running blog

Voluntourism (parkrun)


I may have run my first parkrun in 2011 but I have come late to the delights of parkrun tourism, and parkrun generally.  Only recently have I preferred the anticipation of a new parkrun event (or even my locals) to a lie in.  Must be getting old, or hooked. Maybe both. 

My recent parkruns have been local, repeats and a volunteer stint because of Christmas, socialising and injury plus my desire to get them in towards my 50 shirt. So I was determined to get my 25th different parkrun venue run today and when tentative parkrun plans changed I resorted to finding my event with longest lie in not yet done (EWLLNYD). 

So I rocked up to Finsbury Park. An easy tube journey. I was saved the ‘trying to find the park’ problem by following a family in running kit out of the tube and asking them at the barrier if they were parkrunning. They were. A repeat visit from out of London, so I tagged along. 

At the run briefing, just before they explained the course, they mentioned they were missing a tail runner and was anyone willing.  I found myself volunteering. (I have been supposed to run-walk the past two parkruns after injury so I could maybe behave for one week!?). In a flash I had a hi-viz jacket, a check I knew what to do and an offer to take my bag to the finish . I worked out that as tail runner it maybe didn’t matter about knowing where we were running but I did ask about bringing in any direction signs on what number lap?

When the field spread out and I’d chatted to and seen a few late starters past me I was left with  a regular trying to stay warm by running  zig zags and encouraging his girlfriend on her first 5k run and a veteran speed marching. I soon discovered that I could not walk  as fast as the the speed walker so had to adopt (my physio would approve) a jog walk pattern to keep up with him. 

Chatting at the end and sharing times I discovered that speed walking had been his sport and he’d once ‘walked’ a 5K far faster than I will ever run one. I stood no chance!

My 47th parkrun, 25th venue done. It was my slowest ever, it was social and I volunteered. A great morning. 

Author: fairweatherrunner

West London fair weather runner, British Military Fitness fan, mother of teenage sons and drinker of wine. Sometimes found on the Isle of Wight.

5 thoughts on “Voluntourism (parkrun)

  1. Tail runner is such a great role!

  2. I wondered how you ended up as tail runner when you only decided on the venue the day before. 🙂

  3. I’ve been injured for five months and my Physio has ruled out any running but said I could walk. I was missing my parkruns and my new dog needed walking, so I’ve also joined the speed walking crowd and we’ve done six parkruns so far this year. :-}

  4. I adore volunteering at parkrun. When I pass my driving test I intend on doing some voluntourism!

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