Six-thirty on a Saturday morning. It’s cold, dark and the rain is hitting the conservatory roof so hard it sounds like there’s a giant-fry-up going on outside. Time to get up and check Woodhouse Moor isn’t under a foot of water, well, we don’t want to let a bit of weather get in the way of our weekly parkrun!
The park isn’t usually under water, well, not much anyway. Sometimes there are puddles, and the puddles join up to make mini lakes, but we just describe them as a new feature of the course. The brave run through, the not-so-brave skirt round the edges where the slippy, sticky mud lurks. We have an extra-large brush we use to push the water away, though it sneakily finds its way into other puddles.
This week, the joined-up puddles conspired to catch everyone, though the deluge that had formed them hid while our 305 runners made their way around the 5km course. It returned with a vengeance just as people finished and were waiting patiently in line. One scanner packed up, unable to cope with the wet, then another, leaving a long queue for the remaining working scanner. The runners were steaming, they weren’t cross, they were actually so wet and so warm, they made steam. It was impressive.
A team of a dozen volunteers, rain dripping from hats, hoods, sleeves, umbrellas, scanners, finish tokens, smiled their way through it. The runners smiled too, well, what can you do? We all volunteered and no-one is forcing anyone to run. I was particularly impressed with a family of four who had chosen this ark-building day to run their first parkrun. As they stood steaming at the finish, they grinned from ear to ear, declaring they’d loved it and would be back next week, whatever the weather! So will everyone else, so will the team of volunteers, weather is definitely no obstacle to volunteering or parkrunning.