695,890 people across the world know how wonderful it can be to volunteer at parkrun.
Getting some fresh air and vitamin D, meeting new people, being with family and friends, getting active, problem solving, team building, and gaining life skills are just a few examples of why volunteering comes with incredible physical and mental health benefits.
A common myth about volunteering at parkrun is that you need experience before you can join, but no matter your experience, skills or knowledge, everyone is welcome to volunteer at parkrun. That includes people of all ages and abilities, from any background too!
You can also choose how often you volunteer and base it around your weekend plans – there is no commitment. Some people have volunteered once, others a handful of times, and some people volunteer every week. It’s totally up to you.
Another common myth about volunteering at parkrun is that some people think you have to have walked, jogged or run at parkrun before you can volunteer. This is not the case! We always welcome new people. If you’re not sure about volunteering, why not head down to the event and spectate to see what it’s all about?
If you know in advance that you’d like to volunteer, please email your local event team and they will be in touch, or talk to the friendly volunteers at an event.
There are a wide range of roles to choose from at parkrun, including marshalling, handing out tokens, tail walking or run directing. You can find a full list of the roles here.
Not sure of your weekend plans and don’t want to commit in advance? Just turn up on the day and talk to the volunteers when you arrive – we can never have too many volunteers!
If you have registered for parkrun, you can sign up to receive volunteering emails via your parkrun profile, which you can find here. If you’ve not yet registered for parkrun, please register here and remember you don’t need to register separately for volunteering if you’ve already registered! With your parkrun profile, you can keep track of your parkrun progress as you work towards the various milestones.
Another great thing about volunteering at parkrun is that it’s the perfect family affair. The roles are designed to be simple, meaning they’re suitable for children.
Some tasks can take as little as five minutes and others might take longer – it depends on the role. You can even combine some roles with walking or running the course too and grab yourself two credits in one day.
If you have a preference for what role you’d like to do, please let the local event team know and they can try and accommodate you.
Every time you volunteer, you get one step closer to an official parkrun milestone, which rewards those who have volunteered 10 (if under 18), 25, 50, 100, 250 or 500 times. An icon signifying your achievement appears next to your name on our website, and you can also snap up a milestone tee to celebrate.
There are currently 57 people in the 500 volunteer milestone club. Collectively, they have covered 32,530 days of volunteering, carrying out 28 unique roles. In total, they have covered 1,206 unique parkrun days.
The top five roles completed en route are volunteer co-ordinator coming in at a whopping 7,060 times, pre-event set up 7,014 times, run directing 6,262 times, marshalling 5,613 times and processing results 5,562 times.
This week, we’re celebrating those that are in the 500 volunteer milestone club. We asked them all about their parkrun journey so far, how they got started, and what advice they’d give to others. Here’s what they had to say…
How and why did you first get involved with parkrun?
“My husband heard about parkrun on Marathon Talk and Googled it. We went along, loved it and we knew it was going to be something special! We volunteered at event number five and are still there over 11 years later.” – Helen Hood
“Following the death of someone very close to me of cancer, I’d done a race for life, and signed up to run a marathon to raise money for cancer research. I joined a running club, where I met Chris Phelan. He mentioned parkrun, and I went along.” – Nicki Clark
Why do you love volunteering?
“It gives me a sense of contribution and satisfaction that is difficult to beat.” – Damian Brooks
“There is something very special about volunteering with parkrun. It’s an absolute joy to be a small part of such a positive and wholly inclusive community event. My Ambassador role also brings great satisfaction when working with teams to establish new parkruns and spread the positivity of parkrun participation.” – Karen Barnard
“The pleasure of meeting people from all walks of life.” – Alan Guy
“Knowing that a hundred odd people are able to take part in something potentially life-changing because of an hour or two of my time is a really good feeling.” – Nicki Clark
“The sense of community it brings.” – Jo Frazer-Wise
How has volunteering at parkrun benefitted you?
“It gave me a sense of belonging. Well-being rubs off, and parkrun is jam packed full of it!” – Damian Brooks
“Volunteering puts you in the right frame of mind for the week ahead and that helps massively with my mental health.” – Rory Marriott
“It helped me to build confidence.” – Alethia Reid
“I get a burst of pride.” – Chris Harbord
“I’ve made lots of new friends, learnt lots of skills and built up my confidence. I look forward to Saturdays and come home feeling good after having helped out.” – Gill Stalley
“I feel valued.” – David Harpin
Who have you met along the way?
“So many wonderful people, and a few that are sadly no longer with us but always in my heart.” – Helen Hood
“I’ve made firm friends with some of the funniest, kindest, most generous and in some cases bravest people you could ever wish to meet.” – Damian Brooks
Which volunteer role is your favourite and why?
“I love timekeeping – using the app makes it so simple and cheering people on at the finish line feels great!” – David Duggan
“First timers welcome, because I enjoy seeing newcomers starting what I hope will be a long and happy journey with parkrun!” – Gareth Jones
“Setting up the course. It is always enjoyable to do this task with others and I always try to think of ways of improving the course.” - Edwin Bartlett
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about volunteering at parkrun?
“After a couple of weeks I promise you’ll wonder why you hadn’t joined in sooner.” – Damian Brooks
“Do it! You won’t regret it! Beware, however, as that small snowball of participation could easily become a (very positive) avalanche.” Karen Barnard
“Just do it!” – Paul Tremere
When we asked the 500 club members to describe volunteering at parkrun in three words, these were the most common words used.
So, if you fancy getting involved in something that’s fulfilling, enriching, inspiring, and most of all, enjoyable, why not give volunteering a go?
See you next week!
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Broken Hill Racecourse parkrun in outback Australia is more than 300 kilometres from its closest parkrun. Maria Kelly, who has volunteered as a course marshal 58 times, explains why spending her Saturday mornings cheering parkrunners through the desert, while being surrounded by native wildlife is a highlight of her week. I’m a 54-year-old woman…