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


 

Little Legged Limits

At parkrun we want to encourage as many people as possible to take part. The reason for establishing a junior series was to provide events that were focused specifically on younger parkrunners and which gave them the opportunity to enjoy physical activity in a supportive, safe, friendly environment.

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However, as with the 5k events, we needed to set some rules about participation for the benefit of everyone involved. These rules are not put in place because we want to make life difficult for people and neither were they simply dreamt up out of thin air. All the policies were carefully thought through, and based on extensive discussions with parkrunners and external experts.

For example, you can run with one dog on a lead at a 5k event but we don’t allow dogs at junior parkruns. Why is this? In our view dogs and an event focused on little people don’t mix. The risk of tripping over a lead or stepping in some doggy 'do-do' (or don't -don't) was greater than the benefit of the accompanying parent being able to bring Rover or Spot along for a run. We also decided that parents couldn’t cross the finish line. This was so that the children could have their moment of glory in an event that is purely focused on their participation, as well as limiting the problems that might be encountered if adults came down the finish funnel and were accidentally given a finish time or token.

When we were developing the junior series we also gave careful consideration to the lower and upper age limits of the children. We sought the advice of professionals in the areas of children’s development and pediatrics as well as from UK Athletics (UKA). We chose 14 as the upper limit as we thought that most children over 14 should be physiologically mature enough to complete a 5k parkrun. We were advised that the lower age limit should be four, and children younger than that are (generally) not sufficiently physiologically developed to complete 2k. In addition, this was in line with the parkrun policy that states that only those over the age of four can register.

Of course, it is very difficult to set these boundaries as there will always be children older than 14 that cannot complete a 5k, and for whom 2k may be more suitable, and there may be 3yr olds who are able to complete the 2k without a problem. There are also young people who feel they have the aptitude to be able to vote before they are 18 or get a full drivers license before they reach 17 - but our society nevertheless has to set limits.

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We appreciate that the parkrun rules, especially regarding age, may be frustrating for some. You might have a 3yr old that can run/walk 2k and who is yearning to take part in a junior parkrun. You might have even taken part with your 3yr old and been told that he or she cannot cross the finish line. However, limits had to be set in order that we can safeguard the majority and hence have to be enforced by our event teams.

Whilst we want to encourage everyone to take part we hope all parents and guardians understand why we have put these rules in place, and respect the position of event teams when they say that any child under four cannot cross the finish line or receive a time.

At Little Stoke juniors there is a 3yr old who comes along and walks/jogs some, or all, of the route (often as a co-Tail Runner with her parents) but never crosses the finish line.

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I know that she (and her parents!) are looking forward to her reaching that magical age milestone where she can finally join in properly with the big kids. That will surely make her fourth birthday one to remember!

Thank you for your understanding and support, and happy junior parkrunning everyone!

Chrissie

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weekly newsletter 9th July 2015

welcome to the newsletter


In this week’s newsletter Sweatshop continue their sale, we hear from our first ever employee for the last time in ‘Crispy corner’ and visually impaired parkrunner Alison Mead tells us why she runs.

In 2005 I lost my sight following a brain haemorrhage and four strokes. Afterwards I put on a huge amount of weight.

I have always been active and enjoyed swimming, badminton and table tennis, but sport of any kind seemed no longer an option. I have Ted my guide dog but I am single, have few family and usually no help. So I contacted British Triathlon looking for a way to take part in sport again, and they put me in touch with a wonderful woman called Roz McGinty.

Roz had not had any training as a guide so we just went for a few runs on our own along a path near my house to get used to running together. Guides are often just as nervous as me, maybe even more so when we first run together.

In November 2014 Roz guided me at my first parkrun, in St Albans. When I crossed the finish line I remember being really pleased that I had been able to complete the course and I wanted to do another one.

Then in January this year, South Oxhey parkrun started within walking distance from my home. Lesley Keddy, one of the Ricky Running Sisters - a local running group - coordinates a list of volunteers from the club who guide me. Lesley also tries to find someone willing to look after Ted as I can only run if somebody will hold him. Since going along to the third event I have not missed a single parkrunday, having run 20 times and also volunteered as a course marshal.

The atmosphere at parkrun is fantastic and I love being with other people who are running and encouraging each other. I enjoy meeting people who have similar interests and am making new friends. Not being able to see where I am is a bit unnerving sometimes but the enjoyment of running is so much greater than the nerves. I rely on sound - listening to the directions from my guide and feeling what I can through the tether or contact - and I only know who the runners or volunteers are when they tell me. I'm not worried about tripping or falling when I run because bumps and bruises are more likely to happen when I'm walking along the street.

I run because it makes me feel physically and mentally stronger and is helping me lose weight. I have arthritis which doesn't hurt as much if I exercise. I am asthmatic so running helps me control my breathing. I have depression which sometimes gets really bad, but running helps me cope.

This September, Roz will guide me in a sprint triathlon. I would love to step up to an Olympic distance triathlon, and plan to run a marathon one day. parkrun has a huge part to play in achieving those goals.

My advice to any visually impaired person who wants to try running is three simple words - do a parkrun! If you don’t have anyone to guide you, ask your local parkrun if someone is in a position to help. Running helps physically and mentally. It increases confidence. And you will make some wonderful friends.

Alison Mead

If you are interested in being a guide runner at a local parkrun and/or would be interested in training opportunities to become a guide runner, please get in touch.

Sweatshop’s half price sale continues


Sweatshop continues its Summer Sale with big reductions on top running brands. With further price drops and more lines added, now is the perfect time to visit your local store or shop online at www.sweatshop.co.uk to find discounted running gear. With up to 50% off some of our leading brands, why not pick up another pair of running shoes or upgrade your current pair.

For terms and conditions, please visit the website at www.sweatshop.co.uk and take a look at the great deals on offer.

To keep ahead of the latest launches from sweatshop.co.uk, take a look at our Facebook and Twitter pages. Check out the Sweatshop Run Hub for all the latest running news and advice.

parkrun population


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

Number of runners - 63,741
Number of volunteers - 6,377
Number of first timers - 9,729
Number of PBs - 9,682

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


Last Saturday my 41st parkrun coincided with my 65th birthday. I run at Chelmsford Central parkrun with my daughter Liz who very kindly supplied me with a ‘65’ helium balloon and badge. The run director also announced my birthday! Despite the heat I managed to get round with my balloon wrapped around me and my friend Sue to chat to. Liz met me near the end to have a photo taken with me. I lost count of the number of "happy birthdays" I received along the way and as I approached the finish funnel, a chorus of "Happy Birthday to You" rang out from everyone waiting there. It was fantastic and a truly wonderful start to my birthday. Thanks Chelmsford Central parkrun, you are amazing.
Linda Allen


I joined a Couch to 5k group in Wilmslow in April 2015 and completed my first parkrun the following month and thoroughly enjoyed it. I love the camaraderie around the course and the helpful volunteers. My Couch to 5k group dwindled in size so I decided to recruit new members to aim for a future parkrun. With the help of two local papers and Wilmslow parkrun we are now part of Wilmslow Walk To Run Group with around 20 regular members and growing. We've made links with two other walk to run groups and we'll all be taking part in our first group parkrun in September.
Helena Hodgson


Greenock parkrun has been a godsend for me. I am 53 years old and a keen golfer, but in January I was diagnosed with adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) and with the new season on the horizon I had to find something to do as the condition is likely to sideline me for a year. So on the 31st of January I went along to Greenock parkrun and was warmly welcomed by the event organisers. My first time was a little pedestrian, but I managed it. Now 15 events later and with 11 PBs along the way, I have made an improvement of almost nine minutes. parkrun has given me something to focus on and importantly is making me fitter and much healthier.
David Black


Last Saturday whilst on a weekend away in Whitby, I managed to get my Dad to come with me to parkrun. Our closest run was at Stewart Park in Middlesbrough and we were both blown away by how friendly and genuine everyone was there. I'd like to thank them for making us feel very welcome. It was a fantastic first experience for my dad. He loved it and I'm sure he will be trying out his local parkruns in Nottinghamshire soon.
Claire Jones


In a single scene I wanted to capture the essence of my home parkrun in Tring, Hertfordshire, 30 miles north-west of London. The run is relatively new, having started last autumn. It is, however, renowned for two distinctive challenges - the very steep chalk scarp ascent at the start, and the notoriously unpredictable herd of calves. Tring Park provides a stunning backdrop though, and with the morning summer sun shining there is no better way to kick start the weekend. The eclectic mix of runners is impressive, a multicoloured mix of young and old, those pushing buggies and those with dogs. parkrun is a fantastic community event and the volunteers are simply amazing. Come and join us amongst the stunning Chilterns scenery.
Phil Wilcock

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:  Chris Amy

Club:  West Wight Road Runners

Age:  64

Home parkrun:  Medina IOW parkrun

Occupation:  I enjoy life! I do lots and lots of things but as little housework as possible.

Number of runs:  105

Favourite volunteer role:  Tail Runner

What do you do at parkruns:  At parkrun I usually volunteer to be tail runner as I love cheering on the runners, encouraging the not-so-confident runners and assuring the first-timers that they will be fine and their times will improve. I tend to be one of the more visible parkrunners (as a report writer described me) and I'm probably one of the more vocal but I do love cheering everyone on.

How has parkrun changed your running:  parkrun has kept me moving. I have been 'athletic' all my life and my body is now telling me to stop. parkrun allows me to run, jog or just walk. There is no pressure to prove anything, just being there is enough.

What do you like about parkrun:  I love the running community at Medina parkrun. As runners, we come in all shapes and sizes and all ages, there are no barriers. We are a very friendly, family-orientated group with a team of dedicated volunteers. All our runs are fun.

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment:  My most memorable parkrun was our first anniversary at Medina when I pushed my grandson, Liam and granddaughter, Niamh around in a double buggy. There were more PBs that day than ever before as no-one wanted to finish behind a granny pushing a buggy!

parkrun corner

Chris Wright

In August 2007 parkrun didn’t exist, although something called UKTT had just been born. With three events in the UK, it had already chalked up 24,500 runs by 5,000 registered athletes. And that month I became employee number one. As time passed it slowly dawned on us that this beast was going to be big. I was privileged enough to have been involved in some of the defining moments in parkrun history (for that is what UKTT became), and have continued to be amazed as it has grown and grown. parkrun currently operates in 11 countries, has around 650 weekly events at which 1.7 million registered parkrunners have notched up close to 10 million runs. But all good things come to an end. It’s time, after eight years, for me to move on to new challenges. Many thanks to all my colleagues (in particular to Alan, James, Jane, John and Richard: aka ‘The Technology Team’) for their skill, dedication, enthusiasm and commitment. Many thanks to the parkrunners everywhere (particularly the ones who, even now, still say kind things about ‘Crispy Corner’ - apparently there are stats fans everywhere). And last but not least, many thanks to each and every volunteer who has helped make parkrun happen. You always have been the stars of parkrun – long may you sparkle.

Crispy

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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