Thursday, 24 January 2013

parkrun Volunteering made simple....the Barcode Operator

Barcode Operator (also know as Registration)

So the parkrunners have turned up with thair barcodes and run their parkrun. The Timekeeper has started the timing device and recorded times for each finish position. The Numbers role has handed out the finish position tokens in turn.

Now, if all goes to plan, the parkrunners will make their way to the results registration desk, where the Barcode Operator role will be carried out. This role is the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle to link runners, finish positions and finish times together ready for results processing.

Depending on the size of the parkrun event there may be more than one person in the barcode scanning role (at Coventry parkrun we typically have 3). When there are more than one Barcode Operator, any runner can go to any Barcode Operator without causing problems.

The Barcode Operator role will take both an athlete barcode (the personal barcode that each runner brings with them to each event) and the finish position token. The Barcode Operator should only scan where both of these barcodes are available. Where a runner has forgotten their own personal athlete barcode, their position cannot be properly recorded. The premice being "No barcode, no result!". However, it is fine to remind these runners of their finish position and tell them to look at that position in the results to get their time.

To scan a barcode, the button on the barcode scanner should be pressed (causing the red scanning laser to come on) and held until the scanner beeps and the red scanning laser switches off. The brightest of sunny conditions can interfere with the scanners and in these conditions it is wise to shelter from direct sunlight.

Where an event has multiple Barcode Operators, it is wise to position them a little way away from each other so that each can hear the beep of their own scanner, without being confused by any others.
The athlete barcode should always be scanned before the finish position barcode. The athlete barcode should be handed back to the parkrunner for  reuse on subsequent weeks. The finish position token should be kept. There will usually be a container to put these into.

Some athlete barcodes do not scan properly, the paper may be damp or creased or the ink may have run. In this case, neither barcode should be scanned and the runner should be sent with both barcodes to the Results Adminstrator who will note down the athlete barcode number, the runner's name and their finish position.

The Barcode Operator role can get quite busy shortly after the most common finish times and at the larger parkrun events. But there is very little pressure on the Barcode Operator as there is no real great rush to scan the barcodes. Most parkrunners are happy to chat to other runners whilst waiting in the queue.

I hope this has helped to convince you that this role is not difficult and hopefully you will be happy to volunteer for this role at you home parkrun event some time soon.

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