Parkrun volunteering 9

I’d decided that once I had run fifty parkruns, I’d do some volunteering. I’ve done it before – I’ve collected the roles of being a marshal, pre-event set-up and other. The last two were for helping spread wood chips and pine needles along the drove to help with the mud and for helping cut back a fallen tree that was blocking the drove. I like that one of these was labelled ‘other’: it sounds mysterious.

When I signed up at the end of my fiftieth parkrun, all the marshal slots were taken. I didn’t know what to pick instead, so I asked for something easy. Finish tokens was the answer.

The finish tokens are numbered from one to many, and have a barcode. When each participant gets to the end of the finish tunnel, they’re given a token, and they take it to be scanned along with their personal barcode. This gives the order of completion, and allows the times recorded by the timekeepers to be assigned to the participants to give the final results.

The tokens have a hole in the corner, allowing them to be kept in numerical order on a shoe lace. I worried about dropping them, but my volunteering-at-parkrun friend said to wrap the lace around my finger so that most of the tokens are below my finger with a few above it for easy access. Top tip. I did that, and it worked.

I think that in normal times, I’d have to sort out the used tokens when everyone had finished, but because of Covid, they have to sit for three days to decontaminate.

It’s a good role to do because you see everyone finish, which is the best part of any run, and you can congratulate them for finishing. I’ve signed up for finish tokens again next week.

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