Volunteering at parkrun can be quite a touchy subject amongst the parkrun community. Whilst I agree that if you get a lot (or anything really) out of parkrun, then you should volunteer, I do not necessarily agree with the argument that if you have time to run, then you have time to volunteer. I could run, and be on my way home inside 25 minutes, and there’s no way that I could do that if was volunteering.
That being said, I do think that parkrun in general is a fantastic concept that caters for so many, from the athletes at the front to those who like to walk at the back and, although I’ve only completed 23 runs in total, I have been enjoying parkrun now for three years. Therefore, I felt that a volunteering duty was long overdue and, with my wife and children out and away on Saturday, it meant I had nothing to necessarily get home for. I therefore decided to offer my services to the local parkrun in Rugby.
Although my morning was longer than usual, I did still manage to get my miles in, taking in almost 3 miles to run there and going the long way home to pick up another 6. I was out of the house for three hours as opposed to the normal one but, again, I really wanted to give something back to the community that gives me so much.
And how enjoyable it was too. I always make a point, when running, of thanking the marshalls out on course as, without them, parkrun wouldn’t exist. But I didn’t realise how nice that feels when someone says it to you. I was on marshalling duty this Saturday, with the simple instruction of asking people to keep left of the cones as they began their second lap. But it was nice to offer encouragement to people as they passed and even nicer to be thanked for it.
I understand that volunteering does take longer than running, and not everyone can afford such time, including me most of the time. But if there is one week where you can, do consider offering to give something back to a community that you undoubtedly take a lot from. If that still isn’t possible, do be sure to thank those out on course as you go round.