It’s still very much the beginning for parkrun in Canada, but we have already made fantastic friends and heard some amazing stories.
Both Okanagan and Nose Hill parkruns continue to settle into their new surroundings. Okanagan saw their first new Run Director, Jen, taking charge as Bill takes a well deserved week off, and Nose Hill tweaked their finish area to make it easier to finish.
Being based in Vancouver, both Nose Hill and Okanagan are a little too far for a Saturday morning commute for me, so this week was a rare parkrun-free day. This was one of the main reasons why I started a parkrun back in England all those years ago, and again it is a very good motivator to bring one closer to home! Without giving too much away, the signs are looking good that my fellow Vancouver-ites won’t have too much longer to wait to get their parkrun fix.
And that’s the beauty of it, we aim to provide a parkrun to every community that wants one, and that means a parkrun to commutable distance to as many Canadians as possible. Whether it’s every week, month, six months or infrequently whenever, parkrun will always be there whenever you are ready to come down.
parkrun Canada Country Manager
timeline of a typical parkrun
We are seeking individuals and teams to come forward and work with us to bring a parkrun to their community. Many questions come up when considering a new event, such as queries about how to recruit volunteers and what makes a good course. Last week we discussed the course, so this week we’ll discuss the operations of a typical Saturday morning from the perspective of a Run Director.
The preparation for an event actually starts weeks in advance, when the Event or Run Director puts out a call for volunteers. Depending on the size of the event, volunteer requirements can change but for smaller events at least seven volunteers are required. It gives the Run Director that warm fuzzy feeling when he or she sees a full volunteer roster on their event website!
Friday evening, many Run Directors do a check that all equipment is ready for the morning. That includes charging the barcode scanners, checking and replacing lost tokens, and clearing the timers of last week’s results. Many leave it until the day, however that can leave to some stressful Saturday mornings (I have been guilty of this a few times)!
Around 8am the volunteer team arrives on site and go out to mark the course. 5k is surprisingly a long way - even on a bicycle, so this can take time. Marshals should ideally be in place for 8:50am or so, and that is around the time the Run Director calls for the runners briefing. I’m hoping most of you are familiar with the briefing by now, but it is to highlight safety, ask that you don’t leave with your finish token (please don’t leave without returning your finish token!) and thank the sponsors and any other announcements.
9am, the start! For the Run Director this can be a quiet time, and the action is on the course with the Marshals busy. Shortly after 9:15am the first finishers come through and the finish line soon becomes a busy place. This carries on until the Tail Runner comes in, and then the close down procedure begins. Some parkruns have procedures in place where some equipment has been brought back already.
There is then the post-run coffee where volunteers and runners discuss stories and run tales. The Results Processor sometimes processes the results here, which is a good place because if there are any problems then there are plenty of people who can help out. Results are then e-mailed out to participants and the equipment passed over to the next Run Director to do it all again next week…
Talking of which, have a great parkrun and see you next week.
If you are interested in setting up your own event, or to find out more, get in touch with us here!