As you know, I absolutely love parkrun and would really encourage anyone to go along. There is always a tail walker, so you will never finish last, but I think the worry of being near the back still puts people off.
Enter the parkwalk initiative! Initially for their birthday month of October, it now seems set to stay which I think is fantastic. I was at Panshanger a lot during September and October (3 in September and 2 in October) and on one of those days I volunteered at parkwalker. I ran there and back for my usual parkrun sandwich.
Moving my plait so you can see the writing on the back!
When I arrived it turned out I was the first person to put on the new blue bib! There was a prompt card to look at- basically my job was to walk around the course, chat to other walkers and stay ahead of the tail walker. Much easier than the tail walker role as at Panshanger the tail walker has a walkie-talkie and has to check in with the RD at various points and also collect up signs and cones.
A few of my club mates were doing the London marathon the day after, so they had come along to walk as well, and so it turned out to be a really great occasion.
I walked with one of my club mates (Nicola), while a few others walked a bit quicker ahead of us.
It helped that it was a gorgeous day, and Panshanger park was looking glorious in early autumnal sunshine. But it was wonderful to walk around and chat. We stayed fairly far ahead of the tail walker, getting to the end in 53 minutes with the tail walker finishing at 57 minutes. I think this would encourage people to walk, as we did not have the feeling that the event was being closed down as we passed.
I have seen some negative comments online regarding the time that volunteers will be out for, but as the park walkers need to keep ahead of the tail walker I don’t think this will be an issue. The more we can encourage people to be active and enjoy outdoor spaces, the better.
Have you taken part in parkwalk?