Before today, I had only ever volunteered at Wimbledon parkrun, where the volunteer rota is usually filled up about three weeks in advance. As a dyed-in-the-wool tourist with a fondness for inaugural runs, I find myself hesitating to volunteer, as I don’t want to risk missing an inaugural because of a prior commitment. But I do want to volunteer, because without volunteers, parkrun wouldn’t happen. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Decisions, decisions.
Then I began to notice that my twitter feed was full of parkruns (I follow many, many parkruns) in need of volunteers, and the solution came to me. On those weeks where there isn’t an inaugural to go to, a friend to visit* or an event to run**, I can slip in a spot of volunteer tourism.
My chosen test event was Kingston. It’s suitably local, has a nice cafe and I know some of the regulars. So today, instead of parkrunning, I ran to a parkrun, chatted lots, handed out the finishing tokens, chatted some more and then ran home.
It was such fun, I’m definitely doing it again. Soon.
*It’s been ages. We must meet up! Oh, and by the way, I need to have left by stupid o’clock on Saturday morning so that I can run that parkrun that’s nearer to you than to me.
**Please don’t imagine that I miss parkruns for other events. I don’t. But I do select other events if they give me an excuse to travel to a parkrun I haven’t run. Inverness parkrun (Lochaber marathon); Forest of Dean parkrun (Forest of Dean Trailblazer); Graves parkrun (Clumber Park Trailblazer); and Conkers parkrun (Thunder Run) to name but a few.