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Volunteer Update - February 2020

Volunteer Update

Operational emails are sent to those who have volunteered at a parkrun event within the last 12 months.

In order to best support parkrun volunteers around the world, we have developed an online operating manual, called the Volunteer Hub, where you can find everything you need to know in order to carry out your volunteer roles.

Once a month we will be highlighting a few key points and referring back to relevant content in the Volunteer Hub itself.

This month we would like to talk about two key areas :

  1. The Virtual Volunteer timing and scanning application
  2. Cancellations

1) Virtual Volunteer App

The Virtual Volunteer is a mobile application that runs on Apple and Android smartphones and can be used by anyone when they are volunteering as the Timekeeper or Barcode Scanner at their event.

We introduced it at the end of 2017 and are extremely pleased to see it being used at parkruns all over the world. It has now been tested across a huge range of different conditions and over the last two years has been continually updated, to the point where we’re confident it will work in any parkrun environment.

By the end of 2020, every new parkrun (except for custodial events) in the world will be launched as ‘app only’, using it exclusively to record participation. This is key to helping us scale as we launch hundreds of new parkrun locations every year, as it reduces the cost of starting and supporting events, removes the environmental impact of using dedicated devices, and significantly reduces the logistics around the provision of timing and scanning equipment.

This app is so important to the sustainable future of parkrun that we are encouraging all events to consider using the Virtual Volunteer instead of traditional hardware. You can download the app via the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, and by using it you will be supporting the future of parkrun.

You can read more about the Virtual Volunteer, and find the link to download it for free, in the Virtual Volunteer principle.

2) Cancellations

With in excess of 2,000 event locations around the world, we now operate across hugely diverse geographies, climates, and populations. Therefore we often find our events impacted by conditions outside of our control, most recently these have included bushfires in Australia, floods and storms in the UK, and the Corona Virus in Singapore and Italy.

We are often asked whether or not we should cancel events en-masse across entire regions or countries, and what our central position is regarding a specific situation. However, it’s important to understand that in general this is not a practical solution and would typically result in far more cancellations than necessary. We, therefore, empower individual teams to consider the local situation, putting the safety of their community first, and encourage them to liaise closely with any stakeholders when making a decision.

At every parkrun event, the Run Director on the day has total authority to cancel an event, up to or even after the start. We will always support cancellations on the grounds of health and safety, and urge teams to cancel their events if they are in any doubt as to the risk presented by conditions at the time.

You can read more about our cancellation policy in the Cancellations principle.

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