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Thursday, 18 August 2011

parkrun run and volunteer on the same day

Well it is not something I had ever given any thought to previously, but last Saturday I both ran and volunteered at Coventry parkrun on the same day.

"Well how can that be possible" I hear you cry!

I'll start by saying that it was just a spur of the moment thing. I had listened to Coventry parkrun Race Director Jason Douglas's pre-race welcome speech and heard him mention that volunteers are needed each week, but hadn't realised just how short we actually were on this occasion.

Being my first comeback parkrun for over 2 months (out with injury) I was absolutely delighted to have gotten round in one piece without any obvious signs of injury. The fact it was one of my worst times was irrelevant as my finish time of 21:03 was 2 or 3 minutes quicker than my pre-race target. Safe to say it had gone well and I was very happy to say the least.

As I approached the barcode scanning table I immediately realised that Jason was on his own. Normally the race director would not be needed for this task, with sufficient volunteers to cover this activity with 2 people leaving the Race Director to "do his stuff". After having my barcodes scanned I offered my help, which was quickly accepted.

A few moments later I had the second barcode scanning table up and running and the queues very quickly diminishing.

Now, I am not writing this post to "big-up myself", although I was pleased with myself for doing it.

I suppose I am trying to highlight the fact that we all need to remember to volunteer occasionally, especially during the holiday season, to ensure that we always have a parkrun on a Saturday morning for the benefit of all of us. Without the volunteers we have no parkrun. It doesn't take much to offer yourself up as a volunteer 3 or 4 times a year, and that really is all it takes to make sure we have a well run and well marshaled event each week.

This also demonstrates that it is possible to both run and volunteer on the same day. If you are an early finisher, you can do the barcode scanning after the finish, take photographs, help with the clear up or write the post race report, as Sarj has shown so many times after taking part himself. I am sure that if you are a mid-field runner and aren't too bothered about your time one week, you could also find a spot to take photos of runners on their first lap, before heading off on the parkrun yourself.

What I hope any parkrunner reading this post takes away, is that we all depend on volunteers for our weekly parkrun, so please volunteer as often as you can. And there are ways to run and volunteer on the same day, so perhaps give that some thought too. Any way that you can give a little back will be appreciated by all your fellow parkrunners and hopefully they will do the same for you another week.

Monday, 8 August 2011

parkrun comeback this week or next?

It's been the best part of 2 months since my last parkrun and with only 1 parkrun in the last 3 months I can't begin to explain how much I have missed taking part. Admittedly I have managed to keep my hand in by volunteering a few times, but enjoyable as that is I think we all know that that isn't quite the same.

My physio finally told me that his work was done last Wednesday and freed me to start running again. This was very welcome news.

So I finally got back to running (well jogging really) last week. It started with a 1.5 mile jog at 10 minute mile pace on Wednesday and ended with a huge 2.5 mile run at close to 8 minute mile pace on Friday. I haven't been able to fit in a run since but at least I have started again.

After such a long time injured I am in no rush to injure myself again and will be taking all the time I need to build up slowly. I even had my trainers on this evening, and after my now customary careful test jog around the garden, common sense won the day. My calf didn't feel quite right so I didn't run. I am never that sensible!

With a bit of luck it may feel good enough to allow me a short run tomorrow evening and perhaps again later in the week. What I would love to do is make it to the start line at parkrun this weekend. Fingers crossed I can manage that without risking injury.

If I do make it to parkrun this weekend I think I can guarantee my slowest ever time, but simply being back around my parkrun friends will be enough for me for now. However, give me a few injury free weeks and I'm sure that will soon change. Lets hope I get that far into my recovery wqithout a relapse to see what happens!

parkrun I still miss you, but hopefully I'll be back soon.