Recently, Crissy Field parkrun posted the following on its Facebook page:
“Special thanks to Dale Rose. This week he volunteered for the 150th time at Crissy Field. Almost everyone who has run has been welcomed, briefed, timed and photographed by Dale. Thanks!”
We found out more about the man who is the welcoming face of parkrun USA for thousands of locals and visitors.
There were many comments in response, from those who are Crissy Field regulars …
I was at the first ever Crissy Field parkrun, where I met Dale, and then the second one we had just 12 runners and Dale volunteered. He’s been responsible (with a group of other dedicated volunteers) for growing it and whenever I can make it there and bring friends or family it’s always a great welcome. Thanks Dale! - David Haimes
Congratulations and thanks so much for running the show with your boundless energy! Hip hip hooray! - Tricia Wallace
Dale is a parkrun legend, thank you. – Andrew Reynolds
…and international visitors …
I met Dale in October 2016 and he was genuinely lovely and gave us great tourist advice! Congratulations on your volunteering milestone, Dale! You made our trip special! - Scotland visitor Michaela Sullivan
I met Dale on both of my Crissy Fields parkruns … always a great welcome from him and all the regular runners. He even remembered me the second time there. My favourite ‘Tourist parkrun’…looking forward to the next one! - UK visitor Nicola Morris
We were made to feel like we were at home when we came over and were lucky enough to join at Crissy Field. Thank you so much. – Tess Tesseyman
We visited in May 2015 and had a lovely post-run breakfast and chat thanks to Dale. A very fond parkrun memory! -Katie Tween
And those who have not run (my husband while he waited for me) have been kept company by Dale. Congratulations. That’s an absolutely amazing achievement. Thank you so much for making parkrun happen 150 times! – Lynne St Aubyn
Dale has clearly left a strong impression on many parkrunners, both locals or tourists. We decided to find out more about Dale from some of the parkrunners who know him best.
Max Metcalf is event director of Crissy Field parkrun, and he was the run director at the very first Crissy Field parkrun when it started in January 2015. He shared:
“We were short on volunteers and I could barely manage the timing and token system for the 22 runners who showed up on that first day. My plan was to see how long I could keep the event going. I travel quite a bit, and so I knew there would be some weeks where I couldn’t be there. I didn’t have much of a plan. At that time, Dale was a regular at another weekly run in San Francisco. One week, over a post-run beer, I mentioned that I was trying to start a parkrun on Crissy Field. I said that I might need volunteers, and he seemed interested and said he might show up that Saturday. He showed up, and from that day onward he was always present at parkrun and he has been the run director for the vast majority of our runs. He has immense enthusiasm for greeting visitors and he wants everybody to enjoy parkrun and the city of San Francisco. Crissy Field parkrun would not exist if it wasn’t for Dale.”
Jo and Philip Gadd are Crissy Field parkrun regulars and they know Dale well from the early days, too. Jo remembers how he often seems to manage the entire event himself. “Soup to nuts: setup, greeting, briefing, photography, timing, barcode distribution, then scanning at the end … uploading and correcting results, uploading the photos … he is so calm and efficient. On the odd occasion when he had the nerve to go on holiday, he would have to be replaced by a veritable army of volunteers!”
Dale is sorely missed on the rare occasion when he’s not at parkrun. A description of an online photo album from two years ago reads: “We survived without Dale, just!”
In the one instance where Crissy Field parkrun had to cancel due to another event in the park, Dale still went to the park in case some visitors did not get the notice, and he took souvenir photos of them anyway. Jo said “Dale is unfailingly good humored and he is never perturbed by the many competing events we have to work around in Crissy Field.”
Of course, now there’s a much broader team of volunteers in place to support the event, but Dale’s role is still just as important. Now he has more time to welcome and chat with everyone before and after the event. Philip admires how he finds out where everyone is from, and how he remembers all the celebratory events to call out in the run briefing.
Andrew Stanley-Jones also commented on Dale’s welcome at parkrun; “He talks to EVERYONE before parkrun, finds out where they are from, takes their picture, and welcomes them during the briefing. It doesn’t matter if they are local or tourists, he introduces himself and makes them feel welcome.”
He added, “He’s always there helping out and he never complains. Rain or shine, fog or wind, he’s setting up signs, replacing tokens, he makes Crissy Field go around.”
Finally, we asked Andrew to share a thought about what stands out in his mind about volunteering with Dale, to which he replied, “Each week he doesn’t want a donut at first …. but eventually yields.”
Dale, we hope you enjoyed a celebratory donut to mark the 150 volunteer occasion! Thank you for all you do for Crissy Field parkrun and the greater parkrun community.
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