welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s newsletter Chase The Place enters the finish straight, Mark Thompson is parkrun proud, we’ve got some amazing feedback from the field, a great parkrunner of the week and I’ve spent five wonderful days in Northern Ireland.
Last week I was fortunate enough to head over to Northern Ireland for five days of parkrun tourism with Matt and Ruth Shields. Matt is our Ambassador in Northern Ireland, the Country Manager for the Republic of Ireland, is the Chairman and head coach at North Belfast Harriers, ran a 2:18 marathon in his youth and at the ripe old age of 59 can still break 18 minutes for 5k! Ruth knows just about everything there is to know about parkrun in Ireland and keeps Matt in line. Together they epitomise everything that makes parkrun such a wonderful family.
This was my second trip over to Northern Ireland and as my last visit was one of the best parkrun experiences of my life I was super excited to be taking Helen and Rosie with me this time. From the moment we touched down in Belfast our feet barely touched the floor as we headed to Armagh, Enniskillen and Cookstown on Thursday, then Derry and a meeting with the hugely supportive Sport Northern Ireland on Friday. We ran Ormeau parkrun on Saturday morning then checked out a potential parkrun in Carrickfergus before running the Larne and Wallace courses. Finally on Sunday we kicked the day off with a two hour run across the hills around Belfast before meeting up with a whole load of Northern Irish core volunteers at Clotworthy House in Antrim. Phew.
It was of course an amazing trip and I feel extremely fortunate that what I do for a living allows me to spend time with such a large number of wonderful people. It’s inspiring that simply by empowering local people to do something for their community we see the absolute best in human nature and our entire five days was packed full of amazing stories describing the positive effects of a free, weekly, timed 5k run with your friends. Almost as amazing as the people of Northern Ireland however is the scenery, running through forests, alongside rivers, through the 2013 UK City of Culture, up and down park trails, on beaches, overlooking stunning coastlines and even round cinder running tracks, there’s something for everyone.
In 2014 there will no doubt be a whole load more parkrun events popping up in Northern Ireland and I’m already counting the days until my next visit.
six down, two to go to #ChaseThePlace
Two lucky parkrunners who were still in the running have also been rewarded for their commitment - Graham Hall from Redcar parkrun and Joaquim Monteiro from Bury St Edmunds parkrun were picked at random and have earned themselves a case of Lucozade Sport Lite. Well done!
If you’re still in #ChaseThePlace you are so close to the end and should be proud of your achievements. Keep going and get one step closer to the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon start line.
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Please check your event's news pages for the most up to date information.
Cancellations and course changes this Saturday:
- Falkirk parkrun is cancelled due to another event taking place in the park.
feedback from the field
Let us know if you have an interesting parkrun related fact, happening or comment that you would like to share with all parkrunners
Hi parkrun UK
I just wanted to tell you about my son Ben Ruggles who completed his 10th parkrun on Saturday. He's 15 and this is a massive achievement for him as he is registered blind. He has knocked about four minutes off of his PB since August. He runs at Colchester Castle parkrun during the school holidays and Worcester parkrun during term time as he attends a school for the blind and visually impaired there. I am extremely proud of his achievement and perseverance, we all know running is tough but not to be able to see where you’re running makes it even more of a challenge. A massive thank you also to Ian Elden who guides/paces him round at Colchester Castle and Alan Drabwell who supports him at Worcester. Their support enables him to run.
Hi parkrun UK
I was introduced to Killerton parkrun just over two years ago and almost immediately got hooked. Since then Saturday mornings at Killerton have become a real family affair. Clare, my wife, has amassed 58 parkruns and my daughter Catherine, aged 12, is a regular volunteer either handing out finish tokens or barcode scanning. Both have been recipients of the Sweatshop Monthly Prize in recognition of their efforts! Although I love running their picturesque National Trust course, I've developed an interest in volunteering and last Saturday took on the Run Director role for the first time. Many thanks to John, Roger and Tim, our regular RD’s, who gave me lots of support. If you haven't volunteered yet, go on give it a go!
Hi parkrun UK
Way back in 1969, on the first day of my final year at Durham University, I bumped into a very enthusiastic college cross country captain who persuaded me to run in an inter-collegiate race a couple of days later. The race doubled as the University trial and the following weekend I found myself running in a Manchester University cross country race at Wythenshawe Park. Forty-four years of running and racing later, thanks to parkrun, and my middle daughter living round the corner, I found myself running in Wythenshawe Park for the first time since then (having spent most of my running career further south). A great atmosphere and brilliant idea that sums up everything which got me hooked into running in the first place.
Hi parkrun UK
Congratulations to Darren Wood, the World leader of total parkruns, who competed his 426th parkrun this week on crutches after his foot operation. Darren said "It was one of the hardest and slowest parkruns I've ever completed. This is proof anyone can do a parkrun. You just need to try it." Darren completed it in 59:09 and beat his goal of one hour. Over 50 parkrunners stayed until 10am to cheer him in. Christmas Day is Darren's goal to run without crutches. He continues to be a massive inspiration to us all here at Frimley Lodge parkrun! Can nothing stop this man on his quest to be the first to hit 500 parkruns?
Hi parkrun UK
I would like to thank all the parkrun organisers and volunteers. For me parkrun is a non-judgemental melting pot of different people who run or walk 5k to the finish line to enjoy the shared experience, regardless of who you are. I am not particularly sociable and a bit shy so I respect the way I’m made to feel welcome and left alone to get on with it. I don’t have any targets nor do I run every week, I just turn up for the physical experience and the benefits of being a bit healthier. On a cold Saturday morning it can be exhausting and frustrating when your body does not perform as you wanted, but it is always worth it.
Hi parkrun UK
My husband Mark and I recently went to New Zealand and Australia. We did parkruns in Porirua and Adelaide. I then followed those with Little Stoke parkrun in England and Newport parkrun in Wales. Four parkruns in four weeks, in four countries, on three islands and two continents. Unfortunately my husband hurt his ankle in Australia and missed the England one because of it. We really enjoyed everyone of them and we made some friends too!
Hi parkrun UK
About nine months ago after my doctor told me that I would have to change my lifestyle, due to being very overweight and suffering from Type 2 diabetes, I decided to do something about it. Around June my daughter talked me into joining her at a parkrun. There I was, one lovely sunny June morning, joining everyone at the Barrow parkrun and when I finished I felt proud. I felt proud that I had achieved something, even though I was one of the last to finish. Now less than six months later and three stone lighter I have just completed my 10th parkrun and knocked eight minutes off of my first parkrun time, with seven PBs altogether. I just wish I didn't work shifts because then I could run every week.
Hi parkrun UK
I'm very excited to have just completed a stint of parkrun tourism that was only possible thanks to Joanne Lyttle from Wallace parkrun, Lisburn. Joanne not only drove me to another parkrun when I went to the wrong park but she also waited for me to have a shower and then drove me to the city centre for some sightseeing. Thank you very much Joanne, you are the epitome of the parkrun spirit! Thanks also to Charles Castleton whose email in the 30th of October newsletter inspired my parkrun tourism and all the volunteers, run directors and fellow parkrunners that make parkrunning so enjoyable and addictive!
Hi parkrun UK
Two years ago, aged 56, I had a minor stroke which has thankfully not repeated. I am a regular hockey player so this was a shock. In March this year I started running. First time out I couldn’t manage a mile. I did my first Bramhall parkrun a few weeks later, then completed the Manchester Marathon in 4 hours 34 minutes in April and the Keswick to Barrow 40-miler in May in a rather slower 8 hours 34 minutes. Since then I have knocked five minutes off of my parkrun PB and my half marathon PB is under two hours. I’m now looking forward to doing it all again next spring, with parkrun’s help! Thanks to all at the Bramhall and Congleton parkruns.
parkrunner of the week
Name: Stuart Amory
Home parkrun: Bushy Park
Occupation: Personal Trainer
Number of runs: 64
Favourite volunteer role: Marshal
What do you do at parkruns: I aim for new PBs, not just at my home parkrun, but at other parkruns too. I take my son in the buggy and try to log some sub-20 minute times. I'm currently trying to get on the 'Most Events' page of the parkrun UK website and if I don't miss one including Christmas Day then I'll get on it before 2014.
How has parkrun changed your running: I've always been an ‘ok’ runner but getting properly into parkrun has got me determined to be the best runner I can be. The mission to break the 20 minute barrier had started a hurricane inside of me that I'm now targeting the 'sub 17' page. Due to this increased pace I'm now aiming for a sub-80 minute half marathon and a sub-3 hour marathon. I still can't believe it.
What do you like about parkrun: parkrun has everything that a person needs to get fitter. It's regular, it's reliable, it's motivational, it's fun, it's sociable, it's accountable, it's rewarding, it's addictive and it's free!
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: parkrun is fun but I take a lot more memories from it. Being fit and active, I'm regularly in awe and proud of every runner, especially the ones that are there week in week out logging up their numbers in times approaching 60 minutes whilst other fitter/faster are having a lie in. I love seeing Sally Willis and her little dog Ben coming in at the end regularly at Bushy parkrun. She's done 200 parkruns and is in the VW65-69 category. We need more Sally Willises!