Today, I acted as a volunteer at my local Parkrun, as I'm doing a 10K race tomorrow. I thought it only fair to put something back into a thing that I enjoy taking advantage of so much. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I was handing out the finish tokens.
It's a completely different perspective. You still get the social feeling of it, perhaps even more, as there's more time to talk to people. The most interesting thing, though, is you get to see all of the run - from those buggers that swoop round the course in 16 minutes to the courageous souls who walk the course in 50 minutes or more. You're usually only aware of those running around your own pace, and the fast finishers are gone by the time you get in.
Parkrun is a fantastic institution, but it can only work through the time given by volunteers. I'd like to encourage other people to do it. If you're on the C25K path and don't think you're ready to run the 5k yet, why not volunteer a few times first? If, like me, you're going to skip running one Saturday because of another run/race coming up, why not give back and volunteer for that hour on a Saturday morning?