Every Saturday, they answer the call, the request by email that asks if they would be willing to fill a space on the rota for the next Saturday morning.
In rain, hail, sun and wind they stand at their designated posts. Clipboard, scanner or token in hand. If they have nothing to hold then they clap. Some mornings just to keep warm but mostly to encourage those moving through.
They come from every direction and as they assemble, their name is ticked on the volunteer register. They collect their uniform, the yolk coloured, hi-viz parkrun volunteer waistcoat. It is donned and “Good Egg” status is awarded for another day.
The pre-run briefing, rightly mentions these good eggs, without whom the event would not place. The responding ripple of applause rings across the parkrun space. Some volunteers in earshot will have heard and will smile. Some will not hear for they may be deep in conversation with their fellow volunteers, sharing stories of parkrun adventures, that have been and those that are yet to come.
Perhaps once that pesky injury has cleared?
The debate may ensue on the how, why, when and who regarding parkrun volunteering but personally I don’t care about that. For me it’s about giving something back. My thanks for all of those who have stood on the sidelines timing, measuring, officiating and encouraging me. My lifetime of sporting adventures enhanced by numerous good eggs.
I look and know what those parkrunners’ are experiencing. Like them I have sweated and gasped. Feeling like this must be my last breath, wondering if that finish line will ever come. If I can encourage, cajole and perhaps turn that grimace into a smile with a few good intentioned and well meaning words then I’m happy.
That’s my sunny side up.
Enjoy today, appreciate the efforts of your good eggs and perhaps you’ll join their ranks next time.