Saturday morning is one area of my life during which I have a pretty standard routine (and it’s one that I am pretty happy with!). The alarm goes off at 8:00am and I roll out of bed, stick on my running gear and jog down to Pollok Park for my weekly dose of parkrun. Having the chance to run alongside so many other likeminded people on a weekly basis in a free, timed event is phenomenal – and is something which I have undoubtedly taken for granted. This week therefore I decided to approach the event in a different way and give something back – I opted to volunteer. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I have been taking part in parkrun events for over four years now and, prior to this morning, had never contributed to the running of the event. It was about time this changed! With the final race of the Polaroid Series taking place on Sunday I knew that I wanted to take Saturday off and give myself a chance to rest. By helping out at parkrun I would still get my Saturday morning fix of talking about running whilst managing to avoid the temptation to go out and run myself. This is how I found myself this morning wrapping up in my waterproofs – which proved essential – and fishing my camera out of my cupboard: I was to be the run photographer!
As I waited at the Burrell Collection for my fellow volunteers I definitely noticed the change of approach to my morning. Part of me longed to be warming up with the other runners and I missed the familiar feeling of nerves that always show themselves before any timed run. As I got chatting to the other volunteers however these feelings disappeared and I found myself excited at the prospect of being part of the organisation of the event.
I made my way to the start for a couple of quick pre-race snaps and then wandered over to my designated position. I would be waiting at the mid-way point of the race where those runners on their second lap would turn off into the final straight. This way I would be able to catch every runner twice – giving me two chances to get a decent picture! I took up position alongside my pal Dave who was volunteering as a marshal and we waited for the front-runners to appear.
Right on cue Bellahouston Road Runner Bruce Carmichael appeared around the corner having already carved out a decent lead and fellow Road Runner Russell Whittington followed shortly after. Behind the leaders the numbers came thick and fast and I realised how difficult it would be to get decent pictures of everyone. With so many people taking part, and in the poor conditions, it was proving tricky to catch decent shots of people so I found myself essentially just pointing and clicking away in hope of landing myself a few clear images.
As the runners flooded by I realised how much I was actually enjoying what I was doing. There was a steady stream of gratitude from the runners and, despite the best efforts of the weather to dampen spirits, it was clear that everyone was enjoying themselves (even through the struggle of dragging themselves around a hilly 5K route!).
After a good hour of snapping away, my time as photographer was up. I joined the rest of the marshals and the running Harriers for a well-earned cup of coffee in the Burrell Collection. I thoroughly enjoyed my morning as a volunteer and am looking forward to doing it again – I will definitely not be waiting another four years before the next time!