parkrun – That time when 552 runners turned up

parkrun Christmas logo

It’s been a while since I did a parkrun post so I thought I’d tell you about Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve started off really jolly. There were a lot of runners in fancy dress ranging from a simple Santa Hat to full on costumes of elves carrying runners like this one!

christmas parkrun fancy dress

Photo courtesy of Steve Wood

When it started we knew there were more people than normal. I filmed the start and it took 40 seconds to get everyone through rather than the usual 15 seconds, but it never occurred to us just how many people there were or why there were so many. Was it because we’d planned Reindeer pacers for the event starting with Dasher at 19 minutes?

parkrun pacers at lee on solent parkrun

Photo courtesy of Steve Wood

According to the parkrun page our parkrun has an average of 290.4 runners each week. We usually sit around 300-350. I’m going to let you in to a little secret here. We only have enough finish tokens for 500 runners in the box we keep at the finish funnel.

parkrun runners

Photo courtesy of Steve Wood

I’m not even sure that picture does justice of how many people there were!

I knew it was busy as when I was barcode scanning I was asked to move further away from the finish funnel. That doesn’t usually happen. I then got asked to move another 3 metres away from the finish funnel. Apparently the finish funnel was getting so crowded the time keepers were having to move forward as the funnel was full and they couldn’t click the runners coming in to finish.

We were all kept in the festive spirit though by these lovely people playing Christmas Carols!

brass band at lee on solent parkrun

Photo Courtesy of Steve Wood

Then we hit it, the magic 500 and we ran out of tokens! Imagine the panic that filled people. Some clever soul had the idea of writing the finishing numbers on the runners hands. They then went to manual entry and had their details taken that way.  Luckily the runners at Lee on the Solent parkrun are a friendly bunch and straight away we had people offering to help take down people’s details and asking what they could do to help.

Afterwards we had a little time to reflect. Our parkrun is so successful and it’s going from strength to strength. However some lessons had to be learned and so a longer finish funnel and more finish tokens will be ready at the end of the run on New Years Eve. I can’t wait to see how it plays out, especially as I am Run Director. I have excited nerves! And hopefully I won’t have to enter the 52 people by hand that I did last week!

Never been to parkrun? Be sure to find your local and register here. New Year is a great time to start.

Want to read more parkrun posts? They’re all listed below for you

I Am Team GB

Volunteering at parkrun 50 times

parkrun – More than meets the eye

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2 thoughts on “parkrun – That time when 552 runners turned up

  1. Lucy Edwards says:

    Wow amazing turn out! Glad you figured out a solution to running out of tokens. I think there are about 80-100 people at the parkruns I go to, so this sounds huge!

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