A free, weekly, timed 5km walk, jog or run. A simple concept so there can’t be much that goes on behind the scenes right? Well, yes and no!
This is a great opportunity to give you an operational update from my position as Country Manager and tell you what we’ve been up to. The last four months have been incredibly busy so there’s lots to talk about.
Have you seen our events page recently? You may have noticed in our newsletter and on our social media we’ve been announcing a few events and we are going through our busiest launch season since we started in 2016.
Between March and July, we will have launched 10 new events, and we won’t be done there. There are a few others putting the final details to their proposal and we’ll get them in the launch calendar in time for the fall. Since this time last year, we have doubled the number of parkruns in Canada.
I would say a few things contribute. We have severe winters so trying new things in unreliable and cold weather is not ideal so a lot of the events we are seeing now have been lining up to start since the temperatures starting dipping below zero last year.
Secondly, word is spreading! News gets around of how parkrun helps to get communities healthier and happier so it’s only natural that people are feeling excited about having an event that they can join near them
Lastly, we are getting better at launching events. Back in August 2016, we didn’t really know how big the challenge of starting and maintaining events in Canada would be. Issues such as having enough volunteers, the weather, financials, permits and legal aspects were all unknowns. Having almost 3 years to draw experience and improve processes has helped us a lot. Some challenges remain, but as we have had the time to recognise, measure and develop plans it makes much easier to deal with them.
- Our outreach team is strong! Headed and formed by Becky Maybury, our team of comms ambassadors are reaching out and sharing some of the best stories going at our events.
- Our event kit sourcing is much more streamlined. When we started we would source our equipment from multiple vendors making the process fragmented and inefficient. It used to be quite a process but now we collaborate with other countries to leverage large purchases making costs cheaper, and making logistics simpler by pulling stock from one central warehouse.
- The ‘Virtual Volunteer’ app helps streamline our results processing. No longer do we need special IT equipment and almost any modern device that has a web browser can process results.
- Saucony has been helping enormously making larger projects possible and allowing us to say ‘yes’ to new events much more frequently than we used to!
- We have an ambassador support network to help new events establish themselves and existing events get the support they need. Our team of 10 de-centralizes that support role and allows events to get quality and local support.
In the pipeline are more events, and existing events that have increased capacity to cope with more runners. As more people attend events, the volunteer teams adapt and develop systems to deal with the higher numbers, and having more attendees allows for a greater pool of potential volunteers.
You can help us out with our expansion by telling your friends and volunteer if you would like to.
I hope you enjoyed this mini-update, and I hope to see you at a parkrun soon!. I like talking operations so when you see me please don’t hold back on the detailed questions!
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