Sunday, 3 October 2010

Tail running

After the incident at Parkrun last week where the finish area was packed up before the last runner had crossed the finish line I decided to action something I had been considering for some time. I emailed Linda Bussey to offer mine and Dave's services as sweepers or tail runners as my 'thank you for volunteering' email aptly titled it!

Linda replied to my email accepting my offer and saying it was a brilliant idea. She has been away for the last few weekends and was not going to be there this week, giving consideration to that and of course, my injury I toyed with the idea of whether or not to go and 'sweep' this week or simply carry out my usual marshal duty. I made the decision to go ahead with the 'sweeping'. Went on Ebay and searched for 'high vis dog coats', ordered Dave a 'marshal jacket' and looked forward to it, run/walk, hopefully would be perfect in helping with my recovery.

The coat for Dave didn't arrive in time for Saturday but hopefully it should be here for next week. So, how did it go? Fairly well. Obviously it is going to be a learning experience for a few weeks. We positioned ourselves at the back of the pack and off they went, on the first lap the back runner overtook to leave a track suited lady in front of us, all going well, a really steady jog ensured we stayed a fair distance away from her, one of my concerns is not to make the back runner feel intimidated or pressured. Up the 'teeny tiny' hill we went for the first time still keeping our distance, upon us came the left turn to signal the start of the second lap when much to my surprise the lady we were following carried on up the hill - panic set in, we weren't behind the back runner at all, how could this be, my heart sunk and I began to speed up in an attempt to catch the lady who had overtaken her. All the while thoughts that this was a no win situation loomed around my head. How on earth does one know who is taking part in Parkrun and who isn't? Anyway not too much longer and I was back behind the back runner, much to my delight she had now overtaken someone else and this someone else was the lady from last week who had endured having to crossing the line as the finish was being dismantled. I rested my laurels on the fact that she had returned despite probably feeling disappointed last week.

We will continue to learn from our experiences, and in future I will ask the race director to request that the runners give the tail runners a wide berth as at one point a chap came a little too close on a bend causing me to panic a little and in trying to get Dave as close to me as I could I tripped over him! I can't see who is coming up behind me. No harm done but it could so easily have resulted in us tripping the runner up or me standing on Dave or worse! Another lesson learned this week is that we need to take along a dish and some water so that Dave can have a well earned drink afterwards.

All in all our first duties went really well. Let's hope that it continues to do so and becomes beneficial both for Parkrun and Dave's exercise regime!

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