I have been a parkrunner since the inaugural run at Tralee parkrun in January 2015. I have over 60 parkruns completed, almost 20 of those at different parkruns around Ireland and 70 volunteering credits to date. I approached parkrun Ireland in the summer of 2016 about setting up Tralee junior parkrun and we launched in December 2016.
As a core team member with both the 5k parkrun and 2k junior parkrun, it brings me a huge sense of pride in seeing people of all ages benefiting both physically and mentally enjoying a FREE event that is community led. Whether you run or volunteer, it is a wonderful feeling to give back to something that you enjoy.
Can leadership be taught? If so, how?
I think leadership can be taught/guided. We show children that they can do ALL voluntary roles at junior parkrun and by giving children responsibility, the hope is that they will learn to take ownership for their event. Also it boosts a child’s self-esteem and self-worth when given a job and responsibility.
If you could wind back the clock to when you were starting your career what advice would you give yourself?
If I could wind back the clock, I would have liked to have got involved with parkrun earlier. It has to be the BEST community event I have ever been a part of. The feeling every weekend after a parkrun is an immense sense of PRIDE. If it is the Saturday 5k parkrun and I have ran – I am very proud of myself or if it’s the Sunday junior parkrun and I’m helping out I am so proud of being part of this great event and what it brings to so many children and families in our community.
When you are filling a leadership role in your organisation what qualities do you look for from candidates?
As we are a voluntary group we don’t turn away anyone! But in a good leader we hope that they can take control if they are in charge and be a good communicator & train volunteers in to their roles. To be able to put children and parents at ease and warmly welcome everyone. Thankfully we have had exceptional leaders helping every week.
If you had to leave your organisation for 1 year what would you ask of your team and what advice would you give them?
I am very fortunate that I can be away any weekend and the volunteers we have in our core team are very capable in looking after things without me.
What leaders outside your own organisation do you admire and why?
I admire Paul Sinton-Hewitt who started parkrun in 2004. A great leader and one I would love to meet!
What are a few resources (books, blogs, podcasts, courses etc) you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
I have never used any resources!