Apricot 2
News - 5th May 2022

Endcliffe parkrun enjoy a deaf and hard of hearing takeover!

run director lucy cowell

Last month on Saturday 23 April, Endcliffe parkrun had a very special event – a deaf and hard of hearing parkrun takeover! Over 500 parkrunners attended, many of whom are deaf or hard of hearing.


Lucy Cowell, the Run Director that day is deaf and Lucy was joined by several other volunteers who acted as British Sign Language Interpreters for the morning. Here’s Lucy’s reflections of the day.


I was thrilled to get the opportunity to wear the Run Director hi-vis vest, it was a dream come true. It was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life and it’s made me stronger and given me more confidence. It was great communicating with so many different people I met, many for the first time. I really enjoyed myself and learnt loads of things – volunteering is a great way to develop new skills.




It was fantastic to see so many deaf volunteers who travelled from afar to come to Sheffield. In the weeks before I’ve enjoyed being part of Endcliffe parkrun volunteer team, I have taken on many different roles so that I could understand what was involved before getting to enjoy the role of Run Director. I made sure things went smoothly and I was really proud of how it went.


Signing for the pre-event briefing was a learning curve – I couldn’t believe so many parkrunners were there! I ended up having to get up really high to make sure everyone could see me signing. The best bit was having a go with the loud speaker to say ’3, 2, 1′ and then use my hand to signal ‘go!’ Yep, that was my favourite moment on the start line. Thank you for parkrun, it is my happy place!




Event Director Louise Dale-Hughes worked behind the scenes to support this event. Here are her reflections of the day!


I really really enjoyed the day and I thought it was a huge success. Engaging with the deaf and hard of hearing community was a pleasure and I learnt a lot too which is always a good thing! Today goes to show just how inclusive parkrun is.


adam, deaf volunteer


Shauna Flannigan, who is deaf, also attended the event. Below are her reflections of the morning.


There were deaf marshals and volunteers all using sign language so I could socialise and engage with all the others attending and feel the vibe and the electric atmosphere.


My partner Adam Bassett was there as a volunteer too and he was so excited by the atmosphere. He desperately wanted to join in as the vibe was so positive. He was doing the timing and he said how wonderful it was to feel so included and what a great atmosphere it had been. Adam was so pleased with how well it was coordinated and managed, and he thoroughly enjoyed it.


We wanted to say a huge well done to Lucy Cowell for organising this as it was such an exhilarating experience for us both and we would love to attend another!


We also have Jess and Jon, pictured below, who attended the takeover event. Jess is a BSL interpreter by profession, so she was doing great work facilitating communication. Spot her personalised apricot tee that reads ‘sign language support’! Jon has his BSL Level 2, also wearing his personalised apricot tee!




We also have Heath List who had to have a 6am alarm to make it to Endcliffe on time! Heath was a volunteer in the finish funnel – let’s see Heath’s reflections of the day.


As we approached the park, we started to see people in activewear and as we parked up, the excitement started to kick in. We checked in and were given our hi-vis vests and confirmed our roles – funnel manager for me!




As it turned 8.30am, the crowd of parkrunners suddenly started to swell, lots of curious faces – “what’s happening?”, something a little different today and an excited buzz! Lots of questions and responses of delight when they learned it was a Deaf Takeover event. I lost count of the amount of times I was asked how to sign “thank you”.


It all happened so slickly and in great humour it was a pleasure to be involved.


Soon it was time to pack up, take some photos, then the all important post-parkrun cafe! What a super day!


Although this was Endcliffe parkrun’s first deaf and hard of hearing takeover event, it is not their last! Follow their Facebook page to stay updated on when their next takeover event will be.


If you or someone you know is deaf or hard of hearing, you can watch our BSL guide to parkrun and our BSL glossary of parkrun over on our YouTube channel! Every parkrun now also has the option of a designated sign language volunteer role to do the first timer and pre-event briefing.


on the left Richard CROSK and on the right John HOLDEN, two deaf volunteers



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