parkrun volunteering

Volunteering is a very important part of parkrun as without volunteers the events would not happen week in week out. There are many roles that can be filled, including quite a few that will also enable you to run as well.

What are the official parkrun Volunteer Roles?

The Event Director takes overall responsibility for each event. They can be thought of as the chair person of the local team. Most Event Directors (though not all) will act as Run Director on a pretty frequent basis.

The Run Director is in charge of a particular run on a specific day. They have ultimate responsibility for deciding whether or not the conditions are suitable for the event and with advice from the other volunteers may decide to modify the course, delay the start, or even in exceptional circumstances cancel the event that day. They are also responsible for organising the team of volunteers, along with the volunteer co-ordinator.

The Equipment Deliver & Storage people are responsible for ensuring that all the event’s equipment are stored safety during the week, and that all of it is delivered on time to the event.

Pre-Event Setup is a behind the scenes role, meaning you could both perform this role and run. Volunteers in this role help setup the event.

The New Runners Briefing volunteer will be experienced and will brief new runners on the course and what to do at the finish.

Marshals guide and encourage the runners around the course warning them of any obstacles or hazards, as well as ensuring that other park users are aware of the run.
They are also the eyes and ears of the run director out on the course. Marshals perform a crucial function; if there aren’t enough marshals then the event can’t go ahead.

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. Volunteers undertaking this role receive both a run credit and a volunteer credit, unless performing the role at a junior parkrun.

A VI Guide accompanies a visually impaired parkrunner around the course and receives both a run credit and a volunteer credit when carrying out this role. This role can also be applied when supporting a volunteer with a visual impairment.

The Timekeeper is responsible for recording the times of all finishers. This can be a high pressure role, particularly at our busier events. For every runner that crosses the finish line on their own two feet, the timer will record that time using a timing device. This data is then combined with the data from the Barcode Scanners. Our events are provided with multiple timers, so there will normally be someone operating a backup timer.

The Finish Tokens person is responsible for handing out finish position tokens to all finishers in the correct sequence. This role calls for nimble fingers and grace under pressure. They can be assisted by Finish Tokens Support.

At many events there are so many runners, the task of handing out finish position tokens would be too much for one person, so it is a double act, with Finish Tokens support working closely with Finish Tokens. For example, they will prepare the next set of tokens for Finish Tokens, who won’t have time to do this themselves. It’s also reassuring for Finish Tokens to know that they’re supported.

The Barcode Scanners are responsible for actually recording runners against their finish position tokens, handed out by Finish Tokens at the end of the funnel. They scan in the runners personal barcode, followed by the barcode on the position token.

The Number Checker is responsible for recording (but not correcting) discrepancies that may arise between the timer and the numbers that are given out. This role is slowly disappearing as we roll out new technologies to the events.

The Funnel manager is responsible for the smooth operation of the finish funnel.
It’s vitally important to our system that runners stay in the same sequence after they cross the line, so we keep their time in sequence with their finish token. So they’re there to remind runners of where to go, help them if they pushed a bit too hard, and cheer them over the line. Described as a mix of school teacher and cheer leader!

The Results Processor is responsible for bringing together the times and positions and sending them off to parkrun HQ for publication using the parkrun online results processing wizard. They also resolve any discrepancies that may arise in the results throughout the week.

The Warm Up Leader carries out a basic warm up routine to get both minds and bodies ready for our junior parkrun events.

Lead Bike cycles on ahead of the front runners to show them the way and to give other park users a friendly warning that hordes of runners are heading their way. They will also lead the way for the lead runner so it goes without saying that the rider should be comfortable with the course and have a bike that is well up to the challenge. This role is contingent on the terrain of the event.

Pacer volunteers then agree to identify themselves to the other runners (usually by wearing tabards or carrying pacer flags), and try as best they can, to run to the agreed time, as evenly paced as possible. Pacers need to be very familiar with the course and ideally take on a time this is well within their ability.

The Token Sorter is a behind the scenes role, meaning you could both run and perform this role. At the end of the run, tokens will need to be sorted back into the correct order ready for next week.

The Communications person, also known as PR, this role involves writing or overseeing the publication of the run reports, and communicating with local media about the event, or otherwise communicating with the public.

The Volunteer Co-ordinator is a behind the scenes role, meaning you could both perform this role and run. The Volunteer Co-ordinator is responsible for maintaining an events volunteer rosters and ensuring that there are enough people to fill all the roles each week. The volunteer roster is managed through parkrun’s online volunteer management wizard.

The Run Report Writer is a behind the scenes role, meaning you could both perform this role and run. The role of Run Report Writer involves writing and uploading weekly event news reports to the event’s news page.

Photographers take pictures of the event and upload them to the event’s Flickr page.
Photographers of all abilities and with whatever equipment they have at their disposal are invited to take pictures at our events.

The Post Event Closedown is a behind the scenes role, meaning you could both perform this role and run. After the run these volunteers help pack up all the equipment and clear away any litter.


Name of parkrunDateVolunteer Role
Havant parkrun13/02/2016Finish Tokens
Portsmouth Lakeside parkrun07/05/2016Run report writer
Waterlooville Junior parkrun08/05/2016Marshal
Waterlooville Junior parkrun29/05/2016Marshal
Waterlooville Junior parkrun05/06/2016Marshal
Waterlooville Junior parkrun19/06/2016Marshal
Waterlooville Junior parkrun26/06/2016Marshal
Waterlooville Junior parkrun10/07/2016Marshal
Worthing parkrun16/07/2016Run report writer
Waterlooville Junior parkrun24/07/2016Tail runner
Waterlooville Junior parkrun31/07/2016Timekeeper
Waterlooville Junior parkrun07/08/2016Pre-event set up
Waterlooville Junior parkrun07/08/2016Tail runner
Fareham parkrun13/08/2016Run report writer
Waterlooville Junior parkrun14/08/2016Marshal
Clermont Waterfront parkrun27/08/2016Run report writer
Lee on the Solent parkrun10/09/2016Other (Run report writer)
Waterlooville Junior parkrun18/09/2016Marshal
Waterlooville Junior parkrun25/09/2016Marshal
Salisbury parkrun01/10/2016Run report writer
Havant parkrun08/10/2016Pre-event set up
Havant parkrun08/10/2016New runners brief
Havant parkrun08/10/2016Run report writer
Waterlooville Junior parkrun09/10/2016Pre-event set up
Waterlooville Junior parkrun09/10/2016Tail runner
Waterlooville Junior parkrun16/10/2016Marshal
Queen Elizabeth parkrun29/10/2016Pre-event set up
Queen Elizabeth parkrun29/10/2016Run report writer
Waterlooville Junior parkrun30/10/2016Timekeeper
Brockenhurst parkrun12/11/2016Run report writer
Waterlooville Junior parkrun13/11/2016Marshal
Queen Elizabeth parkrun19/11/2016Funnel Manager

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