as much as running ones; always use inclusive language that mentions both “running and walking at parkrun;” and encourage your local runners to try walking parkrun for a change. Remember: consistent and persistent are the key to celebrating our values.
Events should constantly examine their existing messaging to see what is celebrated and whether that is consistent with the event’s values. For example, if run reports only ever mention the top three finishers and their times, then someone might see that and think “I’m not fast enough to come to parkrun” or “parkrun is only for serious runners.” Or, an event that only mentions tourists and forgets to highlight local attendees runs the risk of portraying parkrun as a novelty for out-of-towners and not something put on by and for the local community.
Our job as the Comms Team is not to tell you what your parkrun does or should value. However, we are happy to talk about some of the ways that we consistently celebrate our core values, as we work on communications products:
Communications & Community Development Team
Featured Initiatives: Emergency Preparedness
Over the past few weeks, Leakin Park and Fletcher’s Cove parkruns both invited their emergency services to parkrun, as a way to build relationships and, most importantly, to help ensure that their events and first responders are ready to deal with an emergency at parkrun. Both parkruns found that their local fire departments were eager to attend and give advice.
Here’s a summary of the most important lessons learned:
Leakin Park & Fletcher’s Cove parkruns
Featured Initiatives: Event-specific signage
If you’ve looked at the weekly photo roundup over the past few months, you’ve probably seen one of the many home-grown signs that events have created as photo props. We love seeing these pop up at various events and we look forward to seeing more.
The signs are great for starting conversations with first-timers and creating “branded” photo moments that people can inflict on their friends on social media, spreading the word about your parkrun.
We’ve seen some awesome locally-created signs! Some of our favorites are “The New Kid” sign for first timers at Mountain Goat Trail (that baby goat is adorable), the Maryland flag crab at Leakin Park, and the turtle at College Park. We call these the Patronus signs… it’s a Harry Potter reference. Many of these also include a small chalkboard section people so people can write the number of parkruns that they’ve done, so they’re great for milestone celebrations! Another option is the the official parkrun photo frame, which some teams may order.
Please keep the parkrun branding guidelines in mind: no uses of the parkrun tree or the standalone word “parkrun” on anything permanent (paper and cake are fine). You can use the word “parkrun” along with the full name of your event: e.g. “Mountain Goat Trail parkrun”, but not on its own.
If you have any questions, check with your Event Director or ambassador.
Communications & Community Development Team
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