being part of something
Darren Fawke joined parkrun for the same reason many people do. He had never exercised regularly, but was motivated to become fitter and healthier. In this week’s newsletter, Darren reveals the part that parkrun played in introducing him to his running family.
Having special needs, I have always found it difficult to access sport. There are many barriers when you struggle socially and get anxious just going out and meeting people. I was very depressed at times, and felt because of the way I am, no-one would really welcome me participating or being part of a ‘run’.
It was New Year’s Day and I had said I was going to try parkrun, but I had done the usual New Year’s thing and overindulged on alcohol – and woke up not feeling my best. However, I had said I was doing it, and my sister had made it sound so welcoming I knew I just had to give it a go. The weather was awful, it poured with rain, and I was very nervous. But everyone was so friendly and it was such a welcoming atmosphere.
I don’t think I ever felt comfortable. I ran and walked, and found it tough. What I did feel though was part of something. Everyone cheered and shouted each other on. I felt amazing crossing that line, it was the first time I had ever ‘enjoyed’ running.
I didn’t feel excluded, or different. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t fast, it didn’t matter that I wasn’t fit, and it didn’t matter that I run differently.
I have since become a member of a local running club, and I have a new family. A running family. I train with them two to three times a week, health and work permitting. I have lost a stone. I feel fitter, and I now actually feel like I can run. I have done a couple of 10ks and really hope to fulfil a dream of a half marathon and maybe a full marathon.
Being fitter has had a really positive impact on me. I am more social, and it has really helped with my depression. Physically I move better, and I have had to buy trousers with a smaller waist. For me it’s more the mental aspect though, being part of something. Telford parkrun is so friendly and welcoming.
I would encourage anyone to give parkrun a go. We are all nervous, but it is such a low-key relaxed environment that you really can’t go wrong. My sister was involved in the set up of Telford parkrun and has been involved with it for almost four years. It took her some time to convince me to come along. But I am so glad I did. I like to volunteer too. My job restricts me somewhat as I work most Saturdays, but I always pop along to the start, to say hello to everyone and watch them on their way.
ARUK: Two Portrush parkrunners are asking for support from their fellow parkrunners as they team up to fundraise for Alzheimer’s Research UK in honour of grandmother-of-18 Lilian McAuley.
David McAuley, Lilian’s son, and Barry Temple, Lilian’s grandson-in-law, are part of a group made up of Lilian’s friends and family called ‘Memories for Mum’. At 83, Lilian is currently living with vascular dementia in a care home in Portstewart, County Londonderry, after being diagnosed in January 2015. As part of the 30-strong group, Barry and David are fundraising through
Running Down Dementia with the help of their weekly parkrun, which they signed up to just this month. Their family, including Barry’s nine-month-old daughter Kate, could be seen last week cheering them on as they tackled the 5km route, while wearing their Memories for Mum t-shirts. The family has already raised more than £1,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK, and aim to raise £7,500 for the charity overall.
David said: “We are thrilled to be joining parkrun, it’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time and we feel very welcome already. Alzheimer’s Research UK is a cause very close to our hearts and we are doing everything in our power to raise money so that dementia can be stopped once and for all.”
Barry added: “The response has been fantastic so far and we can’t wait to hit our 100k with Running Down Dementia. We’re a very close family and we’re all really motivated. This really is a testament to the kind of lady Lilian has always been. She is incredibly charitable and kind.”
Intersport: We love bank holidays! An extra day off, a shorter week back, and time to sneak in an extra run, if you’re anything like us!
It’s been great seeing your pictures come in as you try out new parkruns on holiday.
If you’re feeling a little blue that the holidays will soon be over, we’re here waving our Intersport flags and parkrun bibs to remind you that there’s plenty to look forward to.
Autumn is a fabulous season for running – think crisp air, misty mornings and colourful crunchy leaves.
Our woodlands, parks and open spaces are at their most beautiful and it’s arguably the best time to be a parkrunner!
Be one step ahead and grab yourself some new autumn kit with 10% off at Intersport.
Enjoy the bank holiday and see you at your next parkrun!
*PPP valid at all participating Intersport stores; see our website for details.
** Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion.
share your parkrun success stories!
Fitbit: Us regular parkrunners know what makes it so great - the weekly 5k run brings communities together and encourages people to get fit without having to fork out for a gym membership. As well as that, parkrun has transformed people’s lives!
We love to hear from Fitbit users who have taken on their local parkrun, armed with their Fitbit trackers. Not only do we hear about personal bests and new friends, but also improved confidence and amazing changes to health and wellbeing.
For example, Mark from Taunton struggled with his weight and health for a while before he discovered Fitbit and parkrun:
“In March I was 16 ½ stone. I bought a Fitbit, got competitive and lost four stone. I recently ran Taunton parkrun in 19:10 and was first in my age group.”
Karen from Southport used her Fitbit to get her on track to get in shape, and then joined in with her local parkrun to keep pushing her goals:
“I’m never without my Fitbit, and have lost more than five stone in the past 12 months with it. I recently took part in my first parkrun in Southport and I completed it in 36:51.”
Do you have a success story from using your Fitbit for parkrunning? Whether you run, jog, walk or volunteer to connect with your community, we want to hear from you.
Get in touch with us on Twitter, on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story. No matter if it’s a huge goal or a personal triumph, every story matters and we’d love to hear them.
Be inspired by other parkrunning Fitbit users and read our success story blog.You’ll also find lots of tips on keeping fit, how to get the most out of your tracker and any new updates from us.
Haven’t got a Fitbit yet? Take advantage of exclusive discounts on selected Fitbit devices via the parkrun Fitbit store. Click here to browse and start shopping. Once you’re armed with a Fitbit, you may have a success story of your own to share with us!
parks consultation – have your say
The Communities and Local Government Committee has launched an inquiry into public parks.
Its aim is to examine the impact of reduced local authority budgets on these open spaces and consider concerns that their existence is under threat.
The Committee wants to encourage as many people as possible to contribute to the inquiry, via a short online survey or on Twitter explaining why you value your local parks, using the hashtag #myparkmatters.
parkrun UK will also be submitting a comprehensive written response.
This week’s UK statistics for parkrun and junior parkrun:
5,743 first timers
random stat of the week
Members of 2,168 running clubs and running groups ran, jogged and walked at UK parkrun events last weekend.
feedback from the field
One of our Visually Impaired runners, Tony, gave us a bit of feedback on our course recently.
We have some black bollards that blend into the background at two points on the course so we used old vests on them to make them stand out. Tony said this really helped him.
Whilst doing course set-up with a volunteer, we talked about how we used the vests in this way. We also spoke about how Tony had run on a treadmill for 15 years. He is now smashing PBs most weeks!
The volunteer-donated bollard covers are in a colour that Tony suggested was a good contrast, making them stand out. Thank you to Julian for his kind donation that benefits all of our parkrunners.
This August my family and I headed off to South Africa on Safari, but before we got to our safari reserve we stayed in Cape Town for a few days. Luckily for me one of the days landed on a Saturday, which of course is parkrunday!
I have become a keen parkrunner and on occasions my children have joined me. We thoroughly enjoy the friendly atmosphere so we thought we could all give this a go, including my husband.
We went to Greenpoint parkrun at the foot of Table Mountain and ran as the sun was rising - a bit different to my normal parkrun which is in Coventry around the Memorial Park. I even managed a PB!
Members of our family congregated for a weekend of fun in Liverpool recently. We planned to eat, drink and not exercise.
But when we discovered Birkenhead were holding their first birthday parkrun, six of us plus a toddler and buggy packed our trainers. One of us had never run before, one was recovering from a broken leg, one hadn't run in five years, two run occasionally and one is a regular.
It was a great morning followed by delicious cake and our first timer now runs weekly. I highly recommend checking your holiday destination for the local parkrun as it added so much to our weekend away!
My daughter Emily, five years old, wanted to come along to a parkrun after I started and is now on her fifth Cassiobury parkrun. She loves it.
Running with her is a joy to watch and the encouragement we get from both fellow runners and spectators is brilliant.
It's always a great atmosphere and good to see a range of different runners attending each week. We both look forward to many more in the future!
I ran my PB on Super Saturday when the Olympics was in London, and I only had to wait four years to the exact Saturday to get my next PB at Barrow parkrun.
I think it was me who must have inspired all of the UK athletes to get their golds!
Let us know if you have an interesting parkrun story or photo to share.