The Join In blog: Tagged "Dave Moorcroft"

Dave Moorcroft – still running it.

Dave Moorcroft runs through the ages

From childhood, we jog and sprint with the wind in our hair. But why do we do it? Dave Moorcroft explains why he chose to run at pivotal points in his life – as wide-eyed 11 year old, world record breaker and vicarious runner.

At 11

I started running when I was about 11 at my secondary school. It was too wet to play football in a PE lesson and they sent us off on a cross-country run. Everyone else hated it because they weren’t playing football, but I really enjoyed it. My dad took me to my local club, the Coventry Godiva Harriers, which I’ve been a member of ever since.

And then in 1964, I watched the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Ann Packer won the women’s 800m for Britain and that was a flick-the-switch moment. When I looked at it I thought, “That’s brilliant. I’d love to do that.” (more…)

Recent News

Join In patron Eddie Izzard at the Chelmsford parkrun
Join In patron Eddie Izzard at the Chelmsford parkrun

parkrun supports the #BigHelpOut

parkrun is working with Join In to support the Big Help Out, our nationwide campaign to inspire 10,000 new volunteers into community sport.

parkrun↑ delivers weekly 5k timed runs (and 2k for juniors) that are at the heart of local communities. Volunteers are the lifeblood of parkrun, with around 6,000 weekly helpers bringing the community together to create a unique atmosphere that families, friends and neighbours can enjoy.

Whether it’s cheering on the runners, marshalling or even baking post-run cakes – there’s a role for everyone at parkrun.

Event Director at Woodley parkrun in Berkshire, Kerri French, said, “Being a volunteer at parkrun has helped me in so many ways. It has boosted my confidence, especially in public speaking, which has had a knock-on effect on my day job.

For me, parkrun has always been about other people’s running and not my own, and I get a lot of enjoyment from just watching people turn up and enjoy their run with friends.” (more…)

“Almost impossible task” – judging the BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero


The BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero award recognises the exceptional contribution of sport volunteers in communities around the UK. We look back at how Dave Moorcroft felt after being asked to be part of the judging panel in 2014.

I was honoured to be asked to help make the very difficult decision of which inspiring, dedicated volunteer would be the national winner.

If you want even more evidence of the true value of sports volunteers then have a look at the stories behind the names of the final 15 candidates for the BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero award – they are remarkable.

Each BBC nation and region across the UK selected one amazing volunteer to go forward to the national award, which is announced at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony in December.

Join In has been working with the BBC Sports Personality and Get Inspired teams this year to make the Unsung Hero award even more of a celebration of all that is wonderful about volunteers in community sport. I was honoured to be asked to join, amongst others, Jo Pavey and last year’s winners Joe and Maggie Forber, on the panel to select the 2014 winner.

As I am sure you can imagine, it was an almost impossible task to select a winner from a group of people who have made an incredible contribution to sport and their community over many years. But a winner was found and I looked forward to witnessing the announcement on the big night.

Ever since I was a child who discovered a love of sport, BBC Sports Personality of the Year has been one of the highlights of the year for me. It is the one annual, sport-awards show that stands out above all others, and to be crowned BBC Sport Personality of the Year is the greatest public accolade a sports man or woman can receive in this country.

There is a particular significance to the Unsung Hero award. It not only highlights the individuals who have devoted their lives to helping others in sport. It also celebrates the hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds who give a little or lots of their time to make sport happen in their communities.


East of England Unsung Hero judging panel 

BBC Sports Personality celebrates the pinnacle of sporting achievement, and every one of those stars of the present and the future knows that the support of volunteers in their clubs and communities has been pivotal to their success. We at Join In have consistently had great cooperation from sports stars because they all know the importance of volunteers and are happy to help us celebrate and recognise it.

Volunteers are the hidden diamonds in sport – Join In’s groundbreaking research has confirmed that. The real social value they create is an astonishing £16,000 each – that’s some £53bn across the whole country. They invest their time, energy and skills in helping people discover the joys of sport and physical activity and help build stronger, healthier, happier communities.

I know that the winner of this year’s BBC Unsung Hero award will help inspire new people to become involved in volunteering. I hope also that the thousands of volunteers across the country watching the programme feel a sense of pride, because this award recognises the amazing contribution they make – without them sport in this country would just not happen.

– Become a local hero by searching for volunteering opportunities near you.

Read our Local Leader’s account of judging a regional Unsung Hero award.

Postscript: on the red carpet

A key part of BBC Sports Personality for the last couple of years was the Join In and BBC Get Inspired Big Thank You, led by Eddie Izzard and a host of sports stars. Here’s Dave’s behind-the-scenes account.

I felt a shiver run through me as I joined thousands of people who gave the volunteers a spontaneous standing ovation during the BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero Award for the 2014 winner Jill Stidever.

And on Sunday evening many of the sports stars also gave a small amount of their time to say a Big Thank You to volunteers all around the UK.

Our patron Eddie Izzard presented the award during the programme but before proceedings began he worked tirelessly to invite sports stars to make a thank you call in our golden telephone box on the red carpet. It was brilliant!

The likes of Sir Chris Hoy, Rory McIlroy, Jo Pavey and Tom Daley were literally queuing up to make calls from the gold phone box. All of them said that it was volunteers who got them started in sport and they were so keen to take this opportunity to support the Join In and BBC Get Inspired #BigThankYou campaign.

Many of the volunteers receiving the calls were stunned to hear the likes of Paula Radcliffe, Steve Cram, Tanni Grey-Thompson and Nicola Adams on the end of their phone, but equally the stars themselves were delighted to have been able to say thank you to the people who keep sport going in clubs, organisations and communities across the country.

Volunteers are amazing and please accept this Big Thank You from me to all the hundreds of thousands of people who truly make sport happen.

– Want to see our BBC Sports Personality stars’ #BigThankYou messages on film? Sign up to our email & be first!



David Moorcroft’s Commonwealth Games memories

There are moments that shape the rest of your life.

One of those for me was the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh. I was 17 years old and a friend of mine and I made the journey to Edinburgh to witness a week or so of fabulous athletics.

It was my first experience of a major Games and of a large partisan crowd screaming for the local heroes. A Scot called Lachie Stewart won the 10,000m and the crowd went wild. Later in the week Ian Stewart (they weren’t related) won 5,000m gold and the crowd went ballistic.


Braintree BMX Club: Volunteering at the heart of the community

Join In Director of Sport, Dave Moorcroft, is well known for his prowess on the athletics track, but the drive to get more volunteers into UK sports clubs has exposed him to a range of other sports. On this occasion, Dave visited Braintree BMX Club where dozens of competitors of all ages were taking part in the final round of a winter race programme.



Join In volunteers in action: MS Society, Chelmsford

Join In aims to put more volunteers into sports clubs. Dedicated volunteers can make a huge difference in local communities across the UK, as we found out on our recent trip to Chelmsford, Essex.


The Brentwood & Chelmsford branch of the Multiple Sclerosis [MS] Society runs an exercise class every Monday morning for people with MS.

Local Leader Ann Davis has been volunteering here for many years. “Six years ago I went along to my local volunteer centre,” she says. “I was looking for something sport-based and this was near my house.

“I’ve been coming along every week since. It’s great to see these people’s mobility improving as a result of the class and watch them leaving feeling really happy.

“We all go for a pub lunch once a month and a coffee morning once a month, so it’s become a great social activity for them and me.”

Attendees usually spend the first 50 minutes sitting in a circle doing chair-based activities designed to exercise most of the muscle groups. After a coffee break, fitness instructor Kelly leads various activities to help with mobility in everyday life. This session was going to be a bit different…

Dan Bentley, Ann Davis and Dave Moorcroft (more…)

Wheelchair Dance Sport: Volunteer to have some fun


This picture above was taken at one of our most memorable events of the Join In summer 2013 at Strictly Wheelchair Dancing in Wythenshawe, Manchester. Our Director of Sport Dave Moorcroft rated this day as among the best of the year.

The popularity of Strictly Come Dancing illustrates that ballroom dancing remains as popular as ever and this particular programme is dedicated to extending the opportunity to wheelchair participants and dance enthusiasts of all abilities.

Strictly Wheels is the largest wheelchair dancing group the UK with a membership of around 40 but, like so many clubs across the UK, they were in need of more volunteers. Around 85% of Join In events this summer were accessible to individuals with disabilities and the volunteers at Strictly Wheels personify inclusiveness.

In addition to learning a few dance moves on the day, one of Dave Moorcroft’s responsibilities on the day was honouring tireless volunteers like Paula Moulton (pictured below with Dave). (more…)

London 2012 Volunteering Legacy Continues

With the Winter Olympics well underway in Sochi, Jenny Jones’s fantastic achievement winning a bronze medal in snowboarding and all the thrills and spills of the Games, we can look back with pride at what was achieved at the London 2012.

One of the outstanding successes of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was the use of the 70,000 committed and enthusiastic volunteers – the “Games Makers” – who really did make the Games happen.  No athlete gets to represent their country at a Games without a volunteer helping them along the way.

What lessons can the Sochi volunteers learn from them?   According to Jenny Hicklin [pictured above with TeamGB’s first Sochi medalist, Jenny Jones], the “Accidental Volunteer” who was based at the Velodrome in London and is now working at the transport hub in Sochi, the 50 or so London Games Makers out there will bring a lot of confidence, experience, knowledge and friendliness to the operation.  This friendliness in turn is reciprocated by the Russian volunteers.

“I have made so many friends here” says Jenny “They love to meet English speaking people and want their photo taken with me to show their families.
“I suppose it’s because Russia is so big and vast, they don’t often meet others from different countries.”


Meet Join In Director of Sport Dave Moorcroft

Everyone at Join In has been eagerly awaiting the launch of our Local Leaders volunteer programme but none more than our Director of Sport Dave Moorcroft. Dave is best known for his record-breaking exploits on the track (in fact he still holds the GB 3,000m record) but his passion and involvement in grass roots and community sports continued long after his athletics career ended.



During the Join In summer Dave clocked up more miles than anyone else in the Join In team visiting a host of clubs (pictured above at Strictly Wheelchair dancing in Manchester) throughout the UK and Ireland. Visiting these local communities highlights the positive influence of volunteers and the chronic shortage of them. As we launch the Local Leaders volunteer programme we thought we’d take the opportunity to ask Dave a few questions.

What’s your position at Join In?
Join In – Director of Sport. (more…)

Dave Moorcroft: “2014 will be the year of volunteering”

David Moorcroft, as Director of Sport for Join In, is predicting that 2014 is going to be a big year for volunteering in the UK and for sport in particular.

As an Olympic legacy charity set up to encourage volunteers to get involved in sport Join In is dedicated to matching sports volunteers to local sports clubs across the UK.  Dave is asking everyone to make a new year’s resolution to get involved in community sports volunteering in 2014.


Join In made a number of exciting things happen in 2013 and plans more activity in 2014:

  • Over 455,000 people attended an event as part of Join In’s Summer programme of 11,000 events and 100,000 new volunteers were recruited. A new programme of events will take place in 2014. (more…)