Sunday, 12 February 2012

Volunteering - A different view of parkrun

Yesterday I volunteered at my local parkrun, Coventry. Having completed 8 runs and 6 PBs I decided the time was right to give something back to the organisation that has put a stop to lazy, unproductive Saturday mornings in bed.
I also managed to rope my son in as well. As a fairly typical 16 year old he rarely sees Saturday mornings, but he wanted to go shopping in Coventry and I wasn't prepared to make the same journey there twice. The promise of a sausage and bacon sandwich for his efforts sealed the deal!
I was actually more nervous about voluntering that running my first parkrun. I didn't want to mess up. Every runner relies on the volunteers. We arrived in good time, collected our high fashion ;), high visability jackets and took our place by the golf pavillion.

It was cold. Really cold. It was not possible to have too many layers.

To begin with we just stood there, waiting. I felt a bit left out of the now-familiar-briefing. We couldn't see the the start line. We had no indication of whether it had started. Time to soak up the beauty of the War Memorial Park on a frosty morning and watch the British military fitness groups being put through their paces. Then through the trees we saw a moving pair of orange socks, closely followed by other moving figures. And then they came. Our position at the bottom of a long stretch of downhill course gave us an amazing view of the front runners - people I never normally see at the back! For the next 30 minutes there was a steady stream of runners, joggers and walkers. The front runner lapped those at the back but the determination on the faces of all was the same - all working hard towards the same goal, reaching that finishing line.

So many runners, despite putting all thier effort and energy into the best time possible spared the breath to say thank you to us as we did our job. Some even added a raised hand of acknowledgement. This meant so much to us and made us feel more included in the parkrun experience.

Afterwards sausage sandwiches and hot chocloate finished off a most enjoyable and rewarding parkrun. I can't wait to volunteer again. I have even more respect and thanks for those who do, some every week without running themselves.

parkrun asks everyone to volunteer 3 times a year. It counts as a run so the only thing you lose is the chance for a PB that week. What you gain from doing it feels better than any PB. What are you waiting for?

1 comment:

  1. Another brilliant post thank you Alison.

    Volunteering may not be quite as good as a PB, but there is still a certain buzz from being involved and allowing others to enjoy their run.


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