In a seemingly always-on, digital and fast-paced world that often leaves us feeling disconnected, there’s a simple yet powerful way to reconnect with your community and yourself and that’s volunteering at parkrun.
Beyond the super friendly encouragement at the finish lines, volunteering at parkrun offers a range of benefits that go far beyond the act itself.
We take a look at seven brilliant advantages that volunteering brings you, ranging from personal growth to community enrichment:
Volunteering at parkrun gives you a purpose that goes beyond your usual daily routine. It’s an opportunity to experience the wellbeing parkrun offers while contributing to an event that promotes camaraderie, health and inclusivity. This sense of purpose goes beyond the meaning your actions have at parkrun, enriching your life with new found vigour and enthusiasm.
In a world increasingly dominated by digital interactions, volunteering at parkrun facilitates genuine, in-person connections. It’s a chance to engage with diverse people who share a common interest.
The good spirit within the parkrun community creates a sense of belonging, reminding us that we’re part of something greater than our individual selves.
“There is such a feel-good factor about parkrun,” says Mary Fitzsimons, a guide who assists visually impaired people and a regular at Tralee parkrun. “You don’t need to be a super athlete, just do your own thing. It’s perfectly ok to walk, jog, run or volunteer. parkrun is like one big happy family, maybe better!”
parkrun offers a unique platform for honing some of your skills, that might otherwise remain dormant. Whether it’s communication, relationship-building, time management, leadership, or problem-solving, each volunteer role at parkrun presents an opportunity to refine valuable life skills. As you learn to navigate different volunteer roles at parkrun, you discover new sides of your potential.
“It has brought me out of my shell. As a child, I was always the quiet one. parkrun has given me the confidence to share my ideas and my passion for parkrun.”
Siobhan Sheridan, Griffeen parkrun
While volunteering at parkrun might not always involve doing the 5k course yourself, it isn’t without its health perks. Spending time outdoors, being active, and interacting with other parkrunners enhances your physical wellbeing. Not only that but positive interactions and the sense of fulfilment derived from volunteering contribute to improved mental health and overall wellbeing.
“Volunteering has really helped my self-confidence and my mental health overall. It feels great when you hear how parkrun has helped people and it just encourages me even more.”
Sarah McEneaney, Dundalk IT juniors and Dundalk parkrun
parkrun is a testament to the power of community. Being part of the volunteer team, you become an integral player in the collective effort that makes each parkrun event a success. This shared experience leads to further relations in the local community with many alternative topics often discussed over a coffee afterwards.
Volunteering is a great leveller that exposes you to people from all walks of life, each with their own stories and challenges. This exposure nurtures empathy and broadens your perspective, reminding you that everyone has their own challenges. This enhanced understanding can reshape the way you interact with others, promoting kindness and compassion in your daily life.
“Living with Parkinson’s, being active is a major factor in coping with it and helps you keep moving. It stimulates the brain to help the physical disability of dealing with Parkinson’s. As I was volunteering recently, I noticed everyone acknowledging and thanking me for volunteering which told me I was doing some good and it’s such a good feeling.“
Richard Duffy, Oldbridge and Dundalk parkruns
Volunteering is a continuous journey of growth. While stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing new experiences, you will develop a stronger sense of self. The challenges you encounter while volunteering, from coordinating logistics to addressing unforeseen incidents, nurture resilience and your ability to adapt, qualities that will stand to you in many areas of life.
“Volunteering has made me more thoughtful. I love being part of the volunteer team, it shows another side of parkrun and makes you more thankful to have such a great free event.”
Nick Alexander, Bushy parkrun
Volunteering at parkrun isn’t about giving back, it’s about receiving as well. It’s a two-way street where your contributions contribute to a positive event and your own life. Through community connection, developing skills, personal growth and, as we can see from the comments above, sometimes a newfound sense of purpose, volunteering at parkrun proves that it can act as a powerful instrument of self-discovery.”
To volunteer at parkrun, simply join and contact your local parkrun team by email. A list of parkruns in Ireland can be viewed on this interactive map.
Click on one near you to find out where the parkrun is located and on each event page, you will find an email address to contact the team. We hope to see you at a parkrun soon as we continue to strive towards a healthier and happier planet.
James Dowling, parkrun Ireland
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