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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.

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