In December 2018, I set myself a few New Years resolutions, one of which was to volunteer at parkrun for the first time.
For anyone that hasn't taken part in parkrun, it's a free, weekly, 5km timed run that takes place in locations around the world. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in - www.parkrun.org.uk.
Up until the start of December 2019, I had wracked up a decent 84 parkrun's in my parkrun career, but it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn't donned the yellow jacket. With only a few weeks of the year left, I contacted the team at my local run, Southsea parkrun, and found it amazingly easy to sign up to volunteer.
Once I'd signed up he help out (it was sooooo easy and I've detailed how to do so below), I received instructions on email and it was a really easy process to follow.
I turned up at the start of my local parkrun, Southsea, at 8.30am. I was a bit keen so ended up being the first person there! by 8:40, all of the other volunteers arrived and we were given a good briefing on how it worked and what our roles were by race director, Paul.
I signed up to be a barcode scanner for the morning - what could go wrong?!?!
Then, before you knew it, 314 runners had turned up and were then off on their way in mildly windy conditions along the seafront. 2.5k east along the promenade, around the turning cone and 2.5k back to the finish.
Then the 3 of us started barcode scanning (coincidentally, all 3 of us were breaking our ducks at volunteering!) and it was a really simple process. Scan the runners barcode, scan the finishing token. 628 scans later and we were done!
I was quite surprised at how easy it was, how friendly everyone was and how you weren't rushed to get through the queue. Every runner waited to be called forward in turn and it was so much fun to get involved with.
But that's what parkrun is all about. The community taking part in a fun, healthy event that people from all walks of life come together to take part in.
It might be December and I've only just volunteered for the first time, but I'll be doing it a lot more regularly in order to give back to an event that I've used for free so many times over the past 3 or 4 years. parkrun wouldn't exist without the amazing volunteers that turn up each week, regardless of the weather, and I encourage those of you that have never given it a go to do so.
How do I sign up to volunteer?
Firstly, find a parkrun near you that you would be keen to help out at. Here's a ink where to find all of the 692 events around the UK - parkrun locations
Once you find a parkrun you'd be keen to volunteer at, click on the parkrun name and it takes you to the location details. From there, follow the link to the Volunteer Page (in yellow below) and it tells you clearly what needs to be done in order for you to wear the yellow jacket!
If you haven't done it yet, Id it a go. You won't regret it!