Volunteer Roles: What does "Numbers" (now called Finish Tokens) do?
The numbers role is fairly straightforward, and if you've run at parkrun before, you've definitely run into this guy/girl. The numbers volunteer is the one that hands out your finishing position token once you have crossed the line. Simple as that. We even try to ensure the numbers person has a helper to smooth out any busy times when lots of runners cross the line.
Volunteer Roles: What does "Registration" (now called "Barcode Scanning") do?
The registration role is another that you've definitely dealt with if you've run at parkrun before. The registration volunteer(s) scan everyone's barcode and finishing position at the end of the run, or manually record details if there is a problem with scanning. The scanner unit has only one button to press, so hopefully nothing can really go wrong! If it's appropriate (e.g. we have not done this in the rain), these volunteers may also help sort the finishing tokens into order for the next week's event.
Again, this is a role that we like to organise in teams so one can be in charge of the scanner, and one in charge of manually recording any extra details.
The downside to this role: you get to handle lots of sweaty barcodes. To be honest, that's about as bad as it gets with any of the volunteer roles!
Volunteer Roles: What does "Marshal" do?
This is absolutely one of the most important jobs you could be tasked with at parkrun. The primary responsibility for the marshals is, of course, to provide all runners with motivation and encouragement in the form of high-fives! Of course, we also ask that you think about the safety of the runners and warn them of any possible problems, for example oncoming cyclists, and generally keep a watch to make sure everything runs smoothly on course.
This role does come with two possible shortcomings:
- standing in the rain
- sore high-five hand (we recommend an alternating hand strategy to avoid serious injury)
Volunteer Roles: What does "Timekeeper" do?
Timekeeper is one of the easiest jobs at parkrun, but also one of the most feared. The timekeeper is in charge of the stopwatch for the event, and whilst the role is just pushing one button every time someone finishes their parkrun, the responsibility of recording everyone's time can make this feel much more difficult than it actually is. Our timekeeper also works with "Numbers" and "Funnel Management" to keep everything in sync and ensure the right athletes get the right time.
As with all of our roles, we keep a "cheat sheet" of instructions in the box with all of our run kit, and our run director has a reasonable knowledge of how to operate the stopwatch and is available to help whenever needed.
Key attributes that we look for when filling the role of timekeeper are:
- enjoys parkrun and encouraging runners over the line
- can press a button
- knows left from right
Volunteer Roles: What does "Funnel Management" do?
The funnel manager is really a glorified helper role for "numbers" and should be easy for most people to try. The key responsibilities are to have the next bundle of finishing place tags ready for the numbers person, and to help guide runners to keep in order until they receive their position tag. The funnel manager also works with both timekeeper and numbers to keep the stopwatch position counter and runner positions tokens in sync.
As the role includes this communication between timekeeper, numbers, and runners, this can be a great job for volunteers with big voices!
Volunteer Roles: What does "Photographer" do?
"Wait!" I hear you say. Isn't it obvious?
Well, yes it is. The photographer takes photos. As simple as that. The photographer is the most autonomous role we have, free to roam the course as they like and take complete creative license with making a pictorial record of each event. The only guidelines are really that we want to capture both the community and park parts of parkrun, and as many runners as possible.
We have a camera available for use (please let us know before the event if you need it - we should have it anyway but just to be sure) if you don't have your own.
Responsibility for uploading photos to a facebook album can either be taken by the photographer if they want, or one of the event directors can organise to do this if preferred.
Volunteer roles: What does "Pacer" do?
If you run at Lake Mac parkrun, you may have seen pacers in action. Pacers are simply runners who aim to finish in a predefined time. Hopefully pacers keep a steady pace/speed throughout the whole run so you can judge your own effort better from them.
The pacer role has one major advantage over the other volunteer roles: You still get to run! Of course, running a set pace means you will almost definitely finish further down the field than usual, but you will still pick up points in the point competition even if you have already received your maximum "volunteer" points.
After the successful introduction of pacers at Lake Mac parkrun, we are keen to include pacers for various run times to continue this role as often as possible.
Volunteer Roster: How do you know if we need more volunteers?
There are a few ways that you can find out how the schedule for volunteers is looking. Email email@example.com or facebook message both work to get in contact with us, and we can tell you what the current plan is.
We also keep the future roster on our website, and keep it as up to date as we possibly can. You can check the website roster at any time if you are thinking of helping and want to see which roles have been filled.
If you are interested in any volunteer role, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org