What it means to experience a ‘volunteer’s high’
Date: May 23, 2018
Author: Greg Shapter, Executive Officer, CRRMH
If you had asked me two years ago if I was a runner, I would have laughed.
In May 2016 my son invited me to a parkrun event in Curl Curl. I thought I would go with him and he could run and I would walk (I was sure I could walk 5km). The start came and I started jogging and to my surprise I ended up jogging the whole 5km – I was hooked on running!
I have parkrun (and my son) to thank for starting me on a journey of running. parkrun is a free, weekly, timed 5km run/jog/walk held every Saturday across the world and at over 300 communities in Australia.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of parkrun. Here in Orange, we have a very dedicated team of volunteer event directors and run directors who along with at least six volunteers each week, make it possible for the runners, joggers and walkers of all ages to come along and enjoy a 5km event every Saturday morning.
Without volunteers it could not happen. Like so many other community activities, parkrun relies on volunteers to operate each and every week of the year.
I love to volunteer at parkrun- it is my opportunity to support the parkrun community, to give back, and believe it or not it is fun! I love to see people of all ages and abilities getting out and having a go and enjoying it.
Through my involvement with Orange parkrun, I joined Orange Runners Club and found another group of like-minded individuals who enjoy getting out and challenging themselves and encouraging others.
Runners talk about a “runner’s high” after running, I find that volunteering gives you a “volunteer’s high”. I have heard other volunteers talk about getting more back than they put in. It is true. Running and volunteering, whether at parkrun or Orange Runners Club has not only improved my physical health but my mental health too. It is well known that physical activity and social engagement can have a positive impact on your mental health and from personal experience I know that is true.