Parkrun provides clarification on fake controversial volunteering credit email that spread online
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Parkrun has confirmed that a screenshot of an email circulating online claiming a change to how volunteer credits work is fake.
Hundreds of thousands of people take part in Parkrun events every week across the United Kingdom and work to achieve as many finish or volunteering credits as possible.
When Parkrun participants reach a milestone number - 25, 50, 100, 250, 500 - they are able to purchase exclusive kit to celebrate their achievement.
Everyone who finishes the event and scans their personal barcode receives a run credit and those who volunteer receive a volunteer credit for their work.
Parkrun operates across the world but is a registered UK charity and every parkrun is run by a team of volunteers who give up their time to allow participants to get active and reap benefits from the famous sense of community at events.
These volunteer roles include run director, timekeeper, tail walker and barcode scanner which are compulsory for a parkrun event to go ahead.
Should an event fill all these roles, participants can volunteer as a pacer which involves running the course at a target time to motivate others. Doing so would give that person a run credit and a volunteer credit.
Parkrun explains a pacer as: "We use the term Pacer to identify those accompanying a walk and/or a walk/run group. Those volunteering as Pacers agree to identify themselves to the other participants and try as best they can, to complete the course in an agreed time or pace."
What did the fake email say?
An email circulating on social media claimed that parkrun would be changing the rules surrounding volunteering so that pacers at events would no longer receive both a run credit and a volunteering credit.
Instead, pacers would receive just a run credit in order to encourage more people to volunteer for 'more important' volunteering roles - such as timekeepers, tail walkers and barcode scanners.
The email claimed this would come into play from Saturday, May 20. However, this is not the case and the email is fake.
What has Parkrun HQ said about the fake email?
Parkrun HQ would not provide an official comment on the fake email but confirmed to NationalWorld they were aware of its existence and that the content in the screenshot was false.
The information did not come from an official source and parkrun HQ reiterated its stance that all forms of volunteering at events are equal to each other.
How do I take part in a parkrun?
Anyone can take part in a parkrun whether they choose to run, walk or jog.
There are 1,777 courses in the United Kingdom and over 350,000 people of different fitness levels and backgrounds take part every week.
The vast majority of parkrun events take place on Saturday at 9 am, although a small number do start at a different time.
Participants sign-up online via the parkrun website where they are given a barcode which is taken on the day, either printed or on a phone, and then scanned at the finish line to produce a result.
Should you wish to volunteer at a parkrun, you should contact the specific parkrun directly via a contact email available on the event homepage.
The Parkrun website reads: "There are lots of reasons why you may want to give volunteering a go, perhaps you’re new to the area and want to meet people, or maybe you’re looking to challenge yourself to learn more skills, or feel part of the parkrun community. Volunteering also gives you a volunteer credit, counting towards the parkrun milestone t-shirts.
"No matter the reason, we’d love to see you in high-vis!"
You can explore a map of all UK parkruns on their website.