In this edition of the newsletter we focus on one particular volunteer role: the Tail Runner. This is the person you see in the photographs with a hi-vis vest on, at the back of the field, taking the title of ‘last parkrunner’ at each run.
The tail runner’s duty job description is easy to explain, and very little pre-event training is required. The one thing this role requires is for the volunteer to be last person to cross the finish line, and be the last person throughout the event. Our parkrun training guide puts it:
“The primary role of the Tail Runner is to ensure that no parkrunners are left out on the course before the timing systems are shut down.
The secondary role of Tail Runner is to inform Marshals and other volunteers on the course when the last parkrunner has passed and that they can stand down (or move on to other positions if relevant).”
So, in theory it’s an easy role, but still a very important onee! For one, and particularly on more complex parkrun courses, it’s a useful tool for the run director to know how the run is progressing, and when everyone will likely finish. When the tail runner passes the finish line, it gives the go-ahead to pack away the equipment and head off to the coffee shop.
It’s a very popular role, as Richmond Olympic parkrun (Canada) event director Becky Maybury puts it “It’s a sneaky volunteer position, because it’s one where you get kudos for volunteering, and you get to run as well!” Those looking to get the Volunteer 25 t-shirt take note! It’s also a great way for runners who are recovering from injury to still come out and take part in their local community event.
parkrun is as much a walking event is it is a running event, so in many events around the world the Tail Runner is actually walking. There is no time limit to parkrun, and the Tail Runner is there to encourage you along.
One of parkrun’s special traditions is to have an “extra” day each year, varied by country. In Canada, it’s Canada Day… In the UK it’s Christmas Day… And in the USA – it’s Thanksgiving Day! One of the biggest days for running in the year, 18 parkruns held turkey day events this week for a…
Each year, parkruns around the world celebrate one ‘special day’, where they can hold an additional parkrun outside of the usual Saturday morning. The United States are about to celebrate Thanksgiving, and with it their special parkrunday. Join us as we take a look at the tradition. For much of United States history,…