On Saturday afternoon we had the test event for the Stokes Bay junior parkrun we have been setting up. You have to have a test event before you’re allowed to start to make sure all your equipment works, the route is suitable and everything falls in to place.
We got there at 4pm ready for a 5pm start. There was one big difference from parkrun in the morning, to the test event in the afternoon. The weather! The wind had gotten up and was really strong making it a very chilly set up. I was on timekeeping for the test event and I will do the same for the inaugural. parkrun ask you to do that so that everyone is practised in their role. I talked through how the timekeeping watch works to Louise, the other timekeeper and also a fellow RD at our new parkrun. She has done some volunteering roles before but never timekeeping.
Soon we had some little runners arriving. They say to invite a small group of runners as it is, after all, just to test the course. We had 27 arrive. They had so much energy and the cold and windy weather didn’t seem to bother them at all. They were all running around, chasing and rolling down the grassy banks before we started and still managed some pretty impressive times!
As 4.55pm arrived Paul, our ED, and first time RD, did his run brief. Then it was on to the warm up. This is one difference between the 5k Saturday parkrun and the Sunday junior parkrun. The juniors have to have a warm up provided. They all joined in which was very cute and then moved to the start line.
The start line of our parkrun is a little way from the finish line, as I knew some of these runners were going to be fast I was worried about getting back to the finish funnel to begin clicking them in but thankfully we made it in time. The children did great and ran with big smiles, a lot of speed and some were chatting and laughing with friends, only getting serious when the finish funnel was in sight! It’s so refreshing how they care very little about time and pace. They just want to run and see their friends.
The first runner (male) passed the line in 8:06. The junior parkrun is 2km rather than 5km. The first female crossed the line in 9.22. What I noticed that surprised me was how many children, once finished, went back to run the rest with their friends. I know a lot of adults do this but it was so nice to see the children being to supportive and encouraging their friends/siblings.
The event went swimmingly. Nothing at all went wrong and it was a complete success. The children really enjoyed it and this shows from some of the feedback we’ve had since. I also chatted to a lady afterwards who had stopped to watch all the children run and asked if her granddaughter could join in next time.
Afterwards we headed off to have some training provided by our ambassador. This was quite quick and we all already volunteer often and a couple of us are already RD’s at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. We were taken through uploading results, what errors may occur, safeguarding, the parkrun does and don’ts and what to do in case of an emergency or tragedy. It was quite interesting and the hour or so it took soon flew by.
I think we’re all good to go now for the 4th June and I for one, can not wait!