Anyway - when I first saw the list of questions for this interview, it brought the thoughts of an interrogation to mind.
Then I got comfortable with the idea, and started talking........perhaps a little too much, under the pressure!
You'll tell me if I come across as a little bit mad......you know.....like Father Ted, or Dougal...........or even Father Jack........[nervous laughter]
I wouldn't want that to happen in this interview, at all, at all, at all.
No....it should be serious and have no humour in it whatsoever.
My answer to this question has always wanted to be......and you'll have to use your imagination here.
Imagine the year 180 A.D.
A man stands in the middle of the Coliseum in Rome.
The man looks remarkably like Russell Crowe!
He removes his helmet,
turns towards the Emperor,
and says - in best "hero of the movie" voice..........and this is the good bit!!
“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius,
Commander of the Armies of the North,
General of the Felix Legions,
Loyal servant to the true emperor,
Father to a murdered son,
husband to a murdered wife.
And I will have my vengeance,
in this life or the next.”
I’ve always wanted that to be the answer to a question about what my names is!
== Editor's Note - we think he's referring to the movie Gladiator - and this scene in particular. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i0u4jFmE78 ) ==
However, it is an old movie (2000) so these days, I introduce myself as:
Jon Snow, First of His Name,
Defender of the Wall
Slayer of White Walkers and the Army of the Dead
Protector of the Realm
The King in the North.
Then I mutter something about one of the seasons, usually Winter, approaching soon.
You might have guessed that with such long answers I have trouble filling in forms, like passport applications, and usually stick with the short form: Declan Hynes.
Club: Celbridge AC – Fit4Life
Age: Age is a number. I have been on this earth as it has rotated around the sun on a number of occasions. We’ll leave that discussion where it is, but my hair colour would indicate that I’m not 21 anymore, and that it is simply too late to start with the Grecian 2000. Have I deflected the question enough yet?
Home parkrun: Castletown, but my first "home parkrun" was Griffeen. I think that the transfer happened under the Bosman ruling because no money changed hands.
Occupation: Engineer, though I have seen some creative descriptions, such as:
Editor of text files. Some days they are Word files, some days they are Excel. Other days they have different file extensions. Some days there's no files at all as you are editing items on a web-page.
Creator of plans: Some days the boxes and dates go in the right place and the connections make sense....other days you have to move the lines and the boxes and the dates around until you hope they make sense.
Mover of clouds: Some days they are Amazonian and occasionally they are Azure. They are, I imagine, grey, though never fluffy.
Searcher of knowledge: Most days it is google. Some days Bing. It is never Yahoo!
I enjoy it!
Number of runs:
104 officially, but I've forgotten my barcode a few times, and I've also ran parkruns and gotten to the finish at a time on a wet Saturday when the volunteers had put everything into the back of their cars and were heading home. I didn't want to bother them with scanning my barcode, so it will never count. However it means I’m really grateful to the folks who do Tail Walker now , so that this can't happen anyone again!
Favourite volunteer role:
Shouting at people in a loud voice, in a field, on a Saturday is my favourite role.
I know that this may come as a shock, but people actually like being shouted at, in a field, on a Saturday morning.
It took me a little while to get used to at parkrun....the being shouted at. But I appreciated it when people roared and screamed their heads off at me....... so now I try to do it.
Some people call it being a marshal. I think of it as shouting at people in a loud voice, in a field, on a Saturday.
Can I ask you "Where else are you thanked for shouting at people who are going past you"? If you did it anywhere else in the town, the county, the country, or indeed the world, at any other time, people would be unlikely to express their gratitude, and indeed their displeasure may be more apparent than not.
I recall acting as a volunteer marshal in Griffeen on one particular occasion - at the 2nd bridge if people know the course. At around 30 or 35 minutes into it, the numbers of people thinned out a little, so I only started to get a little more enthusiastic. When I got back to the base camp at the end of the event, one of the other volunteers (Gary) mentioned to me that a parkrunner had said to him, that it was only for the Marshal at that Bridge, otherwise they would not have gotten around.
I don't know who the parkrunner was, and I may never know, but I made someone's parkrun a little brighter that day.....so my favourite volunteer role is still shouting at people, in a loud voice, in a field, on a Saturday morning.
I've done the Run Director a few times....and I'm still working at getting better at breaking the ice with people and making them comfortable with the different roles, and making me comfortable with the co-ordination. However, it is the bit in the middle of the Run Director’s day, the "briefing" that I consider the best part.
It allows me to continue shouting at people, in a loud voice, in a field, on a Saturday morning.
How has parkrun changed your running:
Well, I was doing no running, or fitful at best, before parkrun, and now I have a collection of t-shirts from events over the past 4 years. So parkrun has not changed my running, but made me start running, and along with the folks on a Wednesday at Fit4Life in Celbridge A.C., kept me running.
I'd love there to be a more technical answer about gait patterns, or a more inspirational answer than that, but there isn’t.
I also find I run happier when people in Hi-Viz shout encouragement at me, loudly, in a field, on a Saturday.
That might just be me though, and not a common thing with people.
My long-suffering spouse (and I think that she is looking to change her name to that by deed poll) noticed that a cousin of hers was regularly out in St. Anne's on a Saturday morning doing a run in a park. We'd be curious about it and agree that it is a "good thing" and that we would "do it soon". And it stayed like that until I was unceremoniously informed one Friday evening that it was going to happen the following morning. Thus I was behind the wheel of a car the next day heading towards Griffeen in late November 2013.
It was a scary and intimidating place...we saw all of these people abandon their cars around the place as we tried to figure out how to get to the start and I clutched my barcode nervously wondering what to do as all of these "proper runners" did warm-ups. I'd not done a proper warm-up, aside from before a 5-a-side, in decades! People all had the right gear as well.....it was simply terrifying.
The briefing by the team was brilliant - and away we went. I bravely thought beforehand that I'd be able to run most of it - but ended up doing a run-walk for most of the way around - but was exhilarated by it. There was lots of colour, people were really great and encouraging - shouting at you, loudly, in a field on a Saturday morning. I fell in love with the idea of it immediately. I knew that I wanted to come back.
The thing is, that we've not yet made it to St. Anne's - and we know that it is supposed to be a flat, fast course.....but soon Jamie, soon!
What do you like about parkrun:
I'm not sure that I can narrow it down to one thing, but if I had to.....it is the joy that is created on a Saturday morning. We are all told, and we all know that we should eat healthy and exercise more, but finding an outlet for it and a way to make it fun is a great thing and one of the best things about parkrun. I'd have to say as well that the creation of a community and the friendships around it are also things that I find magical.
What the guys in Griffeen did, in bringing along teas, coffees and the containers of boiling water....just so that people could hang around afterward and have a chat was simply amazing. It was such a simple idea - to have people hang around and chat, but it made such a huge difference. And I never appreciated how much went into it beforehand – but it was a *lot* of effort to make the teas and coffees available but it transformed the parkrun experience and made it special.
The parkrun and the chat afterwards, meant that the 5km was the same for me as it was for the guys who were doing a sub-20, or doing other astounding feats of running - be it 10km, half marathons, marathons and events of 24 hour endurance and even runs in the Arctic Circle. They joy and simplicity that they communicated and the advice that they gave freely to everyone else, made it special. It was a great introduction to exercise, running, parkrun and a world beyond having a lie-in on a Saturday morning.
So the question was..... “What do I like about parkrun?”
"And the shouting at people, in a loud voice, in a field, on a Saturday morning."
Most memorable or funniest parkrun:
I'm sure that there are a few that will come to mind as I write this, but there are two that really stick out for me as being personally memorable, one that left an impression on me, and one that I think may have left an impression on someone else.
On my second ever parkrun around Griffeen, I had decided that I was going to try and run the entire of the first lap non-stop.....even if there was a risk of not being able to draw breath afterwards, I had determined that I was going to do it. So, after gasping for what little oxygen that I could manage to get into my lungs I promptly started walking shortly after what is normally the first corner on the second lap. About twenty second later, a voice goes "Come here....run with me". That was Tom Flood and he ran with me around the second lap and I did it without stopping the rest of the way. I like to think that it was the next week that I did the full 5km non-stop, and I don't recall if it was or not, but it was Tom's encouragement that day, to help out someone who was clearly new to this running thing that stuck with me. Over the next few weeks his encouragement and interest in how my running was going, kept me going - and I see that he did his 106th parkrun last week, of which 101 are in Griffeen! I’ll always be grateful to Tom, always, for that nudge to help me around on that second lap.
I also think that I’ll never be able to express my thanks to Paul Richardson and the team at Griffeen for creating the event to allow moments like this to happen.
The other most memorable moment for me was in Saint-Paulin parkrun in Quebec. They'd cancelled the three previous parkruns with the weather, as it was minus 25 degrees, which they thought was a little too cold for the timekeepers. We don't appreciate how good we have it in Castletown!
Anyway, we had messaged the Facebook page to let them know we were going to be there. Now, their page is completely in French so I was a little uncertain about my conjugation of the irregular verbs, but we managed to communicate “en Anglais”.
We got there a half hour early and met Annie, and her husband, and her father-in-law and had just a great auld chat about parkrun - how it came to be, and the particular impact that it has had on their community.....it really is a special, special thing that they have done there.
We found out that they had prepared what would have been their first ever bi-lingual briefing for us. We also found out that we were the first ever parkrun tourists to visit Saint-Paulin.......but what made it even more special for us was to see Annie's blog shortly afterwards, making me realise the impact of a #parkrunfamily.
"I was so happy to meet them, to know that we already have something in common without even knowing them" http://blog.parkrun.com/ca/2017/03/23/its-all-about-family/
That adventure for the few days was extraordinary – Canada in the deepest of winter – it was magic!
Is that the last question in this?
Did I mention that I find it memorable when I get to shout at people, in a loud voice, in a field, on a Saturday morning?
Well, you should include that when you write up this interview.
But perhaps be suble about it.
I wouldn't want it to come across as strange or anything.
I get a kick out of it though....
In a field.
On a Saturday.
Yeah, but be subtle......
Though, if you do mention it, there are other things to mention as well.
The power of having a good marshal and the encouragement that it brings to everyone on the two laps - you should mention that.
The difference it can make to participants their mood and their overall experience and enjoyment of parkrun as the community participation event that it is - you should mention that.
The fact that everyone can participate every week, that it is free, timed and 5km. You should mention that.
The positive benefits, the community and the friendships that it creates. You should mention that.
That we need volunteers every week to keep creating the magic. You should mention that.
That I get a kick out of this nomination, and a chance to express my thanks to so many people in the time that I've participated in parkrun. I should mention that.
So while I started listing names, it is too long a list, and I wouldn't want to miss out on anyone, so to the small sample of stories and people above, I'll just add mention of Sharon for taking the leap to create Castletown out of Griffeen.
It is simply wonderful to have a parkrun on our doorstep.
In a field.
On a Saturday.