parkrun Volunteering
Tourist Running Guy's Report

These days, in the training programme of everyone who is planning to crawl round a 13.1 miles of an otherwise unvisited city and call it a 'race', there has to be at least the occasional parkrun.

And all those in the parkrun world know that parkruns need volunteers. That is why they are free, fun and just about everywhere you go.

For those of us with a particular attitude to this running lark, one that seeks out even the feeblest of feeble excuses to not run, parkrun volunteering is a bit of a Godsend.

It is your duty to do it and the more often you do it the greater the parkrun brownie points. I have an additional reason to volunteer. For reasons that can only really be explained by my anal retentive inner being, I have decided to only run each parkrun once. I have now reached 39 different parkruns.

A recent trip to the Isle of Wight, where there is only one parkrun, Medina, Newport, I. O. W. which I have already done, admittedly on the alternative course thanks to the Isle Wight Festival, left me with no option but to reach for the volunteering excuse not to run, and put back my Rock 'n Roll half training by another weekend.

When I ran Medina, Newport, I. O. W. a couple of summers ago, it was by the Solent, in glorious sunshine, with a loads of smiling happy runners probably all on holiday.

The conditions for my volunteering session at Medina, Newport, I. O. W. parkun, could not have been more different. It was inland at Medina Park. It was winter. Raining. Not a sun kissed beach in sight. Might as well have been in Bulwell, Nottingham. With a thin line of long faced volunteers in long winter coats skulking under a slate grey sky. And a not so thin layer of mud adorning the paths and making my feet wet just finding the start line and the volunteer co-ordinator.

"Hello, I emailed about volunteering."

A blank look.

"I was told I'd be marshalling"

Another blank look.

"I got the email on Wednesday."

The first hint that I might be speaking the same language. "You must have emailed Newport."

"I did."

"Newport. In South Wales."

It was my turn to offer a blank look.

"It happens all the time. There are two Newport parkruns. This one is the Isle of Wight."

The Rock 'n Roll Half

 Guy will by running ... in the loosest sense of the word ... the 13.1 gruelling miles of Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon around Liverpool on 20th May.

It's all to Raise funds for the Get Involved Project.
Engaging young people with special support needs in the production of the Oh My Nottz online magazine.

Don't let it be in vain!

donate here

I resisted the temptation to say, 'I know. The ferry was a bit of a give away.' And I held off arguing the point that I used the map on the parkrun website and clicked very much on the bubble that lingered next to the Isle of Wight, which was some considerable distance from any of the bubbles lingering over South Wales.

There was a long silence while I wasn't saying any of this.

"Well, I'm here to volunteer."


I followed the directions, musing as I went at how poor human systems are, even with the addition of technology. I had sent the email. Got the reply. And still I wasn't expected!

I found my position. A muddy puddle on the muddiest corner of the course, by a marker that told everyone very clearly where to go.

My only purpose, it would seem, was to clap people round, let the rain run down the back of my neck, reflect on my incompetence at not having the decency to let this branch of the parkrun family know I was coming, say to myself a thousand time, 'must do better' and to bring the marker back to the start point when the last runner had gone by.

I shrugged my shoulders, cursed the general ineptitude of people, consoled myself with the knowledge that I was right, did my duty and then skulked off back to my poorly internet served hotel room.

It was Monday before I got the chance to check my emails and prove just how right I was.

I had sent the email. I had got a clear replay saying that I would be marshalling. It was not from Newport, parkrun, South Wales.

Neither was it from Newport, I. O. W. parkrun.

It was from Southsea, parkrun, Southhampton.

The other side of the Solent.

It would seem that I had clicked a bubble on the map 'near' the Isle of Wight. Just not the bubble 'over' the Isle of Wight.

Strangely, I still got a volunteer credit ... from Southsea.

Ah, the ineptitude of humanity!

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