Parkrun: volunteering 25

I have joined the twenty-five club for volunteering at parkrun. It would have been next week, if it weren’t for last week’s mix-up. During the briefing, the run director made an announcement about it, and I returned the subsequent round of applause with a (slightly embarrassed) wave. I’ve ordered the purple t-shirt.

Before all that, I saw a lad turn up in a Sunderland top. Naturally, I had to go and talk to him. He’s been living in a neighbouring county for a couple of years, and has been visiting various parkruns. Today, it was our turn. After he’d finished, he told me he enjoyed it – very flat – and that he’d like to come back. It would be good to see him again.

I was giving out the finish tokens, which seems to be my preferred role, so I had to stand at the far end of the finish funnel; it’s a good place to watch people finish from.

Holding the finish tokens – my usual role – wearing a 25th-time volunteering sash.
By Peter Vasey.

Our first finisher today was a lad who’d been here a couple of times before, but never had his barcode with him, so his time was never recorded as per parkrun rules. Today, he did have his barcode with him, and he smashed our male course record by forty-two seconds – and he wasn’t even out of breath. It was a pleasure to watch him run.

Our last finisher, other than the two tail walkers, was an elderly lady. She walks all the way round, chatting to the tail walkers, and is amazing. She got a personal best of just under an hour and ten minutes this morning.

That’s the good thing about parkrun; it doesn’t matter whether you’re fast, slow or somewhere in between: every participant is equally important, and the volunteers are happy to stay as long as it takes.

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