weekly newsletter 30th July 2015

welcome to the newsletter


In this week’s newsletter Fitbit give us some tips, the Sweatshop sale continues, Change4Life invite kids to stay active over the summer and our founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt backs dementia research and celebrates his 250th parkrun.

I love parkrun! I bet you are surprised to hear that. What's interesting about that statement is that the milestone clubs don't really feature in the daily love affair that I have with parkrun. My everyday emotions are heightened by the smiles on your faces, the stories of human achievement that you tell me and the unbridled, inclusive love we all feel at every parkrun we visit no matter where we are in the world.

And so, with my 250 approaching, I decided it would be a low-key affair with the Bushy parkrun family. But, the folks in my team thought differently...

Many of you will know about the fabulous celebratory photo book representing the first ten years of parkrun across ten countries. It was designed, photographed and written by four wonderful volunteers and produced by parkrun - and thank you to those of you who have purchased a copy. Well, the team felt it would help improve sales of this book if I went on a book signing tour, with all proceeds from the book being used to further develop junior parkrun. We currently have 56 junior parkruns, which are changing the health of our nation.

With the book tour coinciding with my 250th parkrun, we ran a national social media competition which was won by the folks at Worcester parkrun. It was great to see loads of cheerful, inventive and suggestive comments which meant that when I arrived at the event I was welcomed by more than 500 parkrunners.

While I am normally happy to be one of the crowd at a parkrun, it was not possible at Worcester. Everyone wanted a chat, a hug or a photo, and loads of people brought along their photo book or Debra Bourne’s book about parkrun to have them signed. Some went a bit further, getting their fabulous milestone tees or their personal barcodes signed. I was a bit worried about destroying the new Tribesports club shirts with my signature!

The event itself started with a short chat on the phone to BBC Radio Worcester. After attending the first-timers briefing we were called together to hear the main run briefing. Event director Richard Ralphs welcomed me and I was presented with a huge card. Then one of our junior parkrunners, Alice, gave me a small, but perfectly formed badge celebrating the milestone. My day was already perfect.

The Worcester course is special. After a short sprint around a field we were into the forest for two laps. Eddie Freemantle, who has volunteered at Worcester parkrun more than 150 times, cheered us through ‘Eddie's Corner’ while at the end I was searched out by a volunteer called Elaine to ensure I was properly scanned. I met many people, all of whom were wonderful.

The volunteer team welcomed Joanne and I to dinner where we had the opportunity to get to know a number of the team a bit better. As they discussed their daily comings and goings, it was evident that the relationships built through parkrun infused all aspects of their lives. One man had tragically lost his wife 18 months ago and reported how the parkrun community had seen him through this awful period. Another who had moved to the area recently found that the isolation of a new city was made redundant through the actions of fellow parkrunners. The stories flowed throughout the evening and everyone there was holding me partially responsible.

While I created the values that we all hold dear, there are many folks who helped me develop these over the years. Our staff and I are responsible for the continued protection of these values, however it is you, the parkrunners and the parkrun event teams and volunteers who carry these values forward through your actions. And it's your actions that make all of this possible. I am delighted to represent you, to accept the accolades and awards on behalf of you but it is you who deserve all the praise. I remain indebted to you for your every action that makes our community more special. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And so it was that I had one of the best weekends of my life. I returned to my roots on Sunday when I volunteered at Moormead junior parkrun where I am a member of the core team. Witnessing the joy experienced by the children as they complete the 2k course is often enough on its own to make a weekend great. Celebrating my 250th alongside another eight parkrunners, spending time with the volunteer teams and watching the kids: that's all it takes.

Thank you to everyone who messaged me. Thanks for your kind thoughts and congratulations to the other seven runners who joined the 250 Club on Saturday: Kevin, Christine, Steve, Carol, David, Phil and Alison.

Paul Sinton-Hewitt
parkrun Founder

Paul’s interview with BBC Worcester is available here. It is 2 hours 44 minutes into the programme.

Greg Whyte’s parkrun tips


It’s been an exciting couple of weeks at Fitbit, and we’ve been working on some fun projects with our Fitbit Ambassador, Professor Greg Whyte. Greg is a former Olympian, a world-renowned sports scientist and the man behind the Sports Relief endurance challenges, having trained the likes of Davina McCall, Eddie Izzard and David Walliams.

We asked him to share a few of his top tips for running a parkrun – whether it’s your first or fiftieth parkrun, Greg has the low-down on how to maximise your runs, improve your parkrun performance and achieve your fitness goals – whatever they are! Check out Greg’s advice on our blog.

Our exclusive discount of £15 off any tracker plus free shipping is still open for all parkrunners so grab it while you can. As always, we encourage you to tweet us or leave us a comment on our Facebook page using the hashtag #parkrunfit to join in the discussion with fellow parkrunners and Fitbit users. Happy stepping everyone!

Paul backs dementia research


parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt signed up for Join Dementia Research earlier this year. The national service allows people to register their interest in taking part in dementia research studies across the UK. Here, Paul explains why he decided to sign-up and why others should too.

How did you first hear about Join Dementia Research?

We are beginning to hear more about dementia in the media lately, but I knew very little about it before parkrun UK’s partnership with Alzheimer’s Research UK. Like many people, I was under the misconception that older people naturally developed dementia – I had no idea that it was a disease, and that it was not a normal part of ageing.

What prompted you to sign up?

Of course, the best way to reduce your risk of developing dementia is to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle, but now that I know more about dementia, I know that despite being healthy all my life, it can get me as well as anyone else. It seems clear to me that research is the way to beat dementia. The Join Dementia Research initiative gives you the opportunity to get involved in research and feel as though you can make a difference.

Have you matched to any studies?

So far I have matched to one study, I haven’t yet received a date for my appointment but my wife has her first appointment coming up, so I hope I get mine through soon. I’m open to everything, whatever will benefit other people – if the people in the know think it will work, I’m happy to help.

Why do you think dementia research is important?

Personally, I found Sir Terry Pratchett incredibly enlightening as he championed the importance of dementia research. The news has also recently been talking about a new treatment that has shown some positive results - this proves that research works! I am sure that with a greater understanding of dementia and what dementia research can achieve, many other parkrunners will want to know that they have contributed to research too. There is something fundamentally good about the fact that it is a combined effort. It is hugely powerful to have so many people working together to achieve the same aim, and that is to defeat dementia. For more information and to register, click here or call 0300 111 5 111.

Sweatshop sale counting down


The Sweatshop sale is counting down and as more prices drop and fantastic new offers are added, now is the time to visit your nearest store or shop online to pick up a running bargain!

With up to 50% off most ranges including running watches there is no reason why you shouldn’t treat yourself to some new kit to help on your next adventure or parkrun.

team up to shake up


parkrun is supporting the Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Up campaign this year. The campaign aims to keep kids happy and healthy this summer and there are lots of new and exciting 10 minute games and activities for kids to play. Every 10 minute burst of exercise can make a real difference and helps kids get the 60 minutes they need each day. Every child, every day, every 10 minutes counts!

We’ve been handing out leaflets and stickers at selected junior parkruns around the country to parents and kids so you may have signed up already. If not, then visit Change4Life online now to sign up and receive a free 10 Minute Shake Up pack (while stocks last) for your kids in the post.

parkrun population


Here are this week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK (including junior parkrun)

Number of runners - 65,657
Number of volunteers - 6,440
Number of first timers - 10,704
Number of PBs - 12,682

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


Well done to Dave Edwards, Jae Hargan and Fay White for completing The Gauntlet at Castle Howard on Sunday. Five years ago my husband started parkruns, and he encouraged Dave, and then Fay, who were also keen to get fit. Times fell from 40 minutes plus to 25 minutes, and at the same time fitness increased. This encouraged them to do some swimming and go for some bike rides. Then came the 10k races and the half marathons. They met up with Jae at Heaton Park and challenged each other to do a triathlon last August. After this it was the half ironman. They trained hard all this year and they did it! And it all started with a 5k parkrun.
Margaret White


Ever considered guiding a visually impaired athlete but felt nervous about it? Don't be. It's fun and hugely rewarding. Guide running is like a three-legged race while you learn to coordinate movement and synchronise running action. The early stages are comical as you bump into each other. You need to give at least three steps notice of events. Too much warning and the blind runner starts moon walking in nervous anticipation. Random statements such as “watch out" mean nothing. Remember, blind not psychic! You are not expected to give a running commentary but things of interest help create the atmosphere and make the experience. If you enjoy parkrun then help someone else enjoy it too by guiding.
Michelle Ashwell


I get married on the 25th of September and have recently been on my mystery hen party organised by my bridesmaids. They took me to Durham for a fantastic weekend full of surprises! As they know how much I love parkrun, and I hate the thought of missing my parkrun fix, they surprised me with a visit to Hackworth parkrun. The organisers and runners there really looked after us and cheered every one of us across the finish line. It showed all my hens how parkrun is such a fantastic thing to be involved in, and they finally appreciated why I insist on getting up every Saturday. Thank you to Hackworth parkrun and to my home parkrun in Huddersfield!
Ashleigh Grailey


A year ago this week I did my first ever parkrun and I still continuously love getting up and going to parkrun on a Saturday morning. Now a Saturday is no longer a Saturday unless I have completed a parkrun. Over my first year as a parkrunner I have had the honour of experiencing a true community feel and the support of others in something I love to do. The volunteers at parkrun do a truly amazing job week in, week out and not only manage to organise everything but offer words of encouragement and support from start to finish. I hope to continue to be a member of the parkrun community for many years to come. Thank you for a wonderful first year!
Megan French


Raring to parkrun, and en route by foot to Preston parkrun, a sinking feeling kicked in with every step. No yellow signs, no event director, no other parkrunners. Yep, you guessed it – the event was cancelled. You’d think that with years of experience volunteering at parkrun I’d have checked the night before! Alas we were not alone. My puppy and I toed the start line with 12 other parkrun enthusiasts - 10 gents and three women, of which two were first-timers and three juniors - who also hadn’t realised the run had been called off. After briefly discussing our epic parkrun fail we set off on a casual group run anyway. As everyone finished we all stayed to support each other with cheers and unofficial finish line celebrations. Just think though, if it wasn't for parkrun, 13 complete strangers wouldn't have thought to go for a jog around a park on a Saturday morning, and then hang around for 20 minutes chatting afterwards. It will certainly be one of my most memorable parkruns (even if it wasn't official). It's a good reminder as to why you should always check the event’s website before setting off, listen to run briefings for future cancellations, and it never hurts to check social media networks too. Yes, I will be double-checking this Saturday before we set off - lesson learned!
Alaina Chesney


Edinburgh parkrun celebrated its 300th run on Saturday, where we welcomed a record 642 people and organised cakes and juice to celebrate the milestone. The core team and the volunteers do such an amazing job each week to keep our event going and I wanted to give something back for them to enjoy, so I created a video for everyone to enjoy. The video lasts seven minutes and I have had lovely feedback from Edinburgh, so I thought I would let you know about it. Making the video was great fun, and it’s a great way to show off your local parkrun. Pop over to the Edinburgh parkrun Facebook page to check it out -
I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it.
Ross Nicol


I recently returned from a 1000 mile charity cycle ride from Land’s End to John O'Groats with fellow parkrunner Neil Chapman. It was a two-week trip and, not wanting to miss our Saturday morning run, we completed the Hereford parkrun along the way. We would like to thank Nick, the run director, plus all of the volunteers and runners for making us feel so welcome. Straight after the run we got back on our bikes and cycled 100 miles to our next stop at Chester. The whole ride was amazing and the parkrun was definitely a highlight.
Richard Gower


Last Saturday, the great team at Tilgate parkrun let our running club, Lingfield, take over for the day. Although many of us regularly participate, this was a fantastic opportunity to introduce others to the parkrun experience, as well as encouraging new members to run their first 5k. Our men’s captain, Vernon, was the run director, and other members took on many other volunteer tasks, as marshals, timers, scanners, tokens and funnel manager. We had nine members running as pacers, and of course several runners. It was a fantastic morning, and it made everyone appreciate how much work the regular team put into making the run happen so seamlessly every Saturday. Thank you Tilgate parkrun, we’re looking forward to doing it again next year!
Lisa Compton

parkrunner of the week


If you feel somebody at a parkrun should feature as our parkrunner of the week, please get them to fill out this handy online form - you can even apply yourself!

Name:  Ian Connolly

Club:  Unattached

Age:  52

Home parkrun:  Watergrove

Occupation:  Coffee Machine Dealer

Number of runs:  17

Favourite volunteer role:  Not fussy

What do you do at parkruns:  I run in the event and having a lifetime in sales, I'm used to mixing and striking up conversations with people. I'm happy to assist in anything that helps with the running of the event. I volunteer at least once a month and offer myself as a reserve marshal in the event of a shortage. I see it as putting something back into the community.

How has parkrun changed your running:  It’s made me focus on improving stamina and strength, especially as Watergrove is such a hilly course. In an effort to improve on the hills I've taken up spinning and yoga. I thought I’d lose my street cred doing these activities but not at all. I'm now focused on improving my all-round fitness to improve my running. I was a sprinter in my youth, but the challenge of a 5k is something different, I never would have thought I could run 5k.

What do you like about parkrun:  Watergrove parkrun has a good community spirit, I rather suspect because of the tough nature of the course. There are many who run it just once, never to return, so the numbers aren't as large as at some of the other events, which creates more of a community. It also gives me a regular aim and a goal to achieve a PB if possible.

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment:  Crossing the line at a recent event with an old school mate of mine who had run as my pacer. I looked ready to collapse and he reminded me of Michael Schumacher in his glory days - he'd hardly broken sweat over the course. Whilst he gave me encouragement en route and was capable of fluent conversation I was barely able to reply other than in a series of grunts!

reminders

the parkrun store

barcode reminder

barcode

Barcodes are used at all our events to record your result. Please collect and print your barcode here. No barcode, no result!

children at parkrun

We welcome children at parkrun. Please note that those under the age of 11 must be within arm's reach of a parent, guardian or designated adult of the parents' choice whilst attending 5k parkrun events. Children aged 4 to 14 can run unaccompanied at our junior parkrun events.

You can read the latest junior parkrun newsletter here.

volunteering at parkrun

Every parkrun event relies on volunteers and in 2014 alone over 50,000 of you came forward and supported your local event. Volunteering is a wonderful way to make friends, feel great and have fun. If that sounds like it's for you then please contact your local event team for more details.

cancellations

For cancellations please check your event’s news page for the most up to date information.

all questions answered

Do you have a question about parkrun? How do I collect my club t-shirt? How do I get my barcode? All your questions are answered on our brand new support site.

official charity partner

Alzheimer's Research UK

our sponsors

Sweatshop investing in parkrun
Helping people be the best they can be

For 40 years, Sweatshop the award winning running store, has been helping runners find the perfect products for their individual needs. Find your closest store at sweatshop.co.uk


Vitality investing in parkrun
Health insurance that rewards you for living well.

Vitality is insurance that rewards you for being healthy. It's there to protect you when things go wrong unexpectedly but it's also there to help you lead a healthier life - meaning you don't have to claim to be able to benefit. If you keep well, then you're less likely to claim. That means it costs us less to look after you. We think that if we're saving money, you should benefit from that. So as you get healthier, we offer you discounts to encourage you to be healthy, rewards to keep you motivated and to help you rest and relax, and cashback so you've got more money to spend on doing things you love. Find out more about Vitality

Fitbit UK

our supporters

London Marathon supporting parkrun
Inspiring runners of all levels

For information on all events organised by the London Marathon, please visit london-marathon.co.uk


aql supporting parkrun
Delivering your results earlier

For information on the company powering the mobile messaging, please visit aql.com


3 supporting parkrun
Connecting parkrunners everywhere

For information on the mobile communications company, please visit three.co.uk


Change 4 Life supporting parkrun
Eat well, move more, live longer

For more information on Change4Life please visit nhs.uk/change4life


Duke of Edinburgh's Award supporting parkrun
The world’s leading achievement award for young people

For more information on The Duke of Edinburgh's Award please visit dofe.org


 

A new member of the family

We have recently started a junior parkrun locally and so I have become part of the core volunteer team. I do a lot of travelling around different parkruns on a Saturday and so having a regular event to attend on a Sunday and a team to be part of is something I am really looking forward to.
Moormead1

Moormead junior parkrun is based in a little known local park which is a hidden gem of the Richmond Borough.  It has come about because we wanted a weekly event in our area. Some people may know the history of junior parkrun but for those who don't, here’s a quick résumé -

Paul Graham approached Paul with the idea back in 2009. He was already involved with coaching young people but he felt that the events that were on offer at club level were never really going to motivate the majority of juniors to start, never mind continue running into their teens and beyond. They all had restrictions of one kind or another and were so intensely competitive that only elite runners would find them attractive. As a parkrunner himself, he could see how many juniors were running in the 5k events and wanted to offer something to those for whom 5k was just too far. moormead2
After some negotiations, Bushy juniors started in April 2010. We have tried to change Bushy juniors to a weekly event since the re-launch of the junior series in November 2013 but have not been able to get permission from the Royal Parks.

Several junior events are now springing up nearby and Moormead is one of them. Paul Graham has been integral in the organising of this and we consider ourselves very lucky to have such an experienced leader to help us on our way.

We have had two runs so far, one in beautiful sunshine, one in pouring rain and we love it!

Moormead5

We have started small. We believe this has been the best approach because we are getting used to our course, its foibles and tricky bits and we are getting to know each other So far, we have had as many volunteers each week as we have had runners!  We encourage teams to say 'yes' to anyone who offers to volunteer. The more the merrier for several reasons –

 

  • We get to double up on tasks
  • We get to try new things out
  • We aim to have a volunteer team that can flexible in whatever role they take on
  • We get to make more parkrun friends
  • And...we get to chat!

 

Remember to opt-in through your parkrun profile to get regular volunteer appeal emails and updates.

I call Moormead juniors ‘Cone City’. This is because we use a lot of cones! Safety for the juniors is of utmost concern to us and as they are allowed to run around the course without parental supervision we need a lot of marshals and a lot of visual cues as to the right way to go. Even so, on our first week, the front-runners went slightly awry as they sped along. As adults, we thought that the route couldn't have been more obvious! Having seen juniors run around the finish funnel rather than in to it, I now believe anything is possible.

We have found a nearby cafe that allows us to take over a section of it. This week I even took my bike in plus there was a lot of soggy clothing and muddy shoes from the rest of us. That post-parkrun coffee and cake just as welcome on a Sunday as it is on a Saturday.

I have quite a few junior parkrun kit bags to send out in August so look out for updates on events starting near you. We really are changing the face of running in our communities!

Moormead7Moormead6

See you Sunday...

Jo

 

weekly newsletter 23rd July 2015

welcome to the newsletter


In this week’s newsletter Fitbit are enjoying the summer, Alzheimer’s Research UK invite you to run for them, the Sweatshop sale continues and Gary Ovenstone welcomes first-timers to St Andrews parkrun.

When it comes to parkrun, milestones provide motivation and create memories. Reaching the promised land of the fabled 100 club t-shirt or the recently released 25 volunteer club t-shirt is a moment to cherish for every parkrunner.

But for many of us, perhaps the biggest milestone of all in our parkrun journey is mustering the courage to simply take part for the very first time.

For 35 intrepid parkrun debutants recently, at St Andrews parkrun in Craigtoun Park, we did our best to ensure their first experience was one they would never forget. Men, women and children of all ages, including a couple of families, took part in our inaugural ‘First-Timers Initiative’.

The idea was born out of a national study being undertaken with parkrun by a University of St Andrews researcher, Gozde Ozakinci. St Andrews parkrun respondents revealed that as newcomers they had felt a bit unsure before their first run, and although there is always a shout-out to first-timers and an explanation of the route, as the event director I felt we could do more to help our new runners find their way.

As a result, we planned a first-timers meet and greet and spread the message through social media and word of mouth. So many people ended up talking about it that we even attracted coverage in the local newspaper.

On the morning of the run I stood in the car park near the start line, alongside Neil Stewart who is a Jog Leader from STAART (St Andrews Adventure Running Team) to welcome newcomers with a smile and a handshake. The Jog group has almost 200 members, so we provided a brief introduction to how parkrun and STAART work together.

It’s fair to say that some people did look nervous to begin with – which is not uncommon – but were soon put at ease when we explained the inclusive nature of parkrun. We provided a brief history of parkrun, explained that at parkruns in Scotland we meet each week at 9:30am, and of course invited everyone to the post-run café. It was also a great opportunity to answer those common questions such as 'what do I do with my barcode?' and 'I haven't registered, is that okay?' ‘Yes’ we said, just register for next time!

We had three tail runners to support people during the run, and the three-lap nature of our course meant lots of encouragement. At the finish we cheered everyone over the line and even gave out a few hugs to people we knew. But the story didn’t quite end there...

A couple of days later, I saw two familiar faces in the park (see picture below). They were first-timers from Saturday who were getting in a practice run before the next parkrun. To me this is tremendous, and shows that in less than one week we are already changing lives.

The First-Timers Initiative, like the people it caters for, has now embarked on its own epic parkrun journey. We are looking forward to the next one already, and would encourage other parkruns to give it a try.

Gary Ovenstone
St Andrews parkrun event director

run with #TeamARUKparkrun


Alzheimer’s Research UK’s event presence is growing, but parkrunners have the power to change the face of our sporting event profile in the UK, to drive more cutting-edge dementia research than ever before. We have charity places in some of the UK’s top events and this week we profile four which you can sign up for to play your part in this movement.

To join #TeamARUKparkrun and help power the fightback against dementia, apply now or sign-up to support us with your own place.

London Duathlon, Sunday the 20th of September

The London Duathlon is the world’s biggest duathlon. The run-bike-run event offers athletes of all abilities the chance to race through the stunning surroundings of Richmond Park while on closed roads.

Robin Hood Marathon and Half Marathon, Sunday the 27th of September

With a new route for 2015, the Robin Hood Marathon and Half Marathon starts and finishes next to the River Trent on Nottingham’s Victoria Embankment but now takes runners past iconic landmarks that the city has to offer as well as some of the most stunning parkland.

Yorkshire Marathon, Sunday the 11th of October

The Yorkshire Marathon is one of the highlights of the white rose county’s sporting year. The popular and picturesque run takes participants past some of York’s splendid historic sites and along scenic country lanes, making it an attractive prospect for runners of all abilities.

Great Birmingham Run, Sunday the 18th of October

The Great Birmingham Run is the biggest half marathon in the Midlands and attracts competitors from across the UK and around the world. The 13.1-mile course takes in some of the city’s famous sites including the Bullring, Cadbury World and Edgbaston cricket ground.

Visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/parkrun to discover other ways you can make a difference to the people affected by dementia now and in the future.

Miranda Johnson
Head of Corporate & Community Partnerships
Alzheimer’s Research UK

summer’s here, step outside!


We’re definitely enjoying a smashing UK summertime this year! We’ve watched Wimbledon, tracked the Tour De France and basked in the sunshine while watching The Ashes. Thankfully the Fitbit Surge can capture multi-sport activities outside of your parkrun to give you an accurate picture of your personal performance.

With integrated GPS, Fitbit Surge combines all-day tracking with multi-sport activities to give real-time workout stats like pace, distance, elevation climbed, split times, route histories and workout summaries for smarter training.

So don’t just stick to your parkrun this summer, step out and make the most of the chance to get fit in the sunshine while it lasts! Up to seven exercises can be added to your Surge device including Biking, Hiking, Spinning, Yoga, Tennis, and Golf so whatever you’re up to, Fitbit can capture it!

Make sure to share your summer experiences with us via our Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #parkrunfit – we’d love you to check in!

If you feel like treating yourself to the Fitbit Surge, or any of our other products, you’re in luck. parkrunners can take advantage of an exclusive £15 discount + free shipping on any Fitbit with our special parkrun offer. Happy stepping everyone!

the Sweatshop sale continues


Sweatshop are hitting the last few weeks of their SALE and as more prices drop weekly and fantastic new offers are added, now is the time to visit your nearest store or shop online to pick up a running bargain!

With up to 50% off most ranges and big reductions on running watches there is no reason why you shouldn’t treat yourself to some new kit to help on your next adventure or parkrun.

parkrun population


Here are this week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK (including junior parkrun)

Number of runners - 69,814
Number of volunteers - 6,566
Number of first timers - 10,529
Number of PBs - 14,191

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


Following on from visually impaired parkrunner Alison Mead’s article in a recent newsletter, I guided Alison not too long ago. I was a bit apprehensive as I didn’t know what to expect. We were linked together with soft comfortable wrist-bands, and within a couple of minutes of running we got into a nice rhythm and I ran at Alison’s pace. I really enjoyed running with Alison and my nerves melted away with each lap. I would encourage people at other parkruns who may be a bit nervous about guiding to give it a try and volunteer to guide any visually impaired runners in their area. I found guiding Alison a rewarding and awe-inspiring experience and I hope that others will take the time to share their love of running to guide runners like Alison.
Rose Goodchild


Fay Giles regularly brings her children, Aaron and Charlotte to Peter Pan parkrun on a Saturday morning. Fay was celebrating reaching her 50th parkrun milestone, as was her son, so it was quite a family achievement with two out of the three receiving congratulations from the crowd. But Charlotte was not about to be left out as it was announced that her performances in June when she ran on all four Saturdays and achieved a PB on all four occasions had earned her a well deserved Sweatshop Prize for June. It was a great day for the Giles family with lots of parkrun memories to look back upon.
David Bell


Last year I persuaded a group of King's Lynn parkrunners to join me on an epic run along the WW1 Somme battlefield, the route following the front line from Gommecourt to the Thiepval Memorial, where we laid a wreath in memory of those who lost their lives in that most tragic of battles. Clearly not put off by the experience, this year the group joined me again, the run starting to coincide with parkrun back at home. It was a great effort by a group of mixed sex and age all bought together by parkrun. Next year is the 100th anniversary of the start of the battle and it is hoped an even larger group will join me to commemorate the occasion.
Gary Walker


I have so much to thank Shrewsbury parkrun for. A couple of years ago my dad, my brother and I never ran but after being introduced to parkrun by my partner, we were hooked. Everybody was friendly and encouraging but the biggest thank you I have is what parkrun has done for my brother, Dale. Before starting parkrun, Dale was overweight, had no goals in life and didn't think he could do anything. But after two years, he has gone from strength to strength. He can now run 10k in under 40 minutes and still have a steady breath at the end, has knuckled down at school and will be joining the Army in September. Thank you parkrun, from a very proud sister.
Sian Powell


Just under a year ago I publicly set myself the challenge of completing a 10k race in under an hour. When I woke the next day I realised that my previous best was 75 minutes, I only ran when there was the possibility of sausage sandwiches and I hated going to a gym. Fortunately I wandered down to my local parkrun, Wakefield Thornes, in September and discovered an encouraging, friendly and amazing group that didn't care if I was slow as long as I jogged round with a smile. After nine months of their help and support I completed the Leeds 10k in 57:54. Huge thanks to Andy, Lisa and all the volunteers who make our Saturday mornings possible. parkrun rocks!
Richard Lee


Today's Crystal Palace parkrun was special for three reasons. Firstly, it was my first parkrun since the 3rd of January as I had flu which exacerbated my asthma and it has taken all this time to regain my fitness. Secondly I was first in my age group (VM65-69). Thirdly, I have reached my 50th parkrun and now qualify for my 50 club t-shirt. As a retired GP I have the utmost admiration for parkrun and congratulate you on your success and organisation which has enabled people from all standards to enjoy a 5k run on a Saturday morning wherever they may live. I am a firm believer in regular exercise and it is a pleasure to be enjoying my running again. Well done parkrun.
Nick Cambridge

parkrunner of the week


Name:  Nathan Fox

Club:  None

Age:  8

Home parkrun:  Southampton

Occupation:  Student

Number of runs:  59

Favourite volunteer role:  Helping Daddy marshal at junior parkrun

What do you do at parkruns:  I run the 5km with Mummy and other people I know. Mummy can't always keep up with me now, so we find faster people to help me round - I love to chat to them while we're running. At the junior 2k event, I sometimes like to see how fast I can go, and sometimes run with my brothers, playing 'it' while we go round!

How has parkrun changed your running:  When I first did the junior event, I couldn't run all the way. Now I regularly run the whole 5k and I love to see if I can beat my time. I try to control my breathing and stretch out my legs to take bigger steps. This helps me to go faster and I have more energy left at the end to sprint to the finish!

What do you like about parkrun:  I like seeing all the other people running with us, trying to get round the first loop before the fast runners go past us, talking to people and getting out on a Saturday morning. At the end I like to eat my snack to get my energy back. I've even used my parkrun times to make a graph for my school homework!

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment:  The Christmas Day run when there were lots of Santas, reindeer and even a Christmas pudding running round!

reminders

the parkrun store

barcode reminder

barcode

Barcodes are used at all our events to record your result. Please collect and print your barcode here. No barcode, no result!

children at parkrun

We welcome children at parkrun. Please note that those under the age of 11 must be within arm's reach of a parent, guardian or designated adult of the parents' choice whilst attending 5k parkrun events. Children aged 4 to 14 can run unaccompanied at our junior parkrun events.

You can read the latest junior parkrun newsletter here.

volunteering at parkrun

Every parkrun event relies on volunteers and in 2014 alone over 50,000 of you came forward and supported your local event. Volunteering is a wonderful way to make friends, feel great and have fun. If that sounds like it's for you then please contact your local event team for more details.

cancellations

For cancellations please check your event’s news page for the most up to date information.

all questions answered

Do you have a question about parkrun? How do I collect my club t-shirt? How do I get my barcode? All your questions are answered on our brand new support site.

official charity partner

Alzheimer's Research UK

our sponsors

Sweatshop investing in parkrun
Helping people be the best they can be

For 40 years, Sweatshop the award winning running store, has been helping runners find the perfect products for their individual needs. Find your closest store at sweatshop.co.uk


Vitality investing in parkrun
Health insurance that rewards you for living well.

Vitality is insurance that rewards you for being healthy. It's there to protect you when things go wrong unexpectedly but it's also there to help you lead a healthier life - meaning you don't have to claim to be able to benefit. If you keep well, then you're less likely to claim. That means it costs us less to look after you. We think that if we're saving money, you should benefit from that. So as you get healthier, we offer you discounts to encourage you to be healthy, rewards to keep you motivated and to help you rest and relax, and cashback so you've got more money to spend on doing things you love. Find out more about Vitality

Fitbit UK

our supporters

London Marathon supporting parkrun
Inspiring runners of all levels

For information on all events organised by the London Marathon, please visit london-marathon.co.uk


aql supporting parkrun
Delivering your results earlier

For information on the company powering the mobile messaging, please visit aql.com


3 supporting parkrun
Connecting parkrunners everywhere

For information on the mobile communications company, please visit three.co.uk


Change 4 Life supporting parkrun
Eat well, move more, live longer

For more information on Change4Life please visit nhs.uk/change4life


Duke of Edinburgh's Award supporting parkrun
The world’s leading achievement award for young people

For more information on The Duke of Edinburgh's Award please visit dofe.org


 

Something Special

I’ve just been on a mini-tour.

I kept seeing tweets from the Barnsley junior parkrun Twitter account with the hash tag #barnsleyisbrill so I thought I’d go along with the family and check it out for myself.

The ‘Work Experience Lad’ spotted some tell-tail signs of action as we entered the park and that got us quite excited before we’d even arrived at the start line...

Barnsley

We listened attentively to the pre-run brief, applauded as several juniors were presented with their hard-earned participation bands and we joined in the lively warm-up routine led by a bunch of enthusiastic volunteers before the 9am start.

Barnsley

They have a two-lap course at Locke Park and the atmosphere was absolutely electric as the juniors passed through the tunnel of spectating adults and encouraging volunteers after lap one and again as they crossed the finish line. It is most definitely ‘brill’ at Barnsley juniors.

Barnsley

A week later and some of the staff from parkrun UK slipped into the hi-vis at Victoria junior parkrun in Glasgow. I do love a good warm-up and Jim, an ex-primary school PE teacher, certainly knew how to get the field moving that day.

Victoria juniors

Before the juniors toed the line he polished it off with a rousing …

“Give us a p, give us an a, give us a r, give us a k, give us a r, give us a u, give us a n”.

“What does that spell?” asked Jim. “parkrun” the juniors shouted back.

“And what are we here for?” asked Jim. “parkrun” shouted the juniors once more before heading for the start line.

I would challenge anyone to go along to Victoria juniors and not be energised by that! Another ‘brill’ event.

The junior parkrun model is being replicated across the country by our amazing volunteer teams week after week after week; volunteers who are passionate about delivering a free, healthy, nourishing experience for our 4 to 14 year olds.

Because we insist that participants are visible to a marshal at all times at junior parkrun events we do need quite a lot of volunteers. Here’s the Barnsley juniors get involved link which explains how to volunteer, and you’ll find a similar page on every event website. You can also offer your services via the event Facebook page and/or speak to the team on parkrunday Sunday.Your local event really does need you.

It’s incredibly good fun for adults as well as juniors and you’ll seldom see a photograph where volunteers aren’t smiling as much as the parkrunners even when they’re trying to coordinate a group jump...

Victoria juniors

A mere 25 volunteer stints at either juniors and/or at our 5k events and you’d be entitled to one of our Volunteer Club t-shirts as modelled here by parkrun Tom and parkrun Joanne whilst on timekeeping duties at Victoria Park. As someone said on Facebook the other day  - “Purple is the new black”.

Victoria juniors

We currently have 56 fabulous junior events in the UK that are enabling children to get out there week after week and run for fun. Be a part of something special.

You can help make the junior parkrun magic happen. You can help junior parkrun be brill.

Happy parkrunning, volunteering and cheering

Helen

 

weekly newsletter 16th July 2015

welcome to the newsletter


In this week’s newsletter Fitbit give us some tips, Alzheimer’s Research UK introduce us to one of their fundraisers, the Sweatshop sale continues, we invite you to join our tribe and Ira Rainey shares another personal parkrun story.

It’s an old and well-worn adage, but it is true that a picture really is worth a thousand words. In the case of Sarah Whiteman it was a picture that portrayed so clearly her stoic determination as she chased down a personal best at Nostell Priory parkrun, and one that was seen by thousands of parkrun UK Facebook followers after it made cover photo of the week back in February.

What this picture cannot tell you however is how, a couple of years earlier, Sarah was diagnosed with epilepsy hampering her regular trips to the gym where she had been steadily improving her fitness and losing weight, which resulted in gaining back some of the six and a half stone she had worked so hard to previously lose.

It also can’t tell you how despite regularly visiting the gym Sarah wasn’t a runner. She hated running at school and had certainly never ran anywhere as an adult either. Nor does it give away the fact that she only started running after being enticed, through work, by the challenge of a local 10k only months earlier.

Riding the high of completing the 10k Sarah soon discovered parkrun. Like all newcomers she was welcomed into the Saturday morning bosom of community spirit that exists at each and every event and became something she never imagined - a regular runner.

As with the fantastic This Girl Can Run campaign currently rolling out across the country Sarah is a sterling example of one girl who didn’t think she could, until she tried and found not only that she could, but that she loved it. She has since gone on to join her local club, Ackworth Road Runners, and is now entering races from 5k up to half marathon.

What the picture shows very clearly is a runner who is determined. Determined not to let the fact that she isn’t the fastest or the fittest stop her from being who she is and just enjoying being a runner. parkrun allows her - along with many others every week - to do just that.

Standing on the start line of any event takes confidence both in yourself and your own abilities. We all have our own issues, worries and insecurities, we wouldn’t be human without them, but through a supportive collection of like-minded individuals, parkrun helps runners of all levels push those to one side every Saturday morning and strive to get the very best from themselves. That’s what Sarah’s picture showed us so well. That’s the power of parkrun.

improve your performance


When we first discovered parkrun, we loved how welcome everyone is, from experienced runners to first timers, from those running in under 20 mins to those who have a slightly more gentle pace! Whatever your goals it always feels great to know that you’re working on beating them, so here are a few of our top tips to get that personal best:

1. It takes 21 days to form a habit (apparently!) so make running part of your routine: If you make a habit of getting up early for a few laps of the park, or go for a jog after work, it’ll soon start to feel strange if you don’t go for a run.

2. Small steps add up so set realistic goals and a progression timeline: Setting a goal that’s almost impossible to reach is just going to make you feel deflated if you don’t do it. Build on your achievements and don’t forget to reward yourself at each stage

3. Get technical: A Fitbit can help you to monitor and improve performance. For example, the Surge and Charge HR can help track your resting heart rate, and your heart rate during exercise, which are both indicators of your fitness. Set your stride length for your Fitbit and keep track of your runs and distances clocked up.

4. Get to know your stomping ground: Knowing the area where you run helps you envisage an end point. If you know you’ve only got another two turns to go before you can head home, it won’t seem so hard to keep going.

5. Get some inspiration: Having a reason behind your running is really useful, especially if you find yourself flagging. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or raise money to help others, or just to improve overall stamina and fitness, exercise goals can act as daily motivation to keep going.

Stay in touch on Facebook and on Twitter using the hashtag #parkrunfit and share your personal experiences – it’s always good to get some support and encouragement from like-minded parkrunners in the social community!

Considering a Fitbit for tracking your training? You can still take advantage of the £15 discount and free shipping on any Fitbit with our special parkrun offer. Happy stepping everyone!

why Claire supports ARUK


parkrunner Claire Nutbrown, from Ossett in West Yorkshire, will run her first half marathon later this year to boost funds for parkrun’s official charity partner, Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The married mum of two boys, Sam, eight, and Louie, five, will join 16,000 other runners for the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon through central London on Sunday the 11th of October. Claire will be spurred on by thoughts of her mother-in-law, Joyce, who was diagnosed with vascular dementia four years ago. The 82 year old lives in a care home a couple of miles from the home she shared with her husband of 59 years, Gordon, before she became too ill.

Claire, 37, is continuing her son Sam’s fundraising legacy. Last year, aged just seven, he raised around £1,400 for Alzheimer’s Research UK with a sponsored swim. Claire has run and volunteered at a number of parkruns across Yorkshire including Pontefract, Temple Newsam, Barnsley and Sewerby and is also a member of the Rodillian Runners running club in Wakefield.

She said: “I started running around five years ago and I’ve dipped in and out ever since. I signed up for parkrun around a year ago. The original draw of parkrun was that it was free, but there’s always a fantastic atmosphere and everyone encourages each other.

“I was so pleased when I heard parkrun had partnered with Alzheimer’s Research UK as I know first-hand just how cruel dementia can be. My mother-in-law was a really active lady, who even as a pensioner would do line dancing and yoga, but the dementia progressed quickly and she now needs round-the-clock care. Some people think of dementia as just a bit of forgetfulness and something that just happens when you get older, but it’s not – it completely robs people of their personalities.

“I’m nervous but excited about my first half marathon. I’ve done a few 10k runs but this will be a massive challenge for me. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it without making it meaningful, and that’s why I’m raising money for Alzheimer’s Research UK – a cause very close to my heart. This charity gives us the best hope of stopping dementia in its tracks and I’d urge other parkrunners to get involved so we can beat it together.”

To discover how you can support vital dementia research as a parkrunner, visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/parkrun

the Sweatshop sale continues


Sweatshop are hitting the last few weeks of their SALE and as more prices drop weekly and fantastic new offers are added, now is the time to visit your nearest store or shop online to pick up a running bargain!

With up to 50% off most ranges and big reductions on running watches there is no reason why you shouldn’t treat yourself to some new kit to help on your next adventure or parkrun.

parkrun purple


We’re starting to see some of the new milestone t-shirts out and about, and our volunteers in particular have been proudly parading their new club tees at parkruns across the UK.

If you’d like to join the ‘parkrun Tribe’ look for us on Facebook or follow this link and just in case you missed the latest update regarding milestone t-shirts here it is again.

parkrun population


Here are this week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK (including junior parkrun)

Number of runners - 66,889
Number of volunteers - 6,322
Number of first timers - 9,997
Number of PBs - 12,407

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


Carlisle parkrun is home to my Saturday morning family. I first dragged myself round there on the 2nd of February 2013. Fast forward two and a bit years and I completed my 100th parkrun on the 27th of June this year. I am immensely proud of myself as until my first parkrun, I had spent 34 years telling myself that I couldn't run. This year has been ‘my year’ as far as running goes, as after completing Manchester Marathon in April I think I can safely call myself a runner! parkrun has been a vital part of my training and introduced me to my beloved running group the DH Runners. Without either of these, I would not be able to complete my goals. Here's to the next t-shirt!
Frances Braithwaite


I'm 58, a father of eight and I‘ve been parkrunning for two and a half years. My first parkrun experience was supporting my eldest son when he did his first run, and I thought 'How hard can it be?' Very hard (at first), was the answer. Last week, with 109 parkruns under my belt, I was proud to run with my youngest daughter as she joined the parkrun family for the first time. There were three of my boys running with us, too. In total, seven out of ten of the Pemberton family have now completed at least one parkrun. One day, I hope we'll all get out together. So, thank you parkrun, it's no overstatement to say you've changed our lives, and we are very grateful.
Brian Pemberton


Last Saturday afternoon I ordered my long anticipated parkrun 50 t-shirt from Wiggle in Portsmouth. This morning, less than two days later, it arrived in Inverness. Wiggle, Tribesports, Royal Mail and of course parkrun - thank you - you made my day!
Phil Masterson


My first parkrun was on the 10th of January this year after the scales were dragged out at work and the excesses of Christmas were revealed. So I pulled on a pair of old trainers and found some shorts and a shirt. My first run took longer than I expected and I stopped three times. I realised I was not as fit as I thought I was. ‘It’s not a race’ I chanted as people repeatedly overtook me. Fast forward to today and I'm still chanting but I’m way ahead of where I was. I’m running regularly, I have lost weight, made new mates and feel loads better. Thanks to Hull parkrun and its volunteers, cheers!
Lee Murrell


My girlfriend and I are regular runners and volunteers at Comber parkrun, Northern Ireland. I enjoy trying out different parkruns and last month had the opportunity to take part in Kraków parkrun in my girlfriend's home city. It was an extremely well organised and very welcoming event with a lovely, fast course. I am pretty sure that if I hadn't over-indulged in the local food and drink on the evening before, I would have finally recorded a sub 20 minute time! So close, but I’m already looking forward to trying the course again in the future.
Richard McAlpin


Last week at Aberdeen parkrun I ran my 100th parkrun along with Shona. It was pouring with rain but many of our friends came along - some to run with us and some just to cheer us on. Afterwards we went for our usual tea and a celebratory cake. This time last year I was just getting back to running after hurting my back and my friends at parkrun helped and encouraged me to get back to it. I love parkrun, it’s a great reason to switch on the alarm on a Saturday morning.
Diane Robertson


In 1995 I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, which saw me hospitalised for months. My life was in danger and I was informed that if I survived that I would probably never walk again. After an intense rehabilitation regimen I was finally back on my feet. The illness has become part of my normal daily life and I think nothing of it now. This year I took to exercising again and my old school friend Andrea who attends the Thetford parkrun convinced me to have a go. Five parkruns later, I have just completed my first 10k race in just over an hour, supported by the Thetford parkrun crew. I was last in my age category but I finished it. I never thought it would be possible.
Paul Fowler


Having dabbled with running last year, I started doing Eastleigh parkrun around March time this year, not being able to complete a lap to start off with. Everyone there has been so encouraging, especially Jenny Lee and Jane Gould. Having finally got me running the full 5k we three ladies have also been running two evenings a week. With their untold amounts of help and encouragement, today the three of us completed my very first 10k race together and we ran the whole way. I never would have believed I could manage 10k! I would like to say a massive thankyou to Jenny, Jane and all the Eastleigh parkrunners.
Sarah Townsend


Having recently moved to Basildon from Wales, I knew that meeting people would be key to settling in. I look forward to every Saturday as all my friends here are parkrunners. I don't know what I would have done without Basildon parkrun. Everyone has made me feel so welcome.
Lucy Kemish


I started running at Hull parkrun last year to help me shed some weight after having a hernia operation and also to get fit for a race. I have since found that Peter Pan parkrun is closer and after the setback of having my appendix out in January of this year, I am so pleased to be able to complete my 50th parkrun there the day before my 50th birthday. I never thought I would make it this far, but thanks to the volunteers and their encouragement, and my son and daughter who run with me I can already envisage my 100th run next year and the feeling of elation.
Fay Giles


At Yeovil Montacute we celebrated Air Day at the local RNAS Yeovilton air station with the inaugural demonstration of the Montacute Arrows - as the runners assembled at the start, they were invited to cast their eyes to the horizon as a solitary runner in red made his way down the centre of the Avenue, only to be joined by two runners, then another two, until there were 11 runners in red running line abreast before dropping down into the dip. A countdown from five and the command “Split”, the field got to witness a perfectly executed Champagne Split – a manoeuvre we pinched from the real Red Arrows!
Martin Chaffey

parkrunner of the week


Name:  Russell Logan

Club:  Unattached

Age:  33

Home parkrun:  Greenwich parkrun

Occupation:  Market Manager

Number of runs:  58

Favourite volunteer role:  Post-event Close Down

What do you do at parkruns:  I like to do the event close downs as I still like to run. I always arrive early to meet my friends and have a good stretch. It's such an amazing social event and I get to catch up with people I don’t normally see.

How has parkrun changed your running:  I didn't start running until I took up parkrunning, so it was the first time I'd ever completed a run. This is why it’s so special to me, I had high blood pressure and was getting very unfit. Since I have been doing the runs my blood pressure has dropped and I feel much much healthier. parkrun has also spurred me on to do half marathons, obstacle races and now I have even entered the London Marathon next year! parkrun has really changed my life for the better.

What do you like about parkrun:  I love the feeling of self-worth it gives me. I used to spend my Saturday in bed but now I get up early, excited about the day ahead. parkrun gives me the energy and focus I need to always have a proactive weekend. Life's too short, you should enjoy every minute and be the fittest and healthiest you can. I cannot thank you guys enough for how my life has changed for the better. The photo attached shows how hard I worked to get my personal best, it took me months of trying but I got there.

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment:  I remember one of my first parkruns and I had a bit of stitch so stopped at the side of the path to get my breath. As I was walking along, a young lad no older than eight or nine stopped, patted me on the back and said 'keep going, not long left, you can do it'. It was amazing that not only did he stop to see if I was OK, but those words pushed me to almost sprint home to the finish line. I now live by the motto 'the only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday'.

reminders

the parkrun store

barcode reminder

barcode

Barcodes are used at all our events to record your result. Please collect and print your barcode here. No barcode, no result!

children at parkrun

We welcome children at parkrun. Please note that those under the age of 11 must be within arm's reach of a parent, guardian or designated adult of the parents' choice whilst attending 5k parkrun events. Children aged 4 to 14 can run unaccompanied at our junior parkrun events.

You can read the latest junior parkrun newsletter here.

volunteering at parkrun

Every parkrun event relies on volunteers and in 2014 alone over 50,000 of you came forward and supported your local event. Volunteering is a wonderful way to make friends, feel great and have fun. If that sounds like it's for you then please contact your local event team for more details.

cancellations

For cancellations please check your event’s news page for the most up to date information.

all questions answered

Do you have a question about parkrun? How do I collect my club t-shirt? How do I get my barcode? All your questions are answered on our brand new support site.

official charity partner

Alzheimer's Research UK

our sponsors

Sweatshop investing in parkrun
Helping people be the best they can be

For 40 years, Sweatshop the award winning running store, has been helping runners find the perfect products for their individual needs. Find your closest store at sweatshop.co.uk


Vitality investing in parkrun
Health insurance that rewards you for living well.

Vitality is insurance that rewards you for being healthy. It's there to protect you when things go wrong unexpectedly but it's also there to help you lead a healthier life - meaning you don't have to claim to be able to benefit. If you keep well, then you're less likely to claim. That means it costs us less to look after you. We think that if we're saving money, you should benefit from that. So as you get healthier, we offer you discounts to encourage you to be healthy, rewards to keep you motivated and to help you rest and relax, and cashback so you've got more money to spend on doing things you love. Find out more about Vitality

Fitbit UK

our supporters

London Marathon supporting parkrun
Inspiring runners of all levels

For information on all events organised by the London Marathon, please visit london-marathon.co.uk


aql supporting parkrun
Delivering your results earlier

For information on the company powering the mobile messaging, please visit aql.com


3 supporting parkrun
Connecting parkrunners everywhere

For information on the mobile communications company, please visit three.co.uk


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