It’s a Saturday morning, the sun is shining…… somewhere, but not in Edinburgh, here it was warm but cloudy, a good day for your parkrun, even the traditional wind that usually disturbs the hairstyle in Edinburgh was in mute mode, windswept and interesting was out, gentle breeze was in.
So what was there to be concerned about? What was the life flashing before your eyes moment (parkrun life that is) that happened this morning as I stood at the head of the finish funnel encouraging the park runners across the finish line? Was it to keep moving, to keep their place, to keep breathing – always essential I feel – and to keep smiling? It’s meant to be fun after all. But it can be life or death – we’ve all been there haven’t we? We strain sinew and burst alveoli to get to that line in under whatever the time is we want to get under.
Life or death for me? Well maybe not but there was a slight hairy moment this morning – hard for someone with a hairstyle like mine.
As I stood at 09:33, (Edinburgh never seems to start on time – lol) and watched the park runners trundle past I spied a disproportionate number of buggies. There were single riders and quite a few doubles, ranging in style from the city stroller type to the 4 X 4 monsters that could be used to climb mountains and gallop up hills. The Land Rovers of the perambulation world. The children were fully secured with their quad strapped, interlocking seat belt system and egging on their engines in the shape of their Mum or Dad. A few were just asleep – vroom, vroom, or perhaps in snooze control?
The first volunteer position at Edinburgh in the funnel management system reminds parents that their buggy has to be handed over so they can safely continue up the finish funnel. The runner then takes their token before collecting their offspring and it’s transport and heads off for scanning.The finish funnel is too narrow to accommodate buggies. Usually we have one or two children sitting waiting for Mum or Dad but today on occasions it resembled buggy valet parking. I think we peaked at four buggies or was that trumped by five if you count two doubles and a single.
The buggy instruction is part of the Run Director’s briefing at assembly but some folk just don’t listen and occasionally we have a parent, understandably not wanting to hand over their buggy and offspring in case we steal them. But we really don’t, we look after them for just seconds, until the parent can walk down to collect their token and double back, simple.
Things were going to plan, the park runners were chugging over the line with the full palette of facial colours on display, from vibrant puce to deathly pale, but I don’t think anyone lost their breakfast this morning. Then from about forty metres out a double, 4 X 4 tank masquerading as a buggy was on the way home, being pushed by Dad.
I waved, shouted out that a double buggy was on the way and received a wave from Dad who had obviously listened to the Run Director, he was switched on and understood what to do once over the line. Drive over to me and hand junior over or in this case junior and junior plus. Then from about thirty metres out he accelerated!
What are you doing? I thought as Isaac Newton’s first law of motion rushed through my head
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
Dad was that unbalanced force as he speeded up, nostrils flaring as he sprinted home, heading straight towards me, momentum unleashed. How much do these two children weigh? 20kg? They were travelling at perhaps 15km/hour. Physics was never my strong point and I just thought of collision, or perhaps
parkrun mass + velocity = collision
With metres to go before his children would be joined by a 90kg hitchhiker, Dad realised that he also remembered school boy physics. He applied the parachute brake and performed an emergency stop.
I swear I smelled burning rubber. His 4 x 4 buggy had good brakes but he might now need new running shoes!
So three things on reflection.
Does this parkrun funnel manager role need a hard hat and body armour?
Do we need to instigate a new volunteer role, that of buggy parking attendant?
Or do we need to gives certain volunteer roles danger money in the shape of extra volunteer credits?
Next week I will be volunteer co-ordinator and doubling up as tail walker. Surely that will be safer?