parkrun is a joy

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Welcome to this week's parkrun Canada newsletter. I'm going to explain why it is such a joy to take part and volunteer at parkrun!  

People volunteer for a wide variety of reasons, and particularly to help others. But it's also okay to want some benefit yourself from volunteering.

Some people are uncomfortable with the notion that a volunteer "benefits" from doing volunteer work. There is a long tradition of seeing volunteering as a form of charity, based on altruism and selflessness. The best volunteering does involve the desire to serve others, but this does not exclude other motivations too. 

Instead of thinking about volunteering as doing something in exchange for what you require to help make your day, consider that most people find themselves in need at some point in their lives.

So, today you may be the person with the ability to help, but tomorrow you may be the recipient of someone else's volunteer effort. Let me explain more..

parkrun volunteering motivations

Motives for volunteering at parkrun may include any of the following:

- To feel needed
- To share a skill
- To get to know about parkrun
- To gain leadership skills - in particular if you are a student, parkrun will give you a chance to grow leadership and organisational skills.

You may feel it is to do your civic duty or because of pressure from a friend or relative. Helping at parkrun may give you satisfaction from watching others accomplish a goal, or to give you an excuse to help at what you love while you are unable to participate due to injury.

I can guarantee that if you choose to volunteer at parkrun you will feel good, be part of a team, you will test yourself as you take on a bigger role like Run Director (RD). You will absolutely build your resume, be an agent of change, and affect people’s lives in a great way, and in ways this writer can’t explain.

You will probably have some special reasons of your own. Once you're on the volunteer job at parkrun it doesn’t matter if you’re a Marshal or a Tail Runner (sweeper in Canada) or the RD, you will continue to serve as long as you feel that your efforts are accomplishing something, that your talents are appreciated, and that you make a difference. And if you also like the people with whom you work, so much the better!

You will find that your parkrun becomes a family, and I look forward to seeing my family every Saturday. I am interested in hearing the stories of the week and the goals you, my family, has set for the day's run or the month's journey.

I had a friend Therese (Chelmsford, UK parkrunner, RD, sweeper, pace bunny etc.) who said to me "Bill, you have to get parkrun going in Canada!" I said "What’s a parkrun? Just another 5k?"  

Well it’s anything but just another 5k! It is so much more, it’s motivating, it’s exciting, it’s free, it's mind-blowing, earth-shaking, love and caring in the deepest sense. If you choose to become a parkrun volunteer or participant (or both) you will find an inclusive group of people that are truly a joy to be a part of.

On a personal note, I was asked to write this for my friend Euan, the parkrun Country Manager here in Canada. He gives his time and effort to parkrun Canada, and I was proud to Volunteer to write this for him whilst he was in Germany running the Berlin Marathon.

I am floored by the amazing people I have met along my journey of life, and the people I have and continue to meet due to parkrun are exceptional “humans doing” NOT just human beings. Thanks for being a human doing Euan!

Happy parkrunning, 

Bill J

Event Director,
Okanagan parkrun