My first parkrun was at Wimbledon parkrun, on 8 January 2011. I lost a hotly contested (in my mind at least) battle for 198th place, finishing 199th.
My second parkrun was at Wimbledon parkrun, on 15 January 2011, where I recorded my first official parkrun pb. As it turned out, it was also my only official parkrun pb of 2011, because the following week I started my tour of parkruns, and visited a different parkrun every week.
Today, I went back to Wimbledon parkrun as a first timer of a different type. A first time volunteer. Shockingly, despite running 66 parkruns at 59 different venues, despite the parkrun request that all runners volunteer three times each year, despite loving parkrun and defining myself as a parkrun junkie, I had never actually volunteered. But I have now.
I was assigned to registration. Barcode scanning. Recording runners and their positions. Mess it up, and 100 disgruntled runners may as well have stayed in bed (including my boss, who ended up with a 94 second season’s best. Phew!)
So, what’s it like, this volunteering malarky? Wonderful! The benefit of being on registration on a two-lap course is that as your duties don’t kick in until after the first person finishes, you can cheer on everyone once, and most people twice.
And you have more time to chat to people. I may only have done two of my 66 parkruns at Wimbledon, but it is my home parkrun. Not only is it my closest, not only was it my first, not only does it have a fabulous, flat, tree-covered course, but it is also heavily supported by the Wimbledon Windmilers, so I know quite a few people there.
Icing on the cake? Chatting to Wimbledon event director, Ian, who has done 230 parkruns, all of them at Wimbledon. And to Natasha, who pipped me to that 198th place. Oh yes, and picking up this: