Saturday 5th March, Run Like a Girl were tasked to take over the majority of volunteer posts at Leamington Parkrun, and as a women’s only running group, you can imagine how excited we were. One thing we know that we can always bring to the party is plenty of noise and enthusiasm.. oh, and cakes, we brought A LOT of cakes, much to Mrs Doyle’s delight.
Despite the sprinkling of snow the night before, the near freezing temperature wasn’t quite enough to harden the soggy ground which was a result of the heavy rain we’d had earlier on in the week.. the course was a mud fest! Regardless, this wasn’t going to dampen the spirit of the 360 Parkrunners who had made the effort to get there. Add to this, the buzz of our own 35 runners, 30 of whom were among the 76 total first timers, and we were all set to take on our volunteer roles.
Still on the winter course, the mass start made for great viewing as they all pelted down the pathway towards us. There were some huge puddles along the way and it wasn’t long before everyone cut their losses and embraced the mud.
For those who are yet to volunteer at a Parkrun, it really is an eye opener to see the sheer amount of effort that goes into setting up these free events. I’ve marshalled on a couple of occasions before now as well as help Mrs Doyle in the café, but the role of Funnel Manager was a new one for me and gave a real insight into the importance of having all of the roles associated with the finishing area, in place andfirmly focused on their allocated tasks.
Once everyone had passed, we quickly set to putting up the finishing funnel while the Time Keepers and Finish Token givers stood poised for the first finisher to arrive back. It wasn’t long before Susie Tawney came hurtling by with her loyal dog on lead, both serving an impressive display of focus and determination. This stirred further excitement among our group and it was only a short wait before Dean Mawby took the position as first male finisher. Congratulations to both Susie and Dean.
The crowds of mudcovered Parkrunners soon picked up and the Run Like a Girl volunteers were in full cheer mode! With so many of our own runners out there it was hard not to get excitedbut we hope that our enthusiasm carried across to the other runners as well. As Emma, the Run Director said to us, ‘There’s nothing like a gaggle of girls to make a noise’!
There are so many variables which can make or break any running event: the atmosphere, the weather, the location, good coffee, cakes and bling. But when it comes to Parkrun, the formula is fail proof - it’s the people that make the real difference. The camaraderie among the runners and the commitment made by the volunteers is what makes Parkrun the close knit running community that it is. If you havn’t volunteered yet, you’re missing out. I urge you to get yourself on the rosta, the sense of reward is addictive.
Thank you Leamington Parkrun for having us, it’s been an absolute pleasure.
The Run Like a Girl crew.