It takes time and energy to organize a parkrun each week. Event Directors are “on duty” most weeks – but sometimes, they get to come to parkrun as a runner too! Aneez Kanji from Whitby shares his recent experience.
As an Event Director there are loads of behind-the-scenes activity to ensure Saturday runs like a well-oiled machine. The week is busy ensuring there are volunteers for upcoming events, promoting the run on social media, and helping bring awareness to parkrun where the opportunity exists.
When Saturday arrives, the early mornings are spent checking and setting up the course, coordinating volunteers and ensuring any new participants are welcomed and local course knowledge is shared with them. From time to time I’ll also fit in a run as many regulars are now keen volunteers to.
After the run, we make sure that the results are processed, photos are posted online as well as shared with the local press.
As everyone knows parkrun is a great opportunity to give back to the local community, and make no mistake, I love all of it. But there is something I almost forgot about.
In mid-November, for the first time in what seems like years, I was able to take part in my local Whitby parkrun purely as a runner with no Run Director commitments. With the volunteer filters off, I was reminded what really makes these events great!
I was able to have a sustained chat with a couple of tourists and discovered that one of them now lives in the same small town in England, where I also previously lived. It was great to compare notes about the old place!
Cheering the runners and offering high-fives at the finish area was absolutely splendid!
I was also able to chat with a good friend who I haven’t caught up with in a while and then joined other runners in a post run coffee at the local cafe.
Oh – I also enjoyed the free, timed, strings-free 5km run in the local park!
Thanks again to all the volunteers across Canada and around the world who allow these interactions to occur every week, it was a good reminder as to why they actually do this week in and week out.
By Aneez Kanji, Whitby parkrun Event Director
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