I put my name down as a volunteer two weeks ago, but Lancaster parkrun, along with loads of others was cancelled due to ice and snow. This weekend was therefore my first time as volunteer. The founder of the first parkrun, Paul Sinton-Hewitt, once suggested that it would be nice if everyone volunteered at least three times a year, but that it was fine if you didn’t. At Lancaster, and at most parkruns, there will be people who never volunteer and people who only volunteer. I definitely fall into the former category.
This Saturday I was down to help set up, so I was there at 8am. This wasn’t popular with our dog, as she wanted to come with me, although she did do parkrun with my wife a bit later. There wasn’t too much to do with setting up, and people not down on the volunteer roster arrived to help out as well. In the end there were over 30 volunteers, so after setting up there wasn’t too much for me to do except cheer people on.
I really enjoyed it as I got to chat with more people and also to see the whole event, from the lead runner making it look easy and not out of breath, to the finish line sprinters, the joggers, the children and the first timers. I stayed right to the end and cheered on the last finishers before the tail walker came in.
I love how inclusive parkrun is and it doesn’t matter in the slightest how long it takes. A 60 minute 5k is just as far as a 19 minute 5k.
I probably won’t be volunteering next week as it is a takeover week by Morecambe parkrun, which is due to start up in a couple of months. I’m really looking forward to there being another parkrun in the area, and one that I could on a good day run to.
I would definitely recommend that everyone should volunteer at their local parkrun at least once.