This weekend I was supposed to be partaking in a 6 hour race where you can run as many laps as you like in those 6 hours. However, being under trained and ill in the week leading up to it I decided to give it a miss. I had however signed up to volunteer at parkrun on the Saturday as it was supposed to be the race on the Sunday.
I’d been keeping an eye on the weather and it was supposed to be rainy and windy, luckily on Saturday morning it was actually just grey, a little drizzly and breezy. I wore my waterproof coat just in case though.
I got down to where the volunteers assemble and collected my barcode scanner and hi-viz. I chatted with various people including Anna who this week discovered a picture taken during the very first London Marathon of her Dad running over Tower Bridge. Neither of them had ever seen it before but Runners World shared it on their Instagram. Her Dad ran his Marathon PB in that race of 2hr 31m. Incredible!
I forgot how much I love barcode scanning. I like being able to greet people and have a very brief chat about their run. The amount of people who say it was a bad run is astounding, but to each of them I said “Hey you just ran 5K, now you get to go and relax and enjoy your weekend” No Negative Nellies round here!
One person thanked me “for always being so kind” which absolutely made my day. It’s always nice to feel appreciated.
When I got home and received my email to thank me for volunteering I realised it was my 180th time volunteering for parkrun. That’s made up of a mix of both parkrun and junior parkrun. I wanted to get to 200 by the end of this year but that’s going to be impossible now. I’ll make it a focus in 2020 though.
On Saturday, after my run, I had a quick shower then went down to my local parkrun to volunteer. I was writing down the details of people’s barcodes which wouldn’t scan. Far from an easy job when there are over 550 participants!
I’d positioned myself behind the barcode scanners and cheered everyone as they passed by me, until the finishers started to need me. The 3rd finisher that day finished in 18:07 and was a buggy runner! I had a brief chat with him about running with a buggy and discussed his tactics when it comes to getting the buggy over the shingle section of our parkrun.
I was also collecting the finishing tokens of people who had forgotten their barcodes or who hadn’t registered yet. A lady came and put her finish token in as her friend was exclaiming “I can’t believe you’re not going to get scanned” to which she replied “But it was a rubbish time” Personally I don’t understand that, it’s about getting out there and taking part for me, it’s not about striving for amazing times every time.
I was surprised how many of the wristbands wouldn’t scan. I think I wrote down 4 or 5 wristbands that wouldn’t scan.
A man brought his barcode to me in pieces. He apologised profusely and said his barcode had got sweaty in his pocket and as he tried taking it out it had just ripped. I wrote down his barcode as best I could but one of the rips went right down the centre of a number so it was difficult to tell what number it was.
I chatted to a few people, friends and people whose barcodes I was writing down. There was a lovely lady who’s first it was and she’d absolutely loved it and couldn’t wait to come back. There was another lady who’s first time it was. She’d finished in a time of 21:XX and had really enjoyed it but said she normally had to take the children to some extra curricular events.
I also overheard a conversation where a lady was explaining to a gent (I think they’d met whilst taking part) that fizzy water gives you belly fat and that’s why men have so much of it, because they drink beer and that’s mainly fizzy water. I’m not sure how true that is but the gent was nodding along enthusiastically.
Right at the end two young men came over to me and one said he’d lost his barcode in the sea when he went in to cool down. He asked if I could write down his number as he knew it. I told him the parkrun rule of “No barcode No time” to which he replied “You’re kidding me?! But I brought it with me I’ve just lost it in the sea” I explained again that it’s a parkrun rule and that the moral of this story was to get scanned before going in the sea and losing your barcode” He angrily replied that he just wanted to cool down but I just shrugged and then I think he took the hint that I wasn’t going to write down his number. I told him he could always email in but he said “Oh I’m not THAT bothered” so I said Bye and turned my back on him to carry on chatting to two parkrun friends. What a pain!
Gemma snapped this picture whilst we were chatting
Have you ever volunteered for parkrun?
How do you feel about the “No Barcode No Time” rule?
I feel like I say this at the beginning of every post but how quickly has August flown by? The time really flies as an adult but as a child I remember a week feeling like a life time.
At the beginning of August my friend Susana, who owns her own balloon decor company, sent me a balloon in a box. Balloon in a box is a service she’s thinking of trying where you can send someone a balloon that will be personalised to your requirements. Susana personalised mine just how I like it, a good Walt Disney quote and a bit of Minnie Mouse. This was a such a lovely surprise and over three weeks later it’s still flying! Susana’s website is here if you fancy having a look: Balloon Zest
August has seen our resident fox spending a lot of time in our garden. He’s getting way more confident and has tried to come in to the house when we’ve had the door open in the warm weather. He’s getting a lot closer to us too as though not afraid at all. As a result I’ve managed to snap some good pictures. I’m trying not to become a fox bore on Instagram but it’s difficult when he’s just so cute!
At the beginning of August it was my husband’s Birthday. We went to Weymouth for the day and afterwards drove over to Portland, then on to Portland Bill lighthouse. It was very pretty there and a good chance to see Britain’s rugged coastline.
On 19th August I volunteered at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun for the 100th time. I was the RD for the day and had 100 balloons tied up around the finish funnel. I’ve now volunteered for parkrun including both the Saturday parkrun and the Sunday junior parkruns a total of 112 times.
I’m ready for a bit of a rest now and hopefully concentrate on my own running, if this injury subsides.
August Bank Holiday was lovely and hot. My mum came down for the weekend so we went to the beach and out to eat. The weather was perfect and we had a fun weekend.
Let’s hope September maintains the weather although we’re now coming up to my favourite season, Autumn!
Want to read my other blog posts from August? They’re all here:
On 19th August I volunteered for the 100th time at Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun. I’ve mentioned in previous posts how I got started at parkrun but in case you haven’t read it before, I moved to the South Coast and needed a way to meet new people. It really is as simple as that.
I’ve met a lot of great people at parkrun and now have a lot of friends as a result. I know I can go and always see people I know, have a natter and a laugh and then finish it all off with a coffee.
There are people I’ve become close to, people I’d never have met if it wasn’t for parkrun, and people from all walks of life. I could write a paragraph to each person who has made my life that little bit better by having them in it as a result of meeting them at parkrun but I feel this blog post would become way too long so instead I’m going to share some pictures of me with my parkrun crew.
Starting with a picture of one of the greatest parkruns. It was part of the #IAmTeamGB campaign and parkrun sent us balloons, bunting, tshirts, sweatbands, selfie frames etc. We had fun in the finish funnel.
This is probably one of the first team photos I was in. The volunteers change every week but sometimes people come and go. I haven’t seen some of the people in this photo for a while which is sad but the beauty of parkrun is that the door is always open.
One of my favourite parkrun memories. I was timekeeping when this guy carried his pug, Dexter, over the finish line. Lots of people take their dogs to parkrun, not a lot of people carry them!
Me with Emma and Geoff, I’m wearing the blue and white Run Director vest. parkrun has enabled me to meet people from all walks of life that do interesting jobs and give their own time to help others.
Another picture from the same day with us all squinting in the sunlight! It is occasionally Sunny at Lee-on-the-Solent but if I’m honest the howling wind and rain has had me wet through to my knickers at parkrun more times than I care to remember.
This is a more recent picture of some of the regular volunteers. The lovely Pippa is wearing the RD vest in this picture, another amazing person I’ve benefitted from knowing!
It’s taken two years to reach 100 times volunteering. Here I am as RD at the 2nd anniversary. We had a fancy dress theme and obviously I am Minnie Mouse. I’ve just realised, it looks like I am the only person in fancy dress in this photo! I swear there were others!!
As well as volunteering at parkrun I’ve now started completing them too. I’m lucky enough to have had people complete them with me. They’re willing to give up their chance of a PB or decent run to accompany me on a slow plod. The photo below is Louise and I. Louise walked with me and gave me great encouragement. I’m truly grateful.
Now a couple of pictures from the morning of my 100th time. I wore my “uniform”, my apricot parkrun t-shirt personalised with my home parkrun Lee-on-the-Solent. The apricot t-shirts are only £27 including personalisation. They’re a great way when you’re doing parkrun tourism to show others where you’re from. In the picture below I’m inputting the results. You can see the lovely card Pearson made for me and the doughnuts and éclairs my friend bought for me to say Happy 100!
I also had balloons that I decorated the finish funnel area with. I started the morning wearing them but after they repeatedly hit me round the head I was ready to pop them! They worked much better on the finish funnel.
And finally the lovely Anna came to Lee. I was very honoured to be asked for a selfie with her! Thanks Anna. Anna writes an amazing running blog that I’ve read for, blimey, probably a few years now! You should check it out.
So what’s next for my parkrun journey. I now really want to concentrate on progressing with my own running at Lee-on-the-Solent and continue my volunteering streak at Stokes Bay junior parkrun. Of course I won’t be able to resist still volunteering at Lee but it won’t be every single week anymore, unless this Achilles injury sticks around!
Are you a fan of parkrun? Why not read my other parkrun posts? These start at the beginning of my parkrun journey.
So I have some news, I’m involved in setting up a Junior parkrun! This is such an exciting time. Last time when I went to volunteer at Waterlooville Junior parkrun which is detailed in this post it was still in the “can we do this” stages. However, we now have funding from the council and it very much has been given the green light!
At the end of February we went over to Eastney Junior parkrun in Portsmouth where I volunteered as a barcode scanner for them. We introduced ourselves to their event director Denyse who was very friendly and helpful. She showed us some of the kit they use, including a rather nifty trolley to carry it all in.
My good friend Maggie, and her husband Paul are going to be the Event Directors of our new Junior parkrun and we’ve set about creating an amazing team. Two of our RD’s to be joined us at Eastney so they could see what the events were like too.
I present the new Junior parkrun team
The event was really good, and well organised. It was bigger than Waterlooville with 68 runners. The fastest boy finished in a rather impressive 08:19 and the fastest girl finished in 08:42. We were all amazed at how speedy the children were. The location was brilliant too. It was held in Bransbury Park in Portsmouth. There are some good facilities in the park and I imagine in the summer the children and parents spend some time in there after parkrun too.
If you want to check out Eastney Junior parkrun then they run every Sunday morning at 10am at Bransbury Park. There is a car park at the opposite end of the park (it’s not too long a walk from the start) or there is on street parking closer by.
Saturday 27th August was #IAmTeamGB day. Team GB, ITV, The National Lottery and parkrun were joining forces to create the Nation’s Biggest Sports Day and we embraced this with open arms at Lee on the Solent parkrun.
I was Run Directing on 27th August and we had a lot going on. We had balloons and bunting on the start line and finish funnel, we had t-shirts to wear and stickers to give out. People were encouraged to wear red white and blue to celebrate the achievements of Team GB which they did and they also brought flags to wave. We really got in to the spirit of things. We also had pacers to help people achieve a new PB ranging from 19-34 minutes. We were also given selfie signs for people to take pictures with and upload them to social media, tagging them #IAmTeamGB
Rob was our 19 minute pacer. Photo courtesy of @lotsparkrun on Instagram
There was a lot to fit in to the Runner’s Brief. I needed to tell people the usual rules as well as letting them know what today was all about, who the pacers were and what the signs were for as well as giving our own social media a plug so our runners knew where to find us. I tried to make it amusing to keep people listening and judging by the amount of compliments I got afterwards I think I achieved this.
The run was great and we had a whopping 364 runners in attendance. This is our 7th highest turn out since we began in July 2015. I received compliments on my briefing, people said how much they had enjoyed the run and lots of people took great selfies and group photographs with the selfie signs. It was a brilliant day all round.
Maggie, Fiona and Dee were kept busy barcode scanning. Photo courtesy of @lotsparkrun on Instagram.
I also got to meet Roger who I have chatted to on Twitter and I also follow his blog IRunOffRoad It was great to meet him and finally put a face to the name. Be sure to check out his blog if you’re local or in to running.
And finally Louise posted this selfie of us all in the finish funnel. I love this picture as it includes some of my favourite parkrun family members.
On Saturday 27th August we were all officially members of Team GB and it felt great! parkrun really is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you want to walk it or if you want to run it as fast as you can. Go and join your local parkrun and I promise you won’t regret it. Not a runner? Then why not volunteer? It’s a great way to meet people and help your community.
On 11th July 2015 I began volunteering at my local parkrun, Lee on the Solent parkrun. I’ve not looked back since. I’ve only missed a couple of opportunities to volunteer due to holidays and needing to make an emergency trip home. Since then I’ve volunteered on special occasions such as Boxing Day and New Year and have loved every minute. The community of friends I now have thanks to parkrun is immense and I love each and every one of them.
On 16th July 2016 I was the Run Director for my 50th time volunteering. The week leading up to my Run Directing didn’t run smoothly. I had two late nights at work, went out with friends and as a result didn’t actually start getting things ready until Thursday evening! Ssshh! Don’t tell our Event Director! To be fair I was pretty stressed this week and it wasn’t until Friday evening that I thought about it being my 50th time. I wished I’d done something to commemorate the experience like bought a 50 banner or badge like people do for the runs but it was too late.
Saturday morning started as normal, I was Run Director, I’d checked in and deployed all the marshals, including sending someone right to the far end of the course at 8.50 as the marshal for that spot hadn’t arrived! Thankfully she made it just before the runners did! Anyway I had just climbed up the ladder to begin the runners brief when I was stopped. Immediately I thought something had gone wrong, someone was having some sort of emergency but no, it was our lovely Event Director telling the crowd of 287 runners that today was my 50th anniversary! I got a huge round of applause and was presented with a cake made by Maggie.
Isn’t she clever? I wish you got a 50 tshirt for volunteering but sadly you don’t so I’ll just have to keep make do with my 25 tshirt.
I was also given a beautiful handmade card by Fiona
I literally felt so lucky and blessed. I’ve made such good friends here and this just shows! I was speechless and so overwhelmed! It really put me off my runners brief!! Haha
Volunteering for the 50th time was my third time being Run Director and as always I loved it. Being Run Director is such an important role but thankfully there were no incidents this week!
So, have you ever thought about volunteering at your local parkrun? Or even running it? Check out where your local one is on parkrun’s website and sign up!
Have you enjoyed this parkrun post? Here are links to my other posts!