If you run semi regularly in the UK, you’d have to have been living in a cave to not have heard of parkrun. Founded in 2004 by Paul Sinton-Hewitt, it currently boasts over 362 events all around the world.
To the unacquainted, a parkrun is a free timed 5k race run weekly on a Saturday morning in a variety of different locations (you can check them out here http://www.parkrun.org.uk/events/events/). They are run (if you’ll pardon the pun) entirely by volunteers, who take up various roles from writing race reports to processing results. All you need to do to join in is to register by filling in your details on the website (http://www.parkrun.org.uk/register/), print off you barcodes and bring one with you to a parkrun. Then you just have to finish your race and present you barcode and your finish time will be allocated to you later that day.
I have been a bit lax with parkrunning since I first started, however over the past month I have done a couple of runs, and am hoping to keep up with them in the future. My dad and I both signed up for parkrun last May and he past the 50 mark in just under a year (pretty incredible!) so I have quite a long way to go to catch up! Since I started running regularly in June, I have found it far easier to motivate myself to get up and run on a Saturday morning- no mean feat, especially after a long week at work! However, I know all too well that sometimes you just can’t bring yourself to do so…and that is exactly why I am 40+ parkruns behind my dad! 🙊
Once you have finished 50 or 100 races (or 10 as a junior/25 as a volunteer) you are eligible to get a marvellous free t-shirt from parkrun and their sponsors. It’ll be quite some time before I earn mine, hopefully before the end of 2016, but I look forward to both gaining it, strength and speed on my parkrun journey!
If you’re thinking about signing up for parkrun, but haven’t done so, I would urge you to do it. The running community is such a friendly and accepting one and nowhere do I feel this more than at parkrun. Each race has a wonderful atmosphere and the volunteers make you feel fantastic whether your 5k took 15 minutes or 50! Believe me, as someone who has regularly come about 3rd from last and has been lapped more times than I care to remember, I can assure that I’m speaking from experience!
So sign up, and I look forward to hearing how you all get on!