Levengrove – a tale of two tails

Hello folks. Crumble here again. I’m back in action after an unplanned break last week.

Apparently it was too wet, wild and windy for me to get to parkrun last weekend. Quite a few local events were cancelled, including Levengrove, but the human still managed to get to Drumpellier Country parkrun and left me at home. Can you believe that? He said it was to save me from the inevitable post run bath but I don’t believe him. Anyway I quite enjoy them.

On to this week. My first ever parkrun volunteering stint and at one of my favourite courses, Levengrove, where you may remember I was the first canine finisher at their inaugural event. As you know, I’ve been to a lot of parkruns and had been meaning to volunteer for a while so it was great to finally get round to it. Given the number of late cancellations this week due to black ice we picked our parkrun well.

I was going to be the tail this week. That pun’s too obvious for even me to use. My job this week was to be the last finisher. I would have to put all my competitive instincts on ice this week. Could I succeed? Or was it Mission Impawssible?

Volunteering is a critical part of parkrun and without volunteers parkrun simply wouldn’t happen. Every week between 750 and 1,000 people volunteer at parkruns across Scotland in a number of roles. I decided I wanted to become part of that gang of hi-vis heroes.

The 2019 parkrun survey found that 84% of volunteers said parkrun improved their happiness. So it’s not only supporting and giving back it’s good for your mental health and well-being too. I’m definitely up for some of that. I’m already a very happy doggo so the prospect of being even happier sounded great.

The team at Levengrove is fantastic. Their enthusiasm, community engagement and social media comms are all right up there with the best and it’s hard to believe it’s still in its infancy. Today’s RD Anna is brimming with energy, enthusiasm, good humour and all that’s great about parkrun. If I hadn’t read it I would never have guessed it was her RD debut. It’s been great to see their efforts rewarded with such great local participation and interest with over 100 runners turning up at every event so far and a bumper 218 for their first event of the new year. They really are the top dog. It was great to see so many walkers, buggies and other dogs.

We got up just before 7:30 and were on the road by 8. Can’t turn up late for my first big responsibility. We got there in a plenty time for a little stroll before we were on duty. We went to see Dumbarton Rock and had a stroll on the beach as well as my morning constitutional (TMI sorry). According to the local museum, Dumbarton Rock is a volcanic plug of basalt created 334 million years ago. That’s even older than dad!

Once that was taken care of it was time to head to the park for our briefing. Finish last. Have fun. Encourage the other runners. Allow other runners and dogs to lap me if needed. Don’t overtake anyone. Smile. Easy! I wasn’t trusted to do it on my own though. Jim wanted to share the limelight. We also had a bonus extra tail walker this week, Joan. I guess dad can be a bit of a liability at times so it’s only right that they assigned a responsible adult to keep him in check.

We had a great time. We walked all the way round and got to chat to some great folk. We met Eilidh and David at the start, Paddy, Peter and the Dows. We chatted to Daren most of the way round. He’s a top lad and it was great to catch up. He’s the best photographer in the West and dad has met him at quite a few local races. We also caught up with two brand new parkrun converts who were there for the first time and loved it too. It was good fun being double lapped by a lot of speedy runners and great to see Paddy Gibbons in the Helensburgh vest continuing his great form with an impressive course PB of 18:09. We completed today in 58:54. My slowest parkrun but one of my most enjoyable ones. We loved the park last time and got to see it in more detail today. It’s really stunning, nestling between two rivers, with such beautiful views and gardens. Dumbarton Rock is stunning from every single angle.

They had a record turnout today of 278 which was incredible. There’s something pretty special going on at Levengrove. They also have some of the best and most enthusiastic marshals we’ve ever seen.

I really loved volunteering today. It was such a wag. If you’ve never done it before I would heartily recommend it. Great fun, lots of support from the rest of the volunteers and I loved encouraging the runners round. It also gives you a very different and equally great perspective on parkrun. And since dad likes numbers and stats we think I might now be the fastest as well as the slowest dog in Levengrove’s short history so far. The best thing about being tail is you get to run and volunteer so you get a credit for both.

Don’t think I’m getting a parkrun next weekend as the human said something about his long marathon training run bla bla bla being on Saturday but I’m tail again very soon. In fact I’m volunteering again at Queen’s Park on 1 February. Hopefully my wee pal Charlie will be on the roster too. Puppy power.

Crumble out x

Ready for action
Runners assemble
Course map
The fountain with the Rock behind it
Step back in time
On the beach
View across the River Leven
Dumbarton Rock
Dog at work

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