Tears of joy as Harlow parkrun returns

Athletics / Tue 27th Jul 2021 at 01:26pm

AFTER a sixteen month hiatus, Harlow parkrun resumed on Saturday morning.

It had been quite a wait, but despite the weather, 181 runners, joggers, walkers, strollers took part in the 5k journey round the town park.

This would not have been possible without the core team that organises everything.

We asked Course Director, Lee Webber to reflect on the day.

Lee said: “

I obviously didn't get much sleep Friday night, but met up with a few at 7.15am to get the course set up.

We then bumped into hello director Tracie Cook as we made our way to the start area, and she had tears in her eyes. She was feeling quite emotional. 
The team all rallied around, getting ready as the volunteers began to arrive. 

It was lovely to see John Allum, Martin Mitchell, John Gillespie, Tom and Brenda Freeman. I've seen them on occasions throughout the break, but these guys have been missing this just as much, if not more than the rest of us.

Sadly, Roy was away this week so we didn't have the complete 'Dream Team' but he will be back to set up and Marshal on Roy's Hill again this Saturday. 

Due to 'Covid Framework ' set by parkrun, we now have to limit the time people are in close proximity to each other,  so marshal brief, first timers brief, and the main run brief are now all kept to under two minutes each so it strips things back to a minimum,  but we will still be able to add a bit of personality to it all.

"We had 28 volunteers, and 181 participants which isn't bad considering there was a risk of thunder, and the rain that began to fall as people would have been looking out of their bedroom window for the first time that day!

I made sure the timekeepers were ready....I did the 3,2,1 countdown...the GO!!!!!!!

That is when it finally hit me, watching all the regular faces, (and some new too) all passing me at the start line. I got the chance to realise that 'this is what it is all about'

I felt a mixture of all kinds of emotions and my wife would tell you, I don't normally do those!

It was time to make sure the volunteer scanners knew how to use the 'parkrun Volunteer app'. We had six in total, three of those had tried before at the junior event, and three were totally new to it.

As Run Director and results processor, the new app did make me slightly concerned.  We are used to the reliable stopwatches and scanners we have so often used before.

The extended finish funnel was set up, the timekeepers were ready, the tokens were in order to give out, it was time for the Runners to start returning. 

The look on people's faces as they crossed the line....I could see they were so pleased that we were using the summer course which has the famous pitch and putt hill twice 

"We had young, elderly, toddlers in pushchairs, and dogs and I'd say that everybody there could feel the great atmosphere that we had been starved of for so long. There were plenty of options for scanning, so there were no queues.

Once everybody was finished, the 'app volunteers' scanned our QR code, the results then needed a tweak on my mobile (1 person unable to scan) and I had processed the results by 10:40.

"We had more volunteers packing away the equipment and placing things in the three trolleys, then we were off to the lock up where I had the feeling of satisfaction from a great morning, which was made so by the wonderful volunteers, and from the runners and walkers that I knew were on their way home feeling proud of themselves too for what they had achieved. 

Parkrun, it is definitely the best way to start the weekend !

For more details on Harlow Parkrun, go to https://www.parkrun.org.uk/harlow/

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