welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s newsletter Alzheimer’s Research UK announce their new look, Run Britain launch #clickyourclock, Chris Davies looks forward to supporting growth in Wales, we’re getting excited about our coffee-table book and I thank the team.
People’s ideas around the parkrun infrastructure seem to vary from thinking we’re some kind of super-corporate global giant with offices on the top floor of a Canary Wharf skyscraper to asking ‘what do you do for a real job?’ The latter is something I get asked by someone most weeks of the year! The truth is that we have a wonderfully diverse team of around ten full-time staff dedicated to supporting parkrun specifically in the UK and another group of mega-brainy tech gurus who partly support us and partly support the rest of the parkrun world with all things IT. We each work from home and as liberating as it is to sit here writing the newsletter in my fluffy pink spotty dressing gown, ‘remote’ working can often end up feeling, well, remote… not great for an organisation based on social interaction in open spaces. He says whilst sitting in a box at the bottom of his garden staring at a screen. On his own.
So… to spice things up a bit the parkrun UK staff get together every quarter for three valuable days of face to face discussions around how we do what we do. This quarter we spent (last) Thursday afternoon working with the folks from Alzheimer's Research UK at their Cambridge offices, all day Friday discussing the way we work together as a team and sharing the challenges each of us face, and Saturday at the brilliantly social Wimpole Estate parkrun.
What did we learn? The most important thing perhaps is that when you turn something you love (running around in the open air) into your job, you have to be really careful about two things… spending 24 hours a day seven days a week thinking about work, and working so hard that you no longer find the time to run around in the open air. Too much of anything is never good (of course, otherwise it wouldn’t be too much) and right now for most of us that’s turning into too much talking about running and too much not actually moving. I think a season ticket in the standing area of my local football club could be the answer… either that or we should invent some kind of pill that turns words into actions without having to actually do anything. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to get fitter just by talking about it?
Anyway, I’m waffling now and I just wanted to use this opportunity to thank the amazing team of staff that we have here at parkrun. You guys absolutely rock and are so often forgotten despite working every hour possible to bring free, weekly, timed runs to hundreds of communities all around the UK. I cannot tell you how proud I am of your selfless dedication to our wonderful movement.
P.S. You can read this week’s junior parkrun newsletter here.
new look, renewed ambition
Over the last year we’ve been talking to people with dementia and our supporters about the impact of dementia. A word we frequently heard from affected families was ‘powerlessness’.
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias take so much from people, shattering lives. But at Alzheimer’s Research UK, we know pioneering research is our best hope of giving that power back. This week, we’re restating our intention to defeat dementia and have launched a fresh new brand we’ve developed with the help of many supporters and families.
We hope you enjoy the new website and the revamped section which shows how you as a parkrunner can get involved with the mission to defeat dementia. You can also discover a wealth of information on our research and essential background on dementia.
In recent months some of you will have seen headlines in the news or read in the parkrun newsletter about our major new research developments. Our research is focused on bringing benefits to people with dementia sooner.
We have launched the world’s first network of dementia Drug Discovery Institutes at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and UCL – an Alliance uniting the strongest academic centres with the best expertise in drug development. We plan to open more.
We have established our Global Clinical Trials Fund to support critical early phase drug trials. It’ll help push more promising treatments through development and into the hands of people with dementia. We’ll be working with other research funders, charities and industry at home and around the world to make sure all the discoveries you help fund are quickly put to work in creating better treatments, improved diagnosis and preventions.
A generation ago we took the fight to cancer. People broke down the stigma, talked about their diagnosis and supported research that has made many cancers survivable. We are now in a fightback against dementia. We have huge ambitions we are committed to delivering over the coming years and we hope you’ll join us in realising them.
Director, Alzheimer’s Research UK
P.S. Thank you to the runners and volunteers at Wimpole Estate parkrun for their warm welcome on Saturday – all the staff from Alzheimer’s Research UK and the management team from parkrun UK had a fantastic morning. We look forward to meeting more of you across the country as the partnership grows. Together, we have the power to defeat dementia.
#clickyourclock is underway
The newly formatted 2015 Reward Running Competition #clickyourclock is now underway at runbritain.com. This competition gives those who take part in runbritain licensed events and parkruns the opportunity to see their handicap score percentage improvement and to win a heart rate monitor on a weekly basis.
To enter the competition runners must:
- claim their handicap and then login
- complete a runbritain licensed race or parkrun during the week of the competition
- #clickyourclock on the relevant results page
- enter before 12 noon each Wednesday
Join in today at runbritain.com.
The ‘parkrun: a celebration’ photo book is a 120-page tribute to the first 10 years of parkrun, created and curated by a volunteer team of photography, design and journalism professionals.
The coffee-table style hardback book features interviews with parkrunners from across the globe and page after page of stunning photography from all corners of the parkrun world.
We have only committed to print 2,500 copies, to be sold on a first come first served basis, so don’t miss out on your chance to own a unique piece of parkrun history! On sale this Friday from our online store.
Here are this week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK (including junior parkrun)
Number of runners - 60,163
Number of volunteers - 5,566
Number of first timers - 7,533
Number of PBs - 11,311
feedback from the field
Let us know if you have an interesting parkrun related fact, happening or comment that you would like to share with all parkrunners
Hi parkrun UK
I was delighted to be awarded the Bedfont Lakes parkrun Sweatshop Monthly Prize for February. It caused me to reflect on my parkrun journey. Never having been a runner I came to Bedfont Lakes parkrun in January 2011, half expecting not to return. I got such a friendly welcome that I'm now two short of 150 parkruns, have done numerous 10k's (many with Teddington Sweatshop) and eight half marathons. I'm not built like a runner and I don't think of myself as a runner but, thanks to all the wonderful people I've met through parkrun, I definitely consider myself a parkrunner. Since my first parkrun our average attendance has almost doubled but so has the friendliness. parkrun is simply the best!
Hi parkrun UK
As all my family run and as I was watching and cheering anyway, I offered to marshal. I have made some amazing friends, the team at Yeovil Montacute are brilliant and parkrun has given me a new lease of life. Thank you to the core team and marshals, and to all the runners who I shout to from the top of my hill. You make my Saturday a little better after seeing you.Keep up the amazing work and best of luck.
Hi parkrun UK
Thank you so much parkrun for adopting Alzheimer's Research UK as your official charity. I gave up smoking about four years ago and started to put on weight which prompted me to start running. I joined a local running club and was introduced to parkrun. I'm now addicted to both running and parkrun! In August 2012 I was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, which was a tremendous shock at 58. I am determined not to let Alzheimer's stop me running, quite the reverse in fact - I run whenever I can, try not to miss a parkrun and do my best to live a healthy lifestyle. I am, as the saying goes, living well with dementia. I’m hoping that a cure is found for all of us with Alzheimer's Disease before before we're too much further down the line.
Hi parkrun UK
At Newcastle parkrun we are delighted to congratulate Allen Mulliss for being the first runner here to complete 250 parkruns. Allen started running at Albert parkrun in Middlesbrough but has been a regular at Newcastle parkrun since the first run in 2010. Allen is a lovely man and a great runner. I have no doubt that he will inspire many more to follow in his footsteps to reach the goal of 250 parkruns. We are all so proud of Allen's achievement and look forward to seeing his new t-shirt. Now for the next 250!
Hi parkrun UK
A 50@50 challenge with a difference! As I enter my 50th year I fancied doing something a bit special so have got in touch with ten different friends across the world to introduce them to parkrun by joining them for a catch up on a Saturday morning followed by a nice meal and a chat. Some I have not seen for a decade, and am tired of the ‘must meet up’ messages in our Christmas cards. So my destinations include Tring, Abingdon, Inverness, Farnham, St. Albans and furthest away Lower Hutt in Wellington, New Zealand. My first away run last weekend in Cheltenham started off my challenge which will be interspersed with ten home runs over the year at Conkers.
Hi parkrun UK
I would like to say a huge thank you to Adam Shaul and Mick Conway of Southsea parkrun who take turns to be running buddies for our seven year old son Owen. He runs faster than his sister and without these guys, he would have to slow down to be with us. He really enjoys parkrun and beating the rest of the family. Big thanks to these guys - this really epitomises the community event that is parkrun.
Hi parkrun UK
Crystal Palace parkrunners Stephen Glackin (right), Jim Dickson (middle) and Chris Homewood (left) from Nonsuch parkrun all completed the Vitality Brighton Half Marathon on Sunday the 22nd of February. Both Stephen and Jim also ran parkrun on the Saturday, with Stephen finishing first. Well done guys.
parkrunner of the week
Name: Brian Russell
Home parkrun: Brighton and Hove parkrun
Occupation: IT Engineer
Number of runs: 121
Favourite volunteer role: Barcode Scanning
What do you do at parkruns: Run, volunteer and make new friends during the post-run coffee gathering.
How has parkrun changed your running: It's improved my fitness and general health.
What do you like about parkrun: The excellent friendly atmosphere and how welcome you’re made to feel.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: Being nominated and doing the Ice Bucket Challenge at the end of my run.