We all know that our local parkruns are always in need of more hands. But it’s not so well known that all those hands can come from running clubs, rather than individuals stepping forward on their own.
‘Takeovers’, where one organisation volunteers to take over all the roles at one event on a particular date, bring benefits to the parkrun, the volunteers and the runners alike.
Parkrun UK doesn’t issue any official guidance on club takeovers, but they are known to be more successful when in support of a club’s own local event(s).
Volunteers should be confident enough about a route to answer questions about terrain, hazards or the local area – and this generally isn’t possible when a club travels outside their region to support another parkrun.
Inverurie-based Garioch Roadrunners
volunteered to take over two of their local parkruns in 2018: Aberdeen Beach Boulevard and Ellon.
Club chair Nicola Redgwell told runABC Scotland online why the club stepped up: ‘We all, as individual runners, benefit from being able to drop into a parkrun. Without the volunteers none of us would have this luxury.’
Whole running clubs make ideal volunteers, she feels, because team work is what they do best. "All the shared training hours make for a very cohesive, supportive environment – which is ideal to take out into the wider running community to give something back."
Many hands also make light work. She added: "When a whole club does a take over there's always lots of experience of different parkruns to draw on. We all learn from each other about the different parkrun volunteer roles, and that makes it easier for all of us."
Tamsin Morris, Ellon parkrun race director, agrees about the benefits of club takeovers. She told runABC Scotland online: "Having a club like Garioch Roadrunners take over all the volunteer roles for a Saturday is a big help, as it keeps our volunteer roster full and gives other, regular volunteers a break.
"It also gives the club volunteers a chance to see what goes on 'behind the scenes' at a parkrun event, and hopefully they'll enjoy it so much, they'll want to come back and volunteer again."
Nicola Redgwell felt that there were also benefits for the runners with a club takeover. "A whole running club can bring quite a collective cheer to a Saturday morning.’
‘There's nothing we love better than supporting fellow runners, so when a club comes together to cheer, that brings lots of positive vibes … and lots of volume too!"
Image: Garioch Roadrunners ‘taking over’ Ellon parkrun, on the 10th Anniversary of parkrun in Scotland.