Volunteer Roles: Tail Walker

It wouldn’t be a parkrun without the volunteers. In this series of blogs we’ll be learning more about the key volunteer roles and the people who fill them.

In this blog we learn about the role of Tail Walker from East End parkrunner Erica Perry.

Erica Perry recently achieved her 25th volunteer milestone, coincidentally on the same day as her 50th run.

“I love parkrun but I’d rather volunteer than run,” she says.

“I was wondering how I could achieve both of these milestones on the same day when I realised I could be the Tail Walker.  I’d originally planned it all out so I could achieve it on my birthday, so it could be a triple celebration, but due to Covid that didn’t happen.

“I still got cake though.”

Erica made a cape to celebrate the milestones – it was fitting given she’s also dressed in a cow onesie for the volunteer role.


Tail Walker used to be called Tail Runner. It was introduced and made compulsory at all Junior parkrun events in 2013 and from  January 2017 this was extended to also include all 5k events in the UK.

In June 2017 the name of the role was changed to Tail Walker to be more inclusive, it reaffirms the messaging that parkrun is for everyone, not just runners.

The role is now a compulsory one in New Zealand – and across the world – and is a popular volunteer position due to it allowing run and volunteer credits.

“I never used to like being last but with a Tail Walker it means I’m never last – unless I’ve chosen to take on that role.

“I like Tail Walking because it gives me the chance to stand out more than I do already. I spend my life making people laugh. If I can do something to make someone’s day I will.

“One time I was Tail Walker I was dressed in a cow onesie with a pink tutu.”

Erica says she’s happy to walk at the back if no one wants the company.


Her top tip for people who have never taken on this role is “just go for it”.

“You get to tick off a run and you get to tick off a volunteer. You can go as fast as the last person.

“Being Tail Walker means you get to see the sights, you get to check out your surroundings more and enjoy the walk. There’s no bad side to being Tail Walker.

“If you’re a slower parkrunner you don’t feel any pressure to go fast. Plus you can dress up. We have a mermaid’s tail at East End, but I don’t wear it if I’m already dressed up. I stand out anyway but I try to stand out in a positive way.

“I highly recommend it to everyone.”

Be prepared

She says nothing has ever gone wrong while Tail Walking, but in any case, she always has her phone in case she needs to contact the Run Director on the day.

A role she’s not yet done but would like to try is Barcode Scanner and Run Director (“I can do the public speaking but the rest of it I would find challenging so I’m happy to leave that to other people”).

“I like timekeeping because you’re standing around doing nothing for an hour.”  

Why parkrun?

Erica got into parkrun when training for the Round The Mountain relay. Her personal trainer posted about parkrun on facebook and she said she thought it would be a good thing to do to help prepare for the event.

“When I started going and meeting new people I thought it was a good social thing. I live alone with a disability so social outings aren’t forthcoming, but once a week I can go and have a coffee with people and be included.

“It’s more about the social aspect than the 5km.”

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