Lliswerry runners and parkrun volunteer help at 250 events

A NEWPORT woman who wanted to “give something back” recently celebrated volunteering at 250 events.

It all started in 2011 – Sue Hotchkiss participated in Tredegar House parkrunsharing the results with her daughters who raced in Birmingham and Glasgow.

She appreciated the inclusive weekly run for encouraging personal achievement “in a friendly and safe environment” and for its social aspect – chatting with friends at the Brewhouse cafe after the run.

“In order to give something back to the local community, I started volunteering at parkrun,” Ms Hotchkiss said.

She then joined Lliswerry Runners and helped volunteer with their junior parkrun which was the first of its kind in Wales, launched by group chairman Chris Davies in 2013.

The 2K event is at Tredegar House every Sunday for juniors aged 4-14, on a secure course. Adults are welcome to join their children.

“As Event Manager, I am responsible for liaising with the fabulous National Trust team, course security and organizing volunteers, Ms Hotchkiss said.

“The Weekly Race Director is responsible for event security and oversees procedures during the event.

“They greet runners at the start, acknowledge visitors and volunteers, and communicate all important messages – making sure everyone understands the pakrun and stays safe.”

Ms. Hotchkiss has served as director over 100 times, but has also contributed in other aspects. She’s been marshal at 41 events, tail walker at 31, scanned barcodes at 20 – and more, all adding up to a grand 250 events.

Despite more than a decade of volunteering, she remains passionate.

“I love volunteering,” Ms. Hotchkiss said.

“I never tire of seeing juniors racing for fun, giving the family the opportunity to participate and seeing how juniors start and progress to excellence in other sporting pursuits.

“Volunteering has given me the opportunity to try out many roles, meet thousands of people, and ultimately give something back to the community.”

A highlight for Ms. Hotchkiss was the themed junior parkruns, including:

  • Christmas races, with Newport Social Cycling donning Santa costumes to ride, followed by Christmas carols and mince pies;
  • Pirate, Easter and Halloween themed weekend organized by Tredegar House;
  • The St. David’s race with Welsh cakes and daffodils for the finishers.

Ms Hotchkiss added that it has been a “privilege” to volunteer and “hopefully improve the health and well-being of the local community” – something she will continue to do.

“I want to give a big thank you to the core team of regular volunteers who show up week in and week out, volunteering their time and making Newport parkrun so popular and easy for me to organise,” Ms Hotchkiss continued.

“We love introducing families to the parkrun family community and it’s even better when they come back and volunteer too.”

Maria R. Newman