Greetings from the back of the pack – Tail Running

Today I did a bit of volunteering, more specifically I was the Tail Runner/Walker at this mornings Waterloovile Junior parkrun. For those of you that don’t know what a tail runner is I’ve copied and pasted the official blub from the parkrun website below;

The Tail Runner stays right at the back of the field and should be the last person to cross the finish line ensuring that everyone is accounted for.
They are encouraged to carry a mobile phone in case of emergencies.
They let any marshal out on the course know that they can collect nearby signs and leave their post.
Please note that not all events have a tail runner.
Volunteers undertaking this role receive both a run credit and a volunteer credit.

As it states, it’s my job to come last and ensure that all participants have made it safely round the course and are accounted for. Fulfilling this role at a Junior event is not much different to the senior event apart from you obviously don’t receive a run credit and you don’t actually cross the finish line. For those of you that (heaven forbid) don’t parkrun you earn points or credits for participation, be it running or volunteering, and get various rewards based on your accumulated achievements. Volunteer 25 times and you get a lovely T-shirt. Some say that this shirt is purple, when it is in fact aubergine…

volunteershirt Aubergine (or Eggplant) is a species of nightshade grown for its edible fruit. “Eggplant” is the common name in North American and Australian English but British English uses “aubergine”. It’s not a colour, it’s a thing!

Volunteering is great, I don’t just volunteer at parkrun, I also try to get involved in other things throughout the year and give up some of my time to do something different and that helps others, it’s good for the soul. I’ve done various things in recent years, from litter picking along the beach to painting fences at Marwell Zoo to marshaling a triathlon in Fareham, to name just a few things, all filling me with a sense of pride and positive karma.

If you know of anyone doing their Duke of Edinburgh Award, then you may be interested to know that parkrun UK is “an approved activity provider for DofE”. So it’s also a great way to log hours against that scheme.

This morning was lovely running round at the back and encouraging a very lovely little lady along to the finish, she’s only just 4 and is very chatty and loves getting high-5’s from the marshals and any spectators around the course. She ran the 2km in 19:50 accompanied by her mother. This was her first official parkrun today as she’s only just got her bar code, she had previously participated but never had an official time as didn’t meet the 4-14 age requirements of the event. It’s heartwarming to see the support, especially as some others came back to run with us and make sure she got to the finish line.

I’m going to end this by saying get out there and get involved, it doesn’t have to be running related, it can be anything. There are so many people out there that need help and support and volunteering a small portion of your time to do something for others is so worth it.

If you are interested in a volunteer role at parkrun (you don’t have to be a runner to get involved) there is more information available from the official site.


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