So on Tuesday 19th May I got to attend a very exciting media launch in London’s beautiful Hyde Park, courtesy of Helen of HelBels who managed to get me invited along for which I cannot thank her enough!!! I also got to meet the lovely Adele – find a link to her blog here
So what is Join In? I hear you cry, well I will tell you (even if you didn’t actually cry out or haven’t clicked on the very helpful hyperlinks above! ;-)) Join In are a charity whose mission is to encourage people to volunteer and help support their local sporting groups. It is a London 2012 legacy charity (thank you very much the Olympic games :-)) which is funded by government grant and their official partners BT and Intersport.
The Run It campaign, to put it simply, is to get more people volunteering specifically in the area of running! Be it for informal running groups (e.g. Parkrun), athletics teams or marathons. None of these events would be able to take place if it weren’t for people volunteering to help out – in whatever capacity that they are able to – marshalling, coaching, painting the club house, making sandwiches, taking subs… literally, the possibilities for volunteering are endless and make such a huge difference!!!
This was an amazing first event to attend, even though I personally have nothing to compare it to, I felt it was a very friendly, sociable and inclusive group. It was fun and informative. After initially arriving and milling around meeting people and saying “hello”, receiving our very lovely purple Join In t-shirts, there was an introductory few words from Join In’s Director of Sport and former 5km world record holder David Moorcroft. He brought across just how important volunteering is and one sentence which really sticks in my head is “If you love running, help others run”
Supporters of the campaign, who were in attendance, were 10,000m 2014 European Championships Gold medal winner Jo Pavey (a massive inspiration to me!) and second fastest British female runner over a marathon Mara Yamauchi – both again highlighted just how important it is to have volunteers in the sport, without volunteers neither of the them would have had the amazing sporting careers and achievements that they do!
After the initial chat, we couldn’t go to a running based media launch without actually doing any running could we? So we ventured outside, where fortunately for us the weather held out! Here I got to do the most exciting thing which was take a photo of Mara Yamauchi and Jo Pavey together, for Mara on her camera!!! I hope it was in focus!!! Slightly overawed!
So our warm up was led by Carlos from Intersport – this *ahem* gentle warm up was quite intense for the likes of me your amateur jogger, but was good fun! Then we headed off on a 5km run around Hyde Park – I kept at the back with Helen and a few others and the ’35 minute pace setter’. There was a couple of people marshalling (see – good examples of volunteering!) but somehow Helen and I managed to get a bit lost and we’re positive we did about 5.5km – but hey ho whatever I WON!!! No – not like that, I was never gong to beat the likes of Jo Pavey was I? – What I did win was a fun little competition. We had to guess how long it would take us to run the 5km, I said 00:34:30 and it took me 00:33:57 – so only 33 seconds out and the closest guess! Go me!!! So I won the bragging rights there – I know how slow… I mean how fast I am!!! 😛
Afterwards I got to chat with David Moorcroft, who is lovely and friendly, and I mentioned my interest in running – and volunteering – and it’s ability to help those of us with mental health issues. He introduced me to Will – who discussed with me Hidden Diamonds – Uncovering the True Value of Sport Volunteers. It is quite overwhelming the difference that volunteering can make – not only to a community but to individual people. In some cases it can be literally life changing!
Right at the end we did get a few minutes to say “Hi” to Jo and we quickly discussed kids and running, but her taxi had arrived and she needed to go, but she was kind enough to have a photo taken with me.
All in all – it was a brilliant event and I am so pleased that Helen was able to take me along. It’s definitely made me consider volunteering again soon – at the moment my aim is to volunteer at Parkrun each time I complete 10 runs – I’ve currently run 16 so only 4 more and time to volunteer again. The whole thing is brilliant, as volunteering inspires people to run and vice versa, this leads on to making friends and becoming part of a network of people and the running community.
Now before I sign off, you may be wondering about the posts title, well as we were getting ready to leave Jo was asking the event organisers if they’d seen her black trousers – as like most of us she’d layered up and worn other trousers over her running ones as it was quite chilly, so one of the last things I heard before I left was “has anyone found Jo’s trousers?” and indeed I still don’t know… 😛
There are currently 4,000 opportunities to volunteer on the Join In website – go look now – watch the video – be inspired!!!
Summary of contact details for Join In and their Run it campaign
Website Join In – https://www.joininuk.org/
Website Run It – https://www.joininuk.org/run-it/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/joininuk
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/joininuk
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/JoinInUK
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/joininuk/
Also, if you’re looking to setup a club Join In can help with that too! Check out Club Hub!
Thank you for reading – please like, comment and share this post – it’s so important to keep getting the message out there! Let’s get more people volunteering! 🙂 xxx
Some images courtesy of https://www.joininuk.org and the rest are my own