We talk a lot about not being able to have a parkrun if we don't have enough volunteers. A timekeeper and a barcode scanner are essential for recording results, and the scanner would have nothing to scan if another volunteer weren't handing out finish tokens. We couldn't safely keep participants and traffic from colliding if we didn't have our dependable Stout's Corner marshals, many of whom double as photographers. We couldn't safely keep the Greytown Woodside Trail owners on side if we didn't have our valiant Carpark Marshals ensuring that the area outside the archway remains vehicle-free. Those carkpark marshals also help many a parkrun tourist discover that they are, in fact, in the right place. And last (by design) and certainly NEVER least are our wonderfully dedicated Tail Walkers, ensuring that everyone else gets back safe and sound, every time out.
That's our volunteers. But there's another element without which parkrun wouldn't, well, run (and walk). And that is our participants. You the walkers and you the runners and you the folk who bring your dog (on a short lead, of course!) along the trail with you and you the brave parents who push the prams through our myriad metal pinch points–everyone who starts at the tree (sadly, now a stump) and ends at the tree (after, of course, turning around at the red slab) is worthy of praise and an inspiration to all.
Here are some benefits to consider:
When you do parkrun, you are kilometres ahead of those who sit on the sofa.
- When you do parkrun, you are among like-minded people who don't mind (too much) getting up early on a Saturday and coming out for a jaunt down the Greytown Woodside Trail. (And hey, if that's what you use as a motivation for earning your coffee and scone at The Offering afterward, then go for it!)
When you do parkrun, you challenge yourself as much as you want. It isn't a race, unless YOU want it to be. It might be a challenge, it will be a challenge, but you decide how much of a challenge you want every time you come out.
- When you do parkrun, you are taking part in a global grassroots fitness program that rewards ALL who finish. Yes, we have fast runners. Yes, we have fast walkers. Fast is great. But ALL of us who complete a parkrun, from the youngest to the oldest, do the distance. We all complete 5 kilometres, every time. Use a watch or an app or just run/walk: It's up to you. We're all out there TO HAVE FUN. That's your reward: to say that you've set yourself a challenge and achieved it, to say that you've gotten your workout in early on the first day of the weekend, to say that you want to stay healthy and be around other people who wish the same.
- Also, when you do parkrun on the Greytown Woodside Trail, you have access to, from many accounts, the most vibrant network of post-parkrun fellowship around. Many of us have done parkrun in other parts of New Zealand and in other countries. Many people from all around the country and all around the world have done parkrun on our course. Time and again, we hear that refrain that our community is the most welcoming–from the First Timers' Briefing to the parkrun itself to the chatting at the finish area afterward and then to the time at The Offering. All of us make it that way because of who we are.
So all of that is by way of saying thank you to our participants, for coming out week after week (or as often as you can), for smiling for our photographers, for cheering on other participants while running/walking and after you've finished, for making The Offering such a parkrun-happy place on a Saturday morning. Yes, parkrun needs volunteers to run. But parkrun also needs runners and walkers to operate. It is our participants as well who make parkrun go. So from the Run Director crew to all who run and walk on our course, a hearty thank you and a high amount of appreciation for your dedication, your spirit, and your determination to live a fit and healthy life. Wherever your travels may take you, you may well find a parkrun. But one thing that we all know is that right here in the heart of Wairarapa is a vibrant, happy, inspiring group of people who make parkrun go.
See you out there!
Dave White, Event Director
Some particulars from this week's event:
- Completing her 50th parkrun this week was Fiona McCardle.
- We marked St. Patrick's Day with a dress-up of course.
- Our first finisher was Destry Gourlay; our first female finisher was Marcia Hunter.
- Setting a Personal Best (PB) time along with Gourlay were Elliot Mauriri and Yvonne Sutherland.
- Making our parkrun go this week were volunteers Kim Catt, Rachel French, Paul Gibbons, Kim Gourlay, Judy Rayner, and Bede Stevens.
- We welcomed a pair of first-timers: Colin Lang from Dunedin and Karin Dalgliesh from Lower Hutt.