A few weeks ago, I volunteered as tail runner at my local parkrun event. I always get a buzz out of volunteering but hadn’t done this particular role before and really enjoyed it.
Basically a tail runner does what it says on the box – they run at the tail end and ensure everyone gets back in one piece. I was looking forward to taking it easy – I’m probably guilty of not enjoying the scenery as much as I could on regular runs as I’m too focused on breathing, not tripping over my feet and generally moving forward.
It also allowed me to hang around a bit at the start and appreciate the range of people who join in parkrun each week – I don’t normally get to see the determined looks on the front runners and it reminded me that we’ve all got our own goals (and, no doubt, our own demons to overcome), regardless of speed.
Being a tail runner gave me lots of time to amble along and appreciate the beautiful surroundings and perfect weather.
It also gave me more time to applaud the efforts of fellow parkrunners and give encouragement to those who needed it. In particular, there was a great mother and son combination who really showed what the parkrun spirit is all about – mum gently encouraging her son along and both them enjoying being outside and active. 5km is a long way for my legs so it must seem like a marathon to little ones and he did an incredible job.
If you haven’t already caught on to the brilliance that is parkrun, find your local course now and go along. And consider volunteering as well – such a great way to meet people and give back to the running community.