welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s newsletter Intersport offers a parkrunner discount, Fitbit has 5 steps to 5k, we meet an outstanding Alzheimer’s Research UK fundraiser, you can volunteer for the London 2017 World Athletics Championships, our founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt writes about the joy of running, and Cath Shellswell invites us to be part of National Meadows Day this Saturday.
I started running, like most people, because I wanted to get fitter (and need to be in shape for work) and love being outside. My job involves surveying grassland and farms during the summer. However, lunchtime runs were a little dull until I discovered a parkrun starting down the road at Longrun Meadow in Somerset.
I joined the community of more than 200 runners and walkers, and with a relatively flat course it left lots of time to look around and enjoy the landscape. The park is well used by lots of people; dog-walkers, children playing games, and the river is often used by kayakers. Longrun is a wildlife haven in the centre of the town, and I was amazed at the number of different bird songs that I could hear. I have even spotted water voles and otters. Through my involvement with parkrun, the local community group found out that I work with wildflowers and asked me to help create a wildflower meadow. Last year we sowed yellow rattle, a plant that parastises grasses, with the hope to sow more wildflowers in a few years time to increase the pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects.
Many parkruns take place through meadows. Lullingstone parkrun in Kent passes through spectacular wildflower meadows where training courses take place as part of the national Save our Magnificent Meadows project. Penrhyn parkrun near Bangor in Wales has had donor seed taken from a Coronation Meadow and spread near the castle in the middle of the running course. Coastal strips and road verges are also places where wildflowers will thrive.
Save Our Magnificent Meadows is the UK’s largest partnership project, transforming the fortunes of vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife. Led by Plantlife, the partnership is made up of 11 organisations and is primarily funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The aim of the partnership is to give people all over the UK the chance to visit, enjoy and learn about our wildflower meadows and grasslands, to raise awareness of their desperate plight and to equip communities with the knowledge and skills to reverse their decline.
National Meadows Day is this Saturday, 2 July, and more than 60 events are taking place across the UK. It is all about celebrating our meadow wildlife, so if you still have some breath left after your parkrun, check out the events in your local area.
enjoy 10% off at Intersport
What a month June has been! It was fantastic to see so many parkrunners at our Intersport stores across the country, making the most of your 20% parkrun offer and chatting to us about your running goals and achievements. We hope that you are enjoying your new pieces of kit at your weekly parkruns.
As we head into July we are delighted to confirm that parkrunners can continue to claim 10% off as an ongoing community offer #PPP (parkrun partnership price*). Simply show your parkrun barcode in store any time you need some new running gear.
You’re allowed to take a few hours off to watch Wimbledon, of course – and be smug that the likes of Andy Murray have got where they are thanks to plenty of running and fitness training. Something as runners we’ve known all along, of course!
As always, we are here to help with kit and advice about all things running. Pop into your local store for a chat (click here to find your nearest store) – and don’t forget your barcode #DFYB.
See you at your next parkrun!
*PPP valid at all participating Intersport stores; see our website for details.
** Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion.
Fitbit’s 5 steps to 5K
We know that working out is good for us, but maybe not where to start or what we should be doing. Running is a great way to exercise as almost anyone can do it almost anywhere!
5k is a great first target to work towards. That’s why we work with parkrun as they build a running community to spread the word. Here are five things to expect along the way:
* Running will help to build your stamina.
* The ‘wall’ is real. Both veteran and new runners have moments where they think they can’t go on, so you may too. But as long as you’re not hurting yourself very often, all you’ll need is an encouraging word with yourself to push through it.
* Take the good with the bad. One day you could run for hours, the next you struggle with a stitch by the 2k mark. Don’t stress out – it happens to all of us, and you’re still lapping everyone sitting on the sofa.
* Don’t worry what others think. Some people don’t run because they worry what they look like. Trust us – no-one notices!
* You CAN do it. No matter what you think, you can run 5k. parkrun is open to all ages and abilities so no matter if you walk, jog or sprint – you can complete the course your way.
Don’t forget to reach at least 10,000 steps a day for the Fitbit and parkrun challenge for a chance to win a Fitbit Blaze! If you haven’t joined in yet it’s not too late – click here for more information and to sign up.
100km in 10 days
Matthew Deller has completed Running Down Dementia’s 100k in just 10 days. The runner, who is local to Sittingbourne parkrun in Kent, made it his mission to run 10k every day for 10 days as a personal challenge while completing Running Down Dementia.
While juggling being a father-of-two, his marketing job in London, and supporting his father in looking after his mother, who has Alzheimer’s, Matthew has completed 100k by running on his lunch breaks and tagging 5k onto the end of his parkrun each week.
Matthew said: “I do go running quite a bit and take part in parkrun most weeks, so I thought, why not challenge myself by doing more? In I went with both feet, literally. It was a spur of the moment decision but I’m so glad I did it. Other people got behind me, and in all 10 days I only did one run by myself. The hard bit was having little recovery time, but that’s what I love about Running Down Dementia, that it’s asking people to push themselves.
“My mum was diagnosed two-and-a-half years ago, but she had Alzheimer’s for a while before that. It’s been a massive change in lifestyle for my mum, and it’s had a huge impact on my father who is her primary carer.
“I think more research needs to be done to fight dementia, and that’s why I signed up to the challenge. I’ve already seen so many people get involved with it, it’s wonderful. I’d urge anyone else considering it to sign up.”
There’s still plenty of time to get involved with Running Down Dementia. You can sign up online, and if you’re already taking part, why not get your friends and family involved? It’s always more fun in groups, and you can start a team of your own.
Don’t forget to keep on updating us with pictures of your runs using the hashtag #RunningDownDementia.
London 2017 ‘runners’ wanted
This week, organisers of the London 2017 World Athletics Championships announced details of their volunteer programme. They are looking for 4,000 volunteers – to be known as ‘Runners’ – to be at the heart of the Championships.
Thousands of volunteers make parkrun and junior parkrun happen up and down the UK each week and whether you’ve volunteered or not before at a major event, anyone can be a London 2017 ‘Runner’.
Dina Asher-Smith volunteered at the London 2012 Olympic Games and was a ‘kit carrier’ in The Stadium for a number of top athletes. She said: “I volunteered at the London Olympic Games and it was an amazing experience. It was magical to be part of the whole occasion. I would say to everyone that they should get involved in London 2017 because it will be one of the most amazing experiences of your life.”
You can register your interest now to be part of this once in a lifetime experience.
The IAAF World Championships and World ParaAthletics Championships take place next summer at The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Further details can be found here.
like the wind magazine
parkrun Founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt provides a fascinating insight into what he refers to as ‘the joy of running’ in the latest edition of Like The Wind magazine. Paul’s journey takes us from his time in boarding school in South Africa to his discovery of running, and with it the beginning of life-long friendships.
Paul’s article is available to read online, and parkrunners who wish to purchase the full magazine receive an exclusive £2 discount on single copies (including this copy and all back issues). The discount is available using the code ‘parkrun’ in the cart at checkout.
Here are this week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK (including junior parkrun)
random stat of the week
Amongst the 87,178 people voting with their feet for parkrun last weekend, were 1,540 Davids, 745 Michaels, 284 Georges, 189 Nigels, 95 Jeremys and three named Boris!
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
I would like to say a massive thank you to Bolton parkrun and to everyone who turned up to celebrate my 50th parkrun. I had a great day and I hope everyone enjoyed themselves and enjoyed the cakes after the run, which were provided by some amazing people. I didn't just celebrate my 50th parkrun, I also got to meet fellow brain injury survivors, which without parkrun I would never have met (they are with me in the photo). I would also like to say a massive thanks to everyone who came and volunteered, and those who volunteer each week at Bolton parkrun, because without you parkrun wouldn't be able to take place.
I had a double knee replacement in December 2003 aged 54, following years of overactivity and too many operations, which left me unable to run – but I still manage to cycle and ski. As a former PE teacher, I've always loved the idea of collective sports events and was immediately attracted to parkrun. I have been volunteering at my local parkrun in Ashford, Kent since last year as timekeeper. Earlier this year my wife and I visited New Zealand and I contacted the parkrun team in Christchurch, and the day before we came home I did some timekeeping in Hagley Park. Great experience, wonderful team and friendly participants as always. Can't wait to volunteer at other away days in the future.
On a beautiful sunny morning Wycombe District Council Chairman, Mahboob Hussain, congratulated Wycombe Rye parkrun on reaching our 200th run. He praised parkrun for all that it is doing to encourage people into health and fitness and hoped that one day rather than 400 people running around the Rye there would be 1,000. He was particularly impressed by the twenty volunteers each week who gave their Saturday mornings to allow other people to run. Five run directors – Alistair France, Norman Lockhart, Phil Burridge, Nick Sendall and Lyndsay Markham – presented Counsellor Hussain with a certificate celebrating his role as our honorary starter for our 200th run.
I would like to tell you of my parkrun challenge that I have set myself. Starting last Saturday at Dulwich, I will run all the events in Greater London. I will be writing a blog about my experiences, and I am really looking forward to running new events and in the process making friends along the way.
When the floods hit Cumbria late last year, Fell Foot parkrun (held on the banks of Lake Windermere) had to temporarily shut down for a few weeks. This meant we weren't able to provide our runners with a Christmas parkrun in 2015. Undeterred, we decided to delay the festivities – by six months precisely! So on Saturday 25 June we held our very own 'Christmas and a Half' parkrun and encouraged Fell Footers to turn up dressed in Christmas outfits with a summery twist. Among others we had Santa in a Hawaiian shirt, Rudolf in Bermuda shorts and a penguin in sunglasses. It was a great example of our parkrunners getting into the spirit of the day. We loved it!
parkrunner of the week
Name: Heather Harper
Club: Enniskillen Running Club
Home parkrun: Enniskillen
Occupation: 6th Form Study Supervisor
Number of runs: 6
Favourite volunteer role: Marshal
What do you do at parkruns: My heart is in volunteering. My husband and I try to arrive early, giving us time to chat with other runners and volunteers before parkrun gets under way. I have volunteered as timekeeper, giving out finish tokens, tail runner and marshal. As a marshal, it's great to see everyone who is running that day, and to give them ALL encouragement. We have some fast guys, some slower runners/walkers and a lot in between – everyone deserves encouragement. They have all made the effort to be there. We recently purchased some cowbells and I enjoy ringing them as encouragement!
How has parkrun changed your running: parkrun inspired me to begin running. I first came into the parkrun family as a volunteer. My husband began running just over two years ago, and he then discovered that we had a local parkrun, Enniskillen, and began to run it every Saturday. Last autumn I came on board as a volunteer, and loved it. As time went on I began to look at the runners and thought maybe I could do this. So, I signed up for a C25K, and in March I RAN in my first parkrun!
What do you like about parkrun: parkrun is a family – one I never ever thought I would join! But everyone has been so welcoming and encouraging and it is wonderful to be able to return those sentiments to visitors and other runners every week. I have met so many new people who I would never have come across before I started running. parkrun inspired me to do C25K, and that in turn inspired me to be part of a relay team entered in the 2016 Belfast City Marathon. parkrun has a lot to answer for, and gives us all a common topic for conversation. Thank you!
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: Two things come to mind – on 2 April this year I ran at Portrush parkrun with my husband and two sons – a lovely parkrun along the beach and back. Then on 21 May our daughter registered with parkrun, and I was able to run at Enniskillen with her. It’s wonderful to now have all of our family as parkrunners! The next big challenge is to have us all together at the same parkrun as our daughter lives in Liverpool, one son lives in Southampton and runs there, and our eldest son lives in Belfast.