The volunteers make parkrun happen; they run the local events.
They do all of the high-profile tasks at the event (like marshalling, timing, result recording, etc), and all the behind-the-scenes roles like PR and results processing.
Whatever you want to do, there's almost certainly a role for you.
Volunteering at parkrun should be fun; if you are at all concerned about trying a role please let the local organisers know so they can put your mind at rest.
What are our Volunteer Roles?
The Event Director takes overall responsibility for each event.
They can be thought of as the chair person of the local team. Most Event Directors (though not all) will act as Run Director on a pretty frequent basis.
The Run Director is in charge of a particular run on a specific day.
They have ultimate responsibility for deciding whether or not the conditions are suitable for the event and with advice from the other volunteers may decide to modify the course (because of new hazards, for example), delay the start, or even in exceptional circumstances cancel the event that day (very poor weather being the most common reason for this).
They are also responsible for organising the team of volunteers, along with the volunteer co-ordinator.
The Equipment Deliver & Storage people are responsible for ensuring that all the event's equipment are stored safety during the week, and that all of it is delivered on time to the event.
Pre-Event Setup is a behind the scenes role, meaning you could both perform this role and run.
Volunteers in this role help setup the event.
The New Runners Briefing volunteer will be experienced and will brief new runners on the course and what to do at the finish.
Marshals guide and encourage the runners around the course warning them of any obstacles or hazards, as well as ensuring that other park users are aware of the run.
They are also the eyes and ears of the run director out on the course.
Marshals perform a crucial function; if there aren't enough marshals then the event can't go ahead. So if you're running and see them out on the course, please say thanks (particularly if it's wet, windy or cold) and always follow their advice. They'll most likely be wearing high vis - so they should be easy to spot.
The Tail Runner stays right at the back of the field and should be the last person to cross the finish line ensuring that everyone is accounted for.
They are encouraged to carry a mobile phone in case of emergencies.
They let any marshal out on the course know that they can collect nearby signs and leave their post.
This role is compulsory in the UK but please note that not all events in our parkrun world have a tail runner.
Volunteers undertaking this role receive both a run credit and a volunteer credit.
A VI Guide accompanies a visually impaired parkrunner around the course and receives both a run credit and a volunteer credit when carrying out this role. This role can also be applied when supporting a volunteer with a visual impairment.
The Sign Language Support volunteer signs the new parkrunners’ brief and the pre-run brief for our deaf and hard of hearing participants.
The Timekeeper is responsible for recording the times of all finishers. This can be a high pressure role, particularly at our busier events.
For every runner that crosses the finish line on their own two feet, the timer will record that time using a timing device. This data is then combined with the data from the Barcode Scanners (see below). Our events are provided with multiple timers, so there will normally be someone operating a backup timer.
The Finish Tokens person is responsible for handing out finish position tokens to all finishers in the correct sequence. This role calls for nimble fingers and grace under pressure. They can be assisted by Finish Tokens Support.
At many events there are so many runners, the task of handing out finish position tokens would be too much for one person, so it is a double act, with Finish Tokens support working closely with Finish Tokens.
For example, they will prepare the next set of tokens for Finish Tokens, who won't have time to do this themselves. It's also reassuring for Finish Tokens to know that they're supported.
The Barcode Scanners are responsible for actually recording runners against their finish position tokens, handed out by Finish Tokens at the end of the funnel.
They scan in the runners personal barcode, followed by the barcode on the position token.
The Number Checker is responsible for recording (but not correcting) discrepancies that may arise between the timer and the numbers that are given out.
This role is slowly disappearing as we roll out new technologies to the events.
The Funnel manager is responsible for the smooth operation of the finish funnel.
It's vitally important to our system that runners stay in the same sequence after they cross the line, so we keep their time in sequence with their finish token.
So they're there to remind runners of where to go, help them if they pushed a bit too hard, and cheer them over the line. Described as a mix of school teacher and cheer leader!
The Results Processor is responsible for bringing together the times and positions and sending them off to parkrun HQ for publication using the parkrun online results processing wizard.
They also resolve any discrepancies that may arise in the results throughout the week.
The Warm Up Leader carries out a basic warm up routine to get both minds and bodies ready for our junior parkrun events.
Lead Bike cycles on ahead of the front runners to show them the way and to give other park users a friendly warning that hordes of runners are heading their way.
They will also lead the way for the lead runner so it goes without saying that the rider should be comfortable with the course and have a bike that is well up to the challenge. This role is contingent on the terrain of the event.
We strongly advise all bike riders to wear the appropriate safety gear, especially a properly fitted cycle helmet.
Typically, on a pre-nominated week each month the event announces a number of set pacer times.
Pacer volunteers then agree to identify themselves to the other runners (usually by wearing tabards or carrying pacer flags), and try as best they can, to run to the agreed time, as evenly paced as possible.
Pacers need to be very familiar with the course and ideally take on a time this is well within their ability.
Please note that not every event has pacers. Check your event's Future Roster and News Page for more information.
The Token Sorter is a behind the scenes role, meaning you could both run and perform this role.
At the end of the run, tokens will need to be sorted back into the correct order ready for next week.
The Communications person, also known as PR, this role involves writing or overseeing the publication of the run reports, and communicating with local media about the event, or otherwise communicating with the public.
The Volunteer Co-ordinator is a behind the scenes role, meaning you could both perform this role and run.
The Volunteer Co-ordinator is responsible for maintaining an events volunteer rosters and ensuring that there are enough people to fill all the roles each week.
The volunteer roster is managed through parkrun's online volunteer management wizard.
The Run Report Writer is a behind the scenes role, meaning you could both perform this role and run.
The role of Run Report Writer involves writing and uploading weekly event news reports to the event's news page.
Photographers take pictures of the event and upload them to the event's Flickr page.
Photographers of all abilities and with whatever equipment they have at their disposal are invited to take pictures at our events.
Anybody wanting to get their photographs uploaded to the event website, should in the first instance approach the event organisers who tell them how to upload new photos and see the parkrun photography and video policy.
Please see our Flickr Tips for more information about how to upload photos.
The Post Event Closedown is a behind the scenes role, meaning you could both perform this role and run.
After the run these volunteers help pack up all the equipment and clear away any litter.