welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s newsletter VitalityHealth strike a pose, Elaine Omand recalls the start of her parkrun journey, we invite our juniors to run 2k and I introduce our new supporter.
On Saturday I was fortunate enough to find myself on the start line of Newcastle parkrun. Helen (my wife) is from South Shields so we enjoy getting back to the North East whenever we can and as I’ve said before I do think the famous Geordie hospitality is brilliantly suited to the parkrun spirit. I try of course to visit as many different events as possible and with eighteen 5k locations across the North East I’m pleased to have visited 13 of them, be it spectating, volunteering, running or during the design of the courses themselves. With five left (Blackhill, Druridge Bay, Hackworth, Hartlepool and Stewart) I’m keen to be more of a tourist, but this week I had a special reason to be on Newcastle Town Moor as I was welcoming in a new parkrun UK supporter.
Muckle LLP is a commercial law firm with their head office less than a mile from the start line of Newcastle parkrun and a huge passion for running, they even have their own running club, Muckle Runners, who number around 50 and were out in force at the weekend. Last summer I delivered a talk as part of their workplace health project and got to spend quality time with them discussing some of the many of the challenges we face as the World’s largest series (probably) of timed runs. For the last few months we’ve been talking to Muckle about how they could help us overcome some of those challenges and I’m pleased to take this opportunity to welcome them into the parkrun UK family. Over the coming months and years we will be making significant changes to areas such as child safeguarding, first aid and medical policies, commercial relationships, volunteer support & development, governance and staffing structure. I could go on. If we are to be successful it’s crucial that on one hand we stay true to the friendly, low-key, community-led principles that we’ve always had (and always will have) whilst at the same time we secure our foundations with world class legal support.
Foreground from left, myself and Chris Jones from parkrun HQ then Russell Deane and Ian Kirtley from Newcastle parkrun. Background, The Muckle Runners in white and an almost record attendance of 581 parkrunners.
So there you have it. A wonderful parkrunday morning was had by all… I should also thank the amazing X and Z Companies of the 5th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (based in Newcastle and Cramlington) who provided all the volunteer roles for this Remembrance Weekend parkrun, not to mention the very welcome tea and coffee that they dished out after the finish line.
P.S. You can read this week’s junior parkrun newsletter here.
health and wellbeing with Vitality
Our Vitality Blog takes an imaginative approach to help improve your health and general wellbeing. Check out our most recent running article below:
Yoga poses for runners:
Now that it's colder, we might want to do some indoor activities to keep our fitness levels up. While some might say that running and yoga may not seem like a natural match; running is all about getting the heart pounding and adrenaline flowing, while yoga focuses on slowing things down and helping the body and mind unwind. However, the two activities actually complement each other nicely, providing a good balance to your workout. Find out on the Vitality Blog why runners especially can benefit from practicing yoga, and which poses are likely to prove most useful.
Do you want to achieve a running goal in 2015?
Be part of the Vitality Run Series - a running series featuring eight of the UK's most exciting running events, brought to you by PruHealth with Vitality. Get active and take on a new challenge - run one, run two or run all five remaining races in the Series. Find an event near you.
junior parkrun world
We love to see parkrunners of all ages taking part in our 5k series but did you know that we also organise fantastic junior parkruns specifically for four to 14 year olds? Please visit our support site for more information about junior parkrun.
The very first junior parkrun in Bushy Park - April 2010
Currently taking place at 32 locations across the UK, we are also fielding lots of enquiries from people wanting to start up new junior events. Just like your little people... our junior parkruns are growing too!
Here are this week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK (including junior parkrun)
Number of runners - 53,565
Number of volunteers - 4,785
Number of first timers - 7,117
Number of PBs - 8,871
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 joined Guildford parkrun back in September 2013 when I was new to the town. I broke my foot in January and found the support of everyone at parkrun fantastic. I tried to volunteer as much as possible and returned to running at the end of June - very slowly! With the encouragement of my parkrun friends I've gradually got faster and I managed to get a PB on the 1st of November, ten minutes faster than my first run back in June and five minutes faster than before I broke my foot! So I really wanted to say a big thank you to everyone at Guildford parkrun (especially for awarding me the Sweatshop prize one month) and my running club.
Hi parkrun UK
This Saturday, Siobhan Carleton-Green will make her 100th appearance at Gladstone parkrun. Sadly, it will be her last as she is moving to the sunny south of Spain next week. Siobhan has been with us since day one, and Saturday will be her 73rd run, in addition to the 27 times she has volunteered in a non-running role. On behalf of everyone at Gladstone parkrun, I would like to thank Siobhan for her tireless contribution, which she has always made with a smile on her face. She has epitomised all the qualities of a parkrun volunteer - an incredibly popular unsung hero who will be greatly missed. If, or perhaps when, Spain joins the parkrun family, I can recommend a wonderful Event Director.
Hi parkrun UK
Five years ago parkrun quietly arrived in Finsbury Park and our lives. A big family of friends has since grown, chasing PBs, competing in running events together across Britain and abroad, pub quizzing, wearing performance-enhancing headbands, and generally hanging out. Babies have been born, friends have moved away, and the friendships haven’t fizzled. Last weekend Jenny Cornish and Russ Ellis returned from afar with their respective entourages to where it all began to complete their 100th parkruns. There was much cake, much merriment and we look forward to congratulating them again on their 250ths! Kudos to all the parkrun volunteers who make it happen and who’ve brought about so much happiness.
David Derham, Headbandit of the Headband Harriers
Hi parkrun UK
Many congratulations to Tom Harper (VM75-79) from Albert parkrun in Middlesbrough who today ran his 100th run. Tom has done 97 runs at Albert parkrun, and two at Stewart parkrun. What made his 100th run so special was that he did it at the other Albert parkrun, in Melbourne Australia! Here's a photo of Tom and his wife, Gill with me.
Scott Watkins, Albert Melbourne parkrun co-ED
Hi parkrun UK
In July last year I developed late onset asthma at 64 and this was complicated by recurrent chest infections and two cracked ribs. I had to stop running and was only able to start again in July this year. I am a retired GP and convinced that having stopped running, my immune system was affected resulting in these recurrent chest infections and delaying my diagnosis of asthma until February this year. Since I started running the Crystal Palace parkruns again my times have improved week by week and I hope to improve still further. I caught the running bug in 1981 after reading Jim Fixx's legendary book and I have not looked back since.
Hi parkrun UK
On Saturday I received my 100 Club t-shirt at Walsall Arboretum parkrun. It has taken me just over three years to reach my hundred but have loved every one, after starting out as a runner who hated 5k's (too fast, too painful!). My times for longer distances have all improved thanks to doing parkrun regularly and I have even finished in the top three ladies this year in some local races! So thank you parkrun and to the generous sponsors, I have got so much out of the last three years and the 50 & 100 club t-shirts and trainers (back in January when I was awarded Sweatshop runner of the month) are a bonus for doing something I love.
Amy Louise Tweedie
Hi parkrun UK
I am so proud of my fabulous partner Carolyn Lyta Wood. A few years ago she was five and a half stone heavier than she is now. She took up running after losing weight and gym sessions. In September 2012 she did her first ever parkrun at Newcastle. Now she is hoping to complete her 50th parkrun on December 6th. I am so proud of her and she deserves a huge congratulations.
parkrunner of the week
Name: Chris Perkins
Club: Stirling Triathlon Club
Home parkrun: Stirling junior parkrun
Occupation: Account Director for a recruitment marketing and advertising agency
Number of runs: 5
Favourite volunteer role: Barcode scanning
What do you do at parkruns: I’m the Event Director at Stirling junior parkrun so do my share of Run Directing and filling other volunteer roles. I like leading the warm-up at a junior event because you can sense the enthusiasm from all the juniors to get running. As a relatively new event we still have a lot of people getting to know what parkrun is all about and I enjoy chatting to them about what an amazing thing parkrun is and, yes, we really will be here every week and it is always free!
How has parkrun changed your running: I've done more volunteering than running, but I've used the runs as a time trial to gauge my training for triathlons or to run with my kids. I always used to train on my own but have discovered how much I enjoy the social element of parkrun. I also always ran on the road so have really enjoyed getting off road and running in some beautiful settings thanks to parkrun.
What do you like about parkrun: I love what parkrun stands for. It is so much more than ‘just a run in a park’. The inclusiveness, the habits it builds for fun, physical activity, the focus on participation and challenging yourself to improve whilst making it all free for anyone to enjoy is amazing. All parkruns - 5k and junior 2k are amazing at bringing a community together around a regular running event but what I like most about the junior events is the idea that what it does really could alter the course of someone's life. That's great to be part of.