This past spring, Tiare Baird was looking to get more involved in the Whistler community, so she started a search for volunteer opportunities.
She stumbled across an energetic Aussie (who also happened to be the Whistler parkrun Event Director) and her Saturday mornings haven’t been the same since, thanks to the people she’s met while volunteering!
After my first volunteer shift, the weeks went by and I volunteered in different roles. Then Mel asked me if I wanted to step in as Run Director! I was a bit hesitant at first, but I figure the parkrun community has always been so inviting so I didn’t want Mel’s vacation to stop a parkrun from happening.
The Whistler volunteers showed up and helped me volunteer as Run Director. After the run was winding down, a couple of British tourists came up to me and told me that I’d done a great job for my first time directing – and they had been to over 100 parkruns, so I believed them when they told me I should keep it up!
A few weeks later when it was Ironman weekend, I met some tourists that were visiting from Hawaii, where I had lived before I moved to Whistler. I was lucky that the following day the three tourists from Hawaii were happy to see me early in the morning when I was volunteering marking the Ironman competitors. There is a special bond you form when you live in a foreign land and you meet someone from your former home!
This past weekend, was a small but mighty bunch on this first crisp fall Saturday morning! There was a family from the UK and Scotland that were celebrating their Mom’s 70th birthday. This Grandmother had her 2 sons, 1 daughter in law, and 2 grandsons run in our parkrun.
After the run, the Scottish Grandmother was chatting with me about how she had been diagnosed with cancer more than a decade ago and how she has learned firsthand to live each day celebrating her family and the experiences she shares with them. I shared that I was Scottish in heritage and went to Edinburgh a few years ago to celebrate one of my friends 40th birthday.
Throughout our conversation this Scottish Nana reminded me of my own grandmother, and family members who have battled cancer. I thought of how the last time my Dad’s extended family got together was when my cousin died from colon cancer; and how my the last time my Mom’s extended family got together, was when my aunt was losing her battle to ovarian cancer.
So many memories flashed through my mind as I was talking with this Scottish Nana and I felt my eyes starting to water. So I stepped away from the conversation and started cleaning up, because I did not want to get emotional.
However, the Scottish Nana with a grandmother’s intuition came over to me and gave me a hug … and well it felt like my own grandmother was hugging me so yep the tears just started to flow down my cheeks!
So what I’m trying to say in sharing my experiences over the past few months, is that thanks to the Whistler parkrun community I’ve experienced so many positive memories in this small little community up in the mountains of BEAUTIFUL British Columbia!
When asked why do I parkrun? The simple answer is a run always makes the start to my day better!
But volunteering in a local community combined with meeting tourists from all over the world reminds me of how small the world actually is and how the simple action of putting one foot in front of the other can, remarkably, bring so many people together!
So I would encourage you all to come to Whistler parkrun, because you never know who you will meet or what you will experience on our Lost Lake trails. Hope to meet each of you soon in Whistler!