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News - 16th May 2022

Bridget’s story

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To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we hear how Bridget got into volunteering about parkrun and what she loves about it!

 

How did you find out about parkrun?

Back in 2015, a friend had mentioned that a free, weekly, timed 5k walk/run was taking place on Saturday mornings, at 9.30am in Tralee Town Park. Not feeling the love for anything run-related at the time, I gave the idea very little thought. A month or so later I met the same friend, she and some others were discussing their weekly Saturday morning run at the town park and I remember that feeling and thinking “I may be missing out on something good here”. I took myself along to the town park the following week… and that as they say, is that!

 

What made you decide to volunteer?

After a couple of months of running at the town park, I had become familiar and acquainted with some of the regular volunteers, I felt overwhelmed at the thoughts of what would be expected of me if I did volunteer.

 

I approached Siobhan Kearney (our Event Director) and mentioned how I would like to volunteer but was unsure if I would be of any benefit… overthinking is a terrible affliction!

 

The following week I volunteered as a marshal. Needless to say there was very little for me to do but encourage and direct the runners, I met with the other volunteers at the end of parkrun to help tidy away any trace of there having being a run in the park that morning.

 

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Was it what you expected?

Not what I had imagined! I remember feeling so anxious that first morning, I’m not sure what I thought was going to happen in fairness! I felt volunteering took very little effort, so much so that I volunteered a couple of weeks later, and a couple of weeks after that, and a few more after that and then you’re ready for “Run Director”… steady on, remember what I mentioned earlier about overthinking!

 

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How many times have you volunteered now?

Because I enjoy the social side of Saturday mornings at parkrun so much, I now volunteer more than I run, but when I do run the 5k course, I like to do so in a volunteering role as a Guide for one of our Visually Impaired Runners. I get to run and I get to volunteer, win win!

 

As of my latest volunteering date, i ahve volunteered on 79 different occasions at Tralee parkrun. It’s great how the Saturdays over the past seven years have added up.

 

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What do you get out of volunteering personally?

Two things, the first is, I love the fact that parkruns are “organised by the people for the people”.

 

The second, parkruns take place every Saturday morning all around the world in either parks or open spaces, by either volunteering or running, I feel an internal sense of pride in getting to take part in and be a member of a parkrun global running community.

 

What advice would you give to someone thinking of volunteering?

Try not to overthink volunteering, bring yourself along and observe what happens at the start/finish line, ask questions if need be, I have seen volunteers “Shadow” other volunteers just to get a taste of what is involved, and then those same volunteers going on to appear on the parkrun roster for future runs.

 

I promise, the feeling you get from volunteering is far better than the feeling you get if you wished you had volunteered!

 

#loveparkrun

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