In celebration of National Volunteering Week, 16-22 May, we hear from Margaret, who tells us how she first began volunteering at parkrun.
We started parkrun in June 2018 as a way to get our sedentary family up and moving. We were very, very nervous on that first Saturday morning but the welcome we received from the other participants and the volunteers put us at ease right away.
Our first parkrun was tough and slow but it wasn’t long before we were knocking seconds off here and there and looking forward every Saturday to receiving our results to see how we’d done. We were hooked on parkrun. Then it dawned on us that none of this would be happening without the dedicated volunteers timekeeping and scanning and marshalling, not to mention the unseen work done by volunteers we don’t even see on a Saturday morning.
So we put our names down to volunteer. We were just as nervous on that first Saturday volunteering as we had been at our first parkrun but we needn’t have worried. The support and help we got from the other volunteers meant that it all went without a hitch. We were delighted to have joined the ranks of the parkrun hi-viz heroes!
I definitely feel that volunteering is a crucial part of the parkrun experience. For a start, you get the chance to see how the whole thing works and the effort that goes into staging a parkrun. It’s quite different when you’re in the “belly of the beast” so to speak – you see parkrun from a whole different perspective. You get to learn new skills and find new talents that you never knew you had.
But the best thing about volunteering, as with all things parkrun, is the people. As a volunteer you get to know your fellow parkrunners much better – you become part of the parkrun family. Most volunteer roles allow the opportunity for a bit of a chinwag and a catch-up.
At our local parkrun the Tailwalkers have become known as the Tail-talkers. You also get to become part of the trials and tribulations of your fellow parkrunners – you see the small victories, hard won, and how much it means to people. You witness the friendly rivalries, the parkrunners encouraging parkrunners, just the best that humanity has to offer on a Saturday morning.
From a personal point of view the friendships I have made since volunteering at parkrun mean so much to me. During the dark days of the pandemic when we were separated from everything familiar by lockdowns and restrictions, the camaraderie, and support, and humour in our wee Volunteer Group Chat buoyed me up and kept me going through some very tough times.
So if you take part in parkrun but haven’t volunteered yet can I recommend that you seize the nettle and just do it. Don’t be anxious or worried that you can’t do it – there really are roles to suit everyone. And in my opinion, until you’ve volunteered, you haven’t felt the full power of the warm embrace of your parkrun family. Hi-viz heroes rock!
In this week’s people of parkrun entry, we hear from Bosco Reid from Buncrana parkrun. He gives us his advice to anyone who hasn’t been to parkrun before and tells us what he loves about parkrun! Name: Bosco Reid Occupation: Osteopath Local parkrun: Buncrana in Co Donegal How did you get involved in parkrun? Following a…
Volunteering has always been one of the cornerstones and great success stories of parkrun. But the way that we view the involvement of those who volunteer has evolved significantly. In Ireland, the volunteers clock up a staggering 78,000 instances of volunteering between them every year. These participants proudly wear the parkrun hi-vis and, in…