Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Core team, diggers and an alternate route

Coventry parkrun has been very lucky to have been run from concept until now (over 3 years later), by our amazing Event Director, Jason Douglas.

The dedication required for one person to start up and then to keep a parkrun event going should not be unbderestimated. Recently the core team principle, used by many other parkrun events (to share the administrative load), was proposed to the volunteer group at Coventry parkrun.

As a result I believe that we now have two full core teams in place. In case you don't know how this concept works, the idea is that a core team consists of 4 people and these people take responsibility for one parkrun every few weeks and take on four of the main volunteer roles. Those being, Run Director (plus results upload), Timer, Numbers and Registration.

I was brave/foolish/drunk enough at the time of reading that first email request, to gather a few friends and put our names forward as a core team. Last weekend saw our first outing and the first of any core team outing at Coventry parkrun, with me as Run Director for my second time. And what a weekend to pick!

It turned out that Coventry City Council had planned to start some major path resurfacing works in the park, on a section of the parkrun route normally used in both directions twice per parkrun. Oh and they started it just the day before parkrun, on Friday.

Now this is great news long term as it means we will have some fantastic, smooth, flat tarmac surfaces to run on in a few weeks time, but for a core team on their first outing, and with me as Run Director for only the 2nd time, this was an extra challenge that I would not have wished for. But so be it!

So where there were supposed to be parkrunners there were now diggers! An alternative route was required and with a little help from our amazing Event Director a new route was concieved on parkrun eve.

Funnilly enough, parkrun eve also saw 4 of us, our Event Director and 3 of the core team, each take our own separate look at the works and a tour of the park to ensure that the proposed route was clear and long enough. Now that's parkrun dedication for you.

My Run Director introduction speech was a little longer (and ever so slightly more confusing) than usual, with many exclaiming that they were mentally "lost" by the time I had explained turns 6 and 7 (of about 13), but all in all everyone adapted well to the new course and it all seemed to go very smoothly. Thanks of course to all the volunteers out on the course on the day.

I have to say that Saturday was the first time when I have volunteered at parkrun and haven't had the slightest thought of wishing I had been running. I enjoyed Run Directing so much that the thought never entered my mind. I would never have expected that to happen.

Next week the pathway disruption will move to the next section of the park and the headache baton is passed back to our usual Event and Run Director who will no doubt make it all look far more easy than I did.

Even with all the added difficulties I am still very glad that I put our names forward as a new core team. I would encourage every other parkrunner to put their name forward to be a Run Director, part of a core team or take on any other parkrun volunteer position for that matter. All the positions are all far easier and a lot more fun than you might think. Go on, give it a go!

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