Weedon Island Preserve parkrun #8

Weedon Island Preserve parkrun #8

I volunteered at the Weedon Island Preserve parkrun #8. It was a steamy day with bugs, but hey, it’s Florida in July! parkrun is an international organization that sponsors a 5-k every Saturday at locations all around the world. Each chapter is championed by volunteers who work together to bring this activity to their community.

The Weedon Island Preserve parkrun (WIP) in St. Petersburg, Floirda begins at 7:30 AM every Saturday, rain or shine. Friends of mine started the chapter and I’m happy to support them when I can. So, I dragged myself out of bed at 6:30 AM and left at 6:50 AM. There was no morning shower because I knew I’d get sweaty and icky!

I arrived and was given my assignment. It was my job to scan the finisher’s barcodes and finish chip.

Scanning

First I had to download the app so I could use my phone to scan. I thought that was a pretty slick gizmo! I love that parkrun came up with this, as it makes tracking so easy.

Next, I had to be trained by the day’s Run Director. Our run director that day was a wonderful 11-year old! You see, everyone can do all the volunteer jobs with training!

Josie showed me how to use the scanner and explained that I had to take back the chips from the runners. For whatever reason, I had trouble with that. Fortunately, the runners are honest folks and they insisted I take them.

The Runners Gathered…

Runners had already begun to arrive when I got there at about 7:10 AM. Some were new, some were from other countries, some were locals and some were repeat participants.

One thing almost everyone does is to make sure they are wearing bug repellent. Weedon Island parkrun is along the water and mangrove fields. There can be a lot of bugs.

Many got a picture with the official parkrun sign and various other people they have met. It’s an interesting community. Regardless of whether someone is a first-timer or a regular, everyone is welcomed with kindness and enthusiasm.

And They’re Off!

The Run Director gave everyone the rundown of how the race works. Runners and walkers are welcome, and no one will be last thanks to the “tailrunner” who follows along to pick up signs and ensure everyone gets back.

The Start Line

Once they begin, there’s a bit of time to kill before the first runners cross the finish line. One by one, everyone made their way around the course and to the finish. I managed to scan everyone who came through! It was a relief not to miss anyone. The things I worry about…

Another WIP parkrun for the Books

As quickly as the event begins, it ends. By 8:30 AM we had cleaned up and people were on their way to continue on with their Saturday.

WIP #7 saw runners from UK, South Africa, Ireland, and Scotland as well as many locals. Two-thirds of the people who attended were first-timers.

This was my second-time volunteering. I can’t wait to hit 25 so I can get my Volunteer t-shirt.

Until next time…

Penny, blogger at www.flipflopsandsensibleshoes.com, signature