welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s newsletter PruHealth with Vitality ask for your feedback, we explain your ‘parkrun passport’ and I make a rare request.
You’d think that bright blue skies and beautiful sunshine would inspire people to lace their trainers and hit their local parkrun, actually the summer months are a relatively quiet time for us and typically we see a slight drop in numbers. Those who follow our stats (who doesn’t?) will know that since breaking 50,000 weekly runners in April and May we’re currently ‘only’ seeing around 40-45,000 people cross one of our finishing lines each Saturday. I’m sure there are many good reasons for not parkrunning on a Saturday morning (although Le Tour aside I can’t think of one) however one negative side-effect is a corresponding drop in volunteers. The problem this causes is that due to the volunteer requirement at a local event being largely unaffected by the number of finishers i.e. most events still require two timekeepers, a tail runner, run director etc. etc. I’ve seen a number of last minute social media posts going out from our teams requesting people step forwards and volunteer for fear of not being able to deliver their (volunteer led) free, weekly, timed run. So, although as always I stand passionately by the parkrun ethos that no one should feel pressured to volunteer and no one should be criticised for not volunteering, this is a rare call from me to you to suggest that if you’ve not volunteered before now would be a good time to think about it.
There are of course many varied and valid reasons for not volunteering, there really are, and it really isn’t for everyone, but with only around 11% of our annual runners sticking their names on their local event’s volunteer list then I’m pretty sure that of the remaining 89% a good number would actually really really really enjoy life on the other side of the parkrun fence. Speaking as someone who’d run loads before parkrun, but never volunteered, it’s the timing, scanning, marshalling, token sorting etc. etc. that’s really changed my life. Really.
For those of you who would love volunteering, but just don’t know it yet, there are likely to be three reasons (myths) why you’ve not thought to stick your name down...
1 - Your local parkrun has enough volunteers
Although many of our events have plenty of volunteers, many don’t although they may well not like to ask. The best thing about volunteering is the social side, meeting new people and doing something cool for your local community. There is of course no such thing as meeting too many new people or doing too many cool things for your community. In this case, more certainly is more.
2 - Volunteering is really difficult
Pretty much every volunteer role at parkrun is simple and straightforward and the experienced volunteers are always on hand to give advice and tips to the less experienced.
3 - Volunteering is pressurised and serious
The whole point of us being a 'timed run in an area of open space, with your mates’ is designed to take the pressure off and pile the fun on. You’re not adjudicating at the finish line of the Commonwealth Games 10,000 metres as Mo Farah ends up in a photo finish for the gold medal only for a seagull to obscure the photo and all eyes to turn to you. You’re pressing a button every time someone crosses an imaginary line in a park. If you forget to press the button, as I have on more than one occasion, it really doesn’t matter… people will still be having fun in the park with their mates.
So, hopefully that’s helped make you feel a little less nervous about joining your local event’s volunteer roster. If so, and you’d like to take the plunge (come on in, it’s lovely) then all you need to do is...
1 - Click on ‘manage my profile’ on the top right of the email version of this newsletter.
2 - Under ‘Your Links’ click on ‘email options’.
3 - Choose the events you’d like to hear from on the drop-down menu.
4 - Click opt-in after each of those.
5 - Click ‘save opt-in events list’.
You will then be added to the volunteer email list for those events and whenever they need your help they’ll be in touch. Most events send something out once per week with a list of vacant volunteer roles over the following few weeks.
Finally, if that wasn’t enough to persuade you then here’s a picture of my two-year-old daughter Rosie getting stuck in to the crucial ‘putting tokens into a bucket’ at last week’s Harrogate parkrun.
Enjoy the sun,
P.S. You can read this week’s junior parkrun newsletter here.
congratulations and thank you
We would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you and congratulations to those parkrunners who completed the Vitality British 10km London Run over the weekend!
With over 14,000 runners going from Piccadilly to St Paul’s via Trafalgar Square, the Embankment and Westminster, and passing landmarks such as Admiralty Arch, Big Ben and the Cenotaph, the Vitality British 10km London Run was no doubt a memorable experience. We hope our parkrun participants enjoyed it as much as we all did.
We’d love to know your race experience, so we can make it an even better runner experience next year. Please share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Vitality British 10km London Run is part of the Vitality Run Series - a new running series featuring eight of the UK’s most exciting running events, brought to you by PruHealth. Watch the online space for the Oxford Half Marathon, coming up on October the 12th. Find out more at www.vitality.co.uk.
passport to parkrun
Once you have registered with parkrun you are registered for life and your barcode is your ‘passport to parkrun’ at any of our events anywhere in the world. You can view our complete list of countries here.
Please don’t forget to take your barcode along. We operate a strict 'No printed barcode, no result' policy at our events and it would be awful to go all the way to Australia, do a parkrun and not have it recorded.
If you are a regular parkrunner you might like to invest in some of these durable barcodes available from the authorised parkrun UK barcode supplier which wash and travel well!
Here are this week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK:
Number of runners - 42,469
Number of volunteers - 3,921
Number of first timers - 6,717
Number of PBs - 8,571
Please check your event's news pages for the most up to date information.
Cancellations this weekend:
- Brockwell parkrun due to the Herne Hill Lambeth Country Show.
- Chippenham parkrun due to another event taking place in the park.
- Chipping Sodbury parkrun due to another event taking place in the park.
- Colchester Castle parkrun due to another event taking place in the park.
- Guildford parkrun due to Guilfest.
- Pontypridd parkrun due to another event taking place in the park.
- Rushmoor parkrun due to the Farnborough Airshow.
- Strathclyde parkrun due to the Commonwealth Games.
- Brockwell junior parkrun due to another event taking place in the park.
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
In the early hours of the morning on the 10th of July, Cathi, my darling wife passed away after a long and arduous 12 year battle with a brain tumour. Roundhay parkrun was her favourite but also Temple Newsam and Leeds parkruns. Cathi found a passion with parkrun alongside Tom (our son) and I. We started in early 2012 and were a weekly feature, gradually achieving better times and fitness. Cathi also entered races and finished both Leeds Half Marathon and the Great North Run. She was immensely proud of her achievements and parkrun played a major part. In later months, she insisted on coming to parkrun even when symptoms of her disease were more apparent. Whilst there were clear physical challenges, her spirit never faltered and she completed them even if she was tired and had to walk. I will continue my running journey and I know she'll be there cheering me on as well as everyone else too. Whilst I was always a bit faster than her round the courses we completed, ultimately, she beat me in the biggest race. Until we meet again at the big finish line in the sky, I and many others will miss her dearly but will always have great pride in our hearts.
Ian and Tom Core
Hi parkrun UK
Every week I look forward to Doncaster parkrun. In January this year when I first started parkrun the Event Director awarded me the Sweatshop Monthly Prize, which is of course a pair of free trainers! I was so excited to go and choose them and it just so happened I was in desperate need of some new trainers too. This, along with all the lovely people I have met at Doncaster parkrun, makes me love waking up so early on a Saturday morning, as well as my Dad who always keeps me motivated. Thank you Friends of Sandall Park and everyone who runs or volunteers at Doncaster parkrun!
Hi parkrun UK
Please can you stop publishing the 'feedback from the field'. I have a tendency to read this at lunchtime at work, as that's when I notice the newsletter has arrived. There is always one story that hits a nerve and brings a tear to my eye. I feel a bit of a silly soul sat in the middle of the busy office.
Hi parkrun UK
I joined Coventry parkrun in November of 2012 having recently lost four and a half stone and finished my first parkrun in 42 minutes. I remember being happy just to finish. I have just completed my 57th parkrun. It has been life changing for me as I have completed three 10k races, two half marathons and will do two more in a couple of months, plus my first marathon in April. I love to volunteer too and I've fulfilled many roles. I feel it’s important to put back in what you get out, it’s great fun and you get to see the other side of the event. I have made so many friends through parkrun and love nothing better than a catch up over a cuppa with them.
Hi parkrun UK
I recently read an article about fitness which contained the mantra “Aim for the sure win first, and then go to war”. Last year I couldn't even run a few metres. I set my sights on the 'sure win', the 5k parkrun. All I cared about in my first parkrun was not finishing last. I was second last to finish. Now I finish in under 30 mins, almost a 10 minute improvement. In September I will 'go to war' and run my first half marathon. I couldn't have achieved any of this without parkrun. The people are inspiring, the initiative is incredible. I was even lucky enough to be a Sweatshop Monthly Prize winner. Thank you parkrun, you helped me change my life!
Hi parkrun UK
My hubby Ray and I completed our first parkrun (well, walk...) today at Thetford and just wanted to say how very impressed we are at the amazing organisation it is, and all for free. Thank you! Ray has cardiomyopathy and had a pacemaker fitted in March and we now need to get fitter as a heart transplant is expected somewhere down the line. Although we walked and were the final finishers in a time of 59 minutes and 30 seconds, the volunteers and other runners were so encouraging and supportive. We were chuffed to get all of the way round and feel ready for the next one! Thanks guys.
Hi parkrun UK
After another fabulous day in the sun at Montacute House, it occurred to us that as we're at the gateway to the West Country there must be hundreds of parkrunners who will be driving past our door over the summer. It would be lovely to see you all! The first three ladies on Saturday were parkrun tourists. If you are reading this and planning a trip down to the proper end of the (West) country over the summer, we’re just off the A303 near Yeovil and welcome all visitors!
Hi parkrun UK
Inverness parkrun hijacks the Queen’s Baton Relay! When I heard that the QBR was due to pass our start at about 9am on Saturday the 12th of July I thought we couldn’t miss that opportunity. The juxtaposition of the baton, representing international athletes trying to beat each other and community runners simply trying to achieve Personal Bests, had to be recorded so as, hopefully, to persuade others to join us. With a little ‘negotiation’, it was agreed that the baton carrier would jog past, shout “On your marks... Go!” and our runners would set off. They only ran for a short distance, however, enabling re-assembly for the “proper” start at 9:30am and for more photos with the baton carrier.
Hi parkrun UK
On the 1st of July 2007 I was introduced to Bushy Park Time Trial. 249 events later on the 12th of July 2014 I completed my 250th parkrun. It also saw me run my 100th Andover parkrun. At Andover we are blessed to have such a great and dedicated team who look after us. On this special day it included putting signs out to congratulate me and what a wonderful surprise that was. We celebrated in style with cake and bubbly and a course attendance record. What more could one want, other than running round with my lovely wife and greatest supporter Kathy Lane. Thank you parkrun for everything and thank you to all at Andover parkrun and those I have run with.
Hi parkrun UK
We recently launched a new running club called Christian Runners UK. The club was set up when we realised that a number of runners came from different local church's around Pontefract and ran at Pontefract parkrun, so the club was born. Running is my life and so is my faith so it is nice to combine the two.
parkrunner of the week
Name: Jonathan Ure
Club: Beaumont RC
Home parkrun: Braunstone
Number of runs: 108
Favourite volunteer role: Timekeeper
What do you do at parkruns: I meet up with a few hundred people each week who have at least one thing in common with me, that we all like to parkrun. Sometimes I push myself and sometimes I take it easy, like pacing someone or chatting with a friend I've made through parkrun or persuaded to come along to parkrun. If I push myself really hard I am always amazed at how soon after finishing it feels like it was a walk in the park.
How has parkrun changed your running: It's helped me have a healthier attitude towards setbacks and helped me to be more patient with myself. I find it easier to go out on a Saturday and run even if I don't feel like it, and if my run is slower than I'd like I'm less likely to run too hard and end up with an injury.
What do you like about parkrun: I like meeting new people and seeing familiar faces, and also seeing a lot of very familiar backs of people's heads. It's also really good to have such a reliable and straightforward record of how fast or slow I've run 5km for the past couple of years. There's a good balance between healthy competition between people and cooperative encouragement and support too.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: My first parkrun was the most memorable. I was nervous and convinced that there would be hundreds of finely tuned athletes who would disappear ahead of me and I'd be left limping along at the back. I was very relieved to find that parkrunners were a fun bunch of folk to run with and spend time with, that some are eccentric and exotic and that all are interesting and unique.