In my last blog I shared my top tips for getting into running. So now hopefully you’re all running addicts and ready to explore what else the running community has to offer!
Another great way to be involved in running (and feed the addiction) is to volunteer and help out. This is great for new runners wanting to experience the atmosphere of a race, injured runners wanting to be involved and those seeking some running motivation. Volunteering is as addictive as running, and for me I find it rewarding, motivating and sometimes even more memorable than PBs and race times! So how can you get involved?
Parkrun - the high-vis heroes are the people who make parkrun happen. They’re the barcode scanners, the marshalls willing you on, the photographers capturing your happy running memories (or hilarious run faces!), the time keepers helping generate your barcode times and the run directors who make everything happen.
Volunteering at parkrun is a whole new way to experience the atmosphere and enthusiasm at parkrun, plus it’s a good way to meet other parkrunners. What’s even better is it doesn’t require a super early get up, most volunteer briefings are only 30 minutes before the parkrun start time so you won’t lose precious hours in bed. The icing on the cake (aside from the sense of awesomeness from helping out!) is that each volunteering stint is recognised and once you’ve done 25, you get a beautiful purple T-shirt to proudly show off! Read about how parkrun started with our interview with the founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt on run angel here...
Help at a race - helping at races is another way to get involved and for many helps curb that FOMO that may come with an injury, or if your favourite race is sold out. If you’re new to running it’s a fantastic way to experience a race without feeling the pressure of running it yourself.
There are many volunteer roles at races across the country, and what’s more on top of the endorphins and sheer sense of awe at all the awesome runners taking part, many races reward you with a free entry the following year for helping out, amongst other goodies! Volunteering varies from race to race so the best advice is to check the website or contact the race director for more information.
Pacing - this is another fantastic way to volunteer your time as well as getting to experience a race is to pace. This is possibly more for the experienced runner as you need to be able to run at a constant pace for the distance required (sometimes wearing large flags and other easily identifiable dress). Pacing at races can be as competitive as entering, and often you have to go through a few pre race checks, however it is extremely rewarding and you get a free entry to some of the biggest races, not to mention the feeling of helping other runners to new personal bests or just supporting them to go the distance absolutely worth it. The best way to get involved is to contact the race organisers, or pacing groups like xempo pacing.
You can also pace at parkrun, many runs do monthly pacer weeks where you can collect run results and volunteer stints - perfect if you’re going for your 50 runs and 25 volunteer milestone tshirts!
I really love pacing, its so exciting to help runners achieve a new PB or push themselves. To read more about pacing at parkrun check my recent blog from my first pacing experience in August.
Guide running - I’ve been involved in guide running since January and without doubt it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I love the chance to run with others so to have the chance to share the race with another runner is fantastic. Guiding is definitely for the more experienced runner, you need to be able to keep a steady pace, talk, look ahead, avoid obstacles and direct another runner. I got involved in guiding through my local parkrun, before taking the England Athletics Sight Loss Awareness and Guide Running Course, which I really recommend.
Be a cheerleader - Missed out on running a race? Go along and support! Anyone who has ever raced knows that crowd support is essential and often it’s the support that gets you through the tough parts of the race. Go and repay the favour to other runners, what goes around comes around!
So there you have it, a few quick ways to feed your running habit. Don’t blame me when you’re 100% a running addict!
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Have a little spare time between your runs and interested in joining the run angel family?