It was a very foggy and dark Saturday morning at Lee on Solent as RunVerity members started emptying the boot of their cars that were laden down with cakes for all the parkrun finishers. We had been baking for days as well as having a lovely donation from Soothills bakery, iced donuts, mince pies and danish pastries, they all looked delicious. Why did RunVerity runners take over all the volunteer roles at Lee on Saturday.
Well, I am a real fan of parkruns because I love seeing people do the thing that I love doing; running. I’ve been running for 15 years now and I formed RunVerity in September 2014, so still a fledgling running community but one that is growing all the time. Our ethos is that we run, support and help one another…our strapline is “Let’s Run Together” and we do, all ages and all abilities. One of the services RunVerity provides is an 8-week beginner’s course, every 8 weeks, and on completion of the course our “graduates” come along to run their first 5km at our local parkrun. I love the support of the marshals, the non- pressurised environment, it’s a parkrun not a parkrace and community spirit that brings everyone together on a Saturday morning.
Without this stepping stone of the parkrun that may lead to longer and tougher runs as runners start their running journey and without the volunteers who turn up week after week, come rain or shine, there wouldn’t be this opportunity to share our passion in this unique way. And running isn’t just about times and pace, I see week after week how people’s lives have been transformed after learning and discovering how to run. If you are a runner who has experienced the joy of running a parkrun and you want to give something back to the community that provides you so much joy, if you are injured or you just want to feel good about yourself, go and marshal a parkrun. Marshalling provides all the same feel good factors that running provides, without having to do anything but cheer and encourage people to keep going.
Once you have marshalled a run, you remember to say "thank you marshal" especially if it is windy or raining, you know that when a marshal shouts "keep going, you can do it" that they genuinely mean it and when a marshal tells you that you are still looking good that they are probably lying but it makes you feel better!
We had a great morning, everyone loved the support of the RunVerity community as well as the cakes.