weekly newsletter 27th August 2015

welcome to the newsletter


In this week’s newsletter Vitality invite you to run with them, Fitbit asks why you parkrun, Alzheimer’s Research UK ask for your memories and 53 time parkrunner Liz Yelling is making memories.

Some of my earliest and fondest memories are of running with my mum. Looking back now we were a great match - she enjoyed running, and I was a high energy child who needed an outlet. I knew from school sports days that I would never make it as a sprinter, but despite always watching other girls disappear out of sight toward the finish line, I had a passion for running and it really gave me a buzz.

I'm sure my mum was always wondering when I'd give up, or give in, but I never did. So by the time I got the chance to take part in races that were longer than sprints, and discovered I was actually pretty good at them, mum decided I should be running with kids my own age. She took me along to the local running club, Bedford and County, and introduced me to a coach by the name of Alex Stanton.

Alex was a wonderful coach, and not just on the track. He encouraged us to build a strong friendship group and insisted that school came first. There is no doubt that this balance of running, mates and school served me well over the next few years as I started to run at international level, and throughout my initial career as a teacher and then as a professional athlete.

The importance of running in my life was highlighted on a beautiful spring morning earlier this year, when around 40 women and girls aged between 11 and 45 converged on Bedford parkrun wearing our club vests.

This was no ordinary parkrun, but a surprise 80th birthday for our coach Alex. We chose parkrun because it meant we could all just go for a run together without any pressure. Thanks to Alex, many of us have been good mates for more than 30 years. Throughout my career I was lucky enough to run in two Olympic marathons and win a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games, but this group of lifelong friends who I still see regularly is by far and away my proudest achievement in sport.

Since I first met Alex when I was nine, the one constant has been the need to balance my life to enable me to run. But the reasons why I run have certainly changed. Previously I was running for me, and focused purely on performance. But now it's about being fit for life and active and healthy for my three children. And I'll be honest - I need to do it to be sane sometimes!

There's no doubt it is more difficult to find time for a run, but whether you're a former elite athlete or a complete beginner, it's all about creating little openings in your week that become routine. We love spending time together as a family by the seaside, and often we go off-road and I push the twins in the buggy. The kids just love looking for animals.

We are always busy making our own memories, and one day I hope my children remember running with their mum with the same fondness I do.

Happy running,

Liz Yelling

do a Vitality Run


The pre-race excitement. The thrill of crossing the finishing line. The pure sense of achievement. Kick-start your autumn fitness regime by joining one of parkrun partner Vitality’s 2015 Run Series events.

The Series, which aims to inspire anyone to reach for their fitness goals – irrespective of ability – has two events still to go this year: The Oxford Half Marathon on Sunday the 11th October and The WestRun London 10k on Sunday the 15th November.

>>Register to do a Vitality Run Series event today

Watch the recent British 10k London Run and be inspired by first timer Luke’s experience...

win a place

Fancy becoming the new ‘Face’ of the Vitality Oxford Half Marathon and inspiring the UK running community? If so, Vitality would love to hear from you.

You’ll get an automatic place in the event on Sunday the 11th October 2015 and receive a complete running package including an activity tracker and a customised training plan. Enter by midday on Tuesday the 8th September 2015 for your chance to win.

>>Enter to be the Face of the Vitality Oxford Half Marathon

Competition Terms and Conditions apply.

why do you parkrun?


Whether you’re looking to get fit, find new friends or encourage your family to do more exercise, there are plenty of reasons why people choose to take part in parkruns.

We asked parkrunning Fitbit users what inspired them to start, and their stories show that your reasons to parkrun can be as unique as you are.

Many of the people we spoke to said that parkrun appealed to them because it’s a positive lifestyle choice that’s open to anyone and everyone, regardless of age, ability or experience. Starting a new exercise regime can seem daunting, but the inclusive approach of parkrun makes it ideal for those who perhaps aren’t sure where to start. Shannon from Hove said:

“I got into parkrun this spring after being sick of being overweight. I have felt very welcome and I try to go every weekend to get me prepared for my Brighton challenge (six events for one charity) starting at a 5k and ending next year with a 100k trek. All because of parkrun getting me interested in running and showing me that I can do it!”

Meeting new people or encouraging existing pals at parkrun is another plus - when you’ve got a healthy step-count competition going amongst friends, you’ll find it hard not to go every week! A coffee after the run also gives you the chance to catch up, without being short of breath. Joanna said the social side of parkrun is what made the event so appealing to her:

“I started parkrun over three years ago as a work colleague kept singing its praises. From my first one to my 102nd last week I’ve loved it. We have a large group from work who go every week, and coffee afterwards is as a big a part as the running! We even have to have a note from home if we’re not going one week!”

Those who use parkrun to kick start their workouts said that a weekly event gave them a goal to work towards, whether it be beating their personal best or tallying up their total parkruns.

Tell us - why do you parkrun? We’d love to know - share your story on Twitter or Facebook using the #parkrunfit hashtag. Remember that parkrunners can take advantage of an exclusive £15 discount on all Fitbits - so you can keep track of your runs each week!

#NeverForgetNominate


Alzheimer’s Research UK, parkrun’s official charity partner, is inviting you to share your favourite parkrun memory to help fight back against dementia.

Our new Facebook campaign, #NeverForgetNominate, is a way you can help shine a spotlight on this global health crisis and raise awareness that, with your support, Alzheimer’s Research UK can defeat dementia.

To play your part in the fightback, simply post a memory you never want to forget on Facebook. As a parkrunner, we’d encourage you to share a memory from the course, whether it’s the first time you took part in parkrun, completed a milestone run or beat a PB. Then nominate a friend – or lots of friends – to do the same. Remember to sign-off your post with the sentence below:

‘I’ve shared this memory I never want to forget to support Alzheimer’s Research UK. I nominate (tag friends) to post a memory next. #NeverForgetNominate’

How will it help?

We need you to help us make more people aware of the fear, harm and heartbreak that dementia causes. Because the more understanding there is of the problem, the more people are likely to help support our mission at Alzheimer’s Research UK to change the lives of people with dementia.

So please join the fightback today by posting a memory you never want to forget.

To find out more about Alzheimer’s Research UK, our partnership with parkrun and our #NeverForgetNominate campaign, visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org

PS Thanks to all of you who have watched and given such positive feedback on our new #TeamARUKparkrun partnership video over the past week. To see the clip, which features parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt, click here.

parkrun population


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

Number of runners - 69,981
Number of volunteers - 6,428
Number of first timers - 10,737
Number of PBs - 10,961

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


How many people can suggest that, perhaps, parkrun has saved their life? I've been running for over 50 years and started doing Fell Foot parkrun last December when, aged 78, I was quite happy with times around 32 minutes. Early this year I started going many minutes slower and, following a visit to my doctor, I was diagnosed with 'heart failure' and am now awaiting a pacemaker/defibrillator implant. Had I not been an athlete I would never have taken that step and could by now be suffering the effects of a heart attack - if, in fact, I was still alive! The original intention behind my participation in the parkrun was to gauge my fitness. And how! Thank you parkrun.
Lawrence Woodley


Swindon parkrun is my home run but recently on a trip to my home town of Birmingham I decided to try out Brueton parkrun in Solihull. My wife decided that a lie-in at our hotel seemed a better idea. I had a great time, it was a sunny morning and everyone so friendly. Arriving back at the hotel my wife asked if I had enjoyed it - certainly I had. “Well at least I knew that you wouldn't get lost there” she said, which puzzled me. She added that surely I hadn't forgotten, apparently we had our first date there - 60 years ago! Of course I remembered darling - just kidding.
John Graham Parker


Next week is my 100th parkrun. Having lost over eight stone in 2012, a friend suggested parkrun to keep the weight off. I signed up and my journey began. There were gaps, ups and downs, mornings when I didn't want to run, all kinds of weather, but I pushed myself as often as possible. I've been overweight most of my adult life and have mental demons when running but other people started using me as their benchmark. Me, an ex-fat man who struggles to run a 5k. Ordinarily I don't give out any advice because I don't feel qualified. However, there's only this to say: you CAN do it and I'm proof of that. Here's to the next 100!
Matt Cartwright


We recently went on holiday to the Lake District and on our way up stopped to do Wetherby parkrun which was lovely to be a part of. At the end of the holiday we then did the beautiful Keswick parkrun. It was the first time at the pre-run briefing that I had heard the run director ask 'are there any locals here today?' as the place was full of holiday makers enjoying the delights of the Lake District and the Keswick parkrun course. We really must have swelled the numbers considerably but they were warm and welcoming to all - as all parkruns seem to be. Thank you Wetherby and Keswick.
Matt Knight


Anyone who wants to make their milestone parkrun a memorable and fun experience, I can fully recommend dressing up and running round in fancy dress. Last Saturday, for my 50th parkrun, I took to the Burnage parkrun course dressed as Zippy with a specially commissioned red '50th parkrun' sash (supplied by my ever supporting fiancée Lynsey Stott). There was great support from all parts of the course, with lots of cheers for ‘Zippy’, bringing smiles to children and adults alike. It may not have been the fastest parkrun I've done but I can honestly say it was the best parkrun experience. I have already had enquiries as to whether I will be running as Bungle for my 100th!
Calum Burrell


I would just like to say thanks and well done to the organizers and volunteers of Hazelhead parkrun, Aberdeen. This run has now been up and running for one year and has gradually grown in popularity going from around 60 runners to now consistently over 100 runners and with a record turnout for the first anniversary of 172 runners. The weather wasn't the best for the day (typical Scottish weather I hear you say!) but it did not stop the big turnout and a number of participants looking good in fancy dress and topped off with a good spread of cakes afterwards. See you all on Saturday!
Graham McDermid

parkrunner of the week


Name:  Kate Rogers

Club:  None

Age:  44

Home parkrun:  Wycombe Rye

Occupation:  Managing Director

Number of runs:  15

Favourite volunteer role:  Tail Runner

What do you do at parkruns:  Start at the back and keep going until the end, when I have a well deserved after-run coffee and chat (maybe a piece of cake) with my daughter, Elizabeth, who started me going to parkrun.

How has parkrun changed your running:  When I first started I was unable to run - the first week I ran the first 200m and then run-walked the rest of the course taking around 45 minutes. Each week I have tried to run more of the course and I can now run the whole course. I keep trying to improve my time, this week was a PB at 31:53.

What do you like about parkrun:  I love the atmosphere - everyone is so friendly and encouraging. The timekeeping also adds a little challenge for me, as I keep trying to get a PB.

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment:  Celebrating my daughter's 10th Wycombe Rye parkrun with a large chocolate cake shared with other parkrunners.

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
Changing health and life insurance for good.

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

Fitbit UK

our supporters

London Marathon supporting parkrun
Inspiring runners of all levels

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


aql supporting parkrun
Delivering your results earlier

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


3 supporting parkrun
Connecting parkrunners everywhere

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


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

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


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

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


 

A Special Marathon Wristband

 

Sundays are always great, given that they are junior parkrun-day, but last Sunday was extra special because an equally special nine year old parkrunner, Ella Bloxsidge, achieved her Marathon wrist band.

In many ways Ella is a normal girl, from a normal family, who all love to spend the early part of Sunday mornings at Southampton juniors. Ella goes to school, enjoys music, TV and the theatre (especially the Christmas pantomime!), loves to be outdoors, enjoys good food, and being with her friends. So nothing remarkable, really, except for one thing: Ella has Rett Syndrome.

Rett Syndrome is, thankfully, a very rare condition that affects only a small number of people. For Ella, it affects her in a number of ways. For example, Ella doesn't speak, can't use her hands properly and is unable to run, jump, walk up steps or even sit down in a chair without help. Many Retts girls are unable to walk at all, but Ella is able to walk in a wobbly way but needs a little help from adults at her side. Despite these challenges Ella has become an enthusiastic parkrunner, and on Sunday she managed to complete her 21st 2k junior event – a phenomenal milestone in that she is now a marathoner!

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It all began in 2013 when the first Southampton junior parkrun was held. Ella’s younger sister Hannah took part in the inaugural event, together with her dad. Hannah was soon hooked and hasn't missed a single one since. Soon after, their brother Jamie was clamoring to go and junior parkrun rapidly became a regular event for the whole family. Ella came along to support, and mum and dad, Gaz and Niki, volunteered as marshals.

Ella enjoyed watching all the children running and loved being out in the fresh air. One Sunday her mum and dad decided to see if she could walk just one small lap of the two-lap course. Ella managed to complete it and, after a few weeks, she progressed to walking one large lap of the course. It was a momentous day when she lined up at the start with all the other children and, with the encouragement of all the volunteers, she bravely completed both laps of the whole course. Ella walked through the finish line for the very first time to loud cheers and a round of applause.

Since then, whenever she is well enough, Ella takes part in Sounthampton junior parkrun; walking at the back of the field with the tailrunner. 21 junior events later Ella still loves taking part and always has a huge smile on her face, especially when she hears the applause and gets high-fives from the marshals. Gaz and Niki talk of the wonderful support they have received from the volunteer team at Southampton juniors, who always wait for Ella to complete the event before packing up the course.

HAM_1738

The same was true on “marathon” Sunday. Ella was so excited to start the special junjor parkrun. She lined up with all the others and smiles as she walked, in dry conditions, around this beautiful course. About half way round the final loop the heavens opened up and the rain poured down. Everyone got soaked to the skin but Ella marched on to the finish regardless where everyone was waiting (soaked through) to cheer her across the line. The photos say more than a thousand words. Ella we are all so proud of you!

HAM_1807

HAM_1855

 

For Ella and many others who take part, junior parkrun is a walk, and not a run. Perhaps we should rename it "parkrun-or-walk" to make clear that we welcome everyone, no matter whether they run like the wind, or adopt more sedate walking pace. For Ella, junior parkrun is fabulous exercise which helps keep her fit and healthy. Her mum and dad know that it won't cure the Retts, but it helps to alleviate some of the symptoms and most of all, brings Ella and her family a huge amount of satisfaction and joy. It’s something the whole family have been able to take part in together, despite having different targets.

For Ella it is completing the course with a smile, for others it might be setting a new PB. That doesn't matter. So perhaps if you wake up one Sunday and think of hiding under the bedcovers, take a moment to think again. If Ella can take part, anyone can.

Happy parkrunning!

Chrissie

If you wish to read more about Rett Syndrome here is some information: http://www.reverserett.org.uk/what-we-do/rett-syndrome/?gclid=CMyTuf2lt8cCFUZAGwodSMML_g

All photo credits to Paul Hammond

 

weekly newsletter 20th August 2015

welcome to the newsletter


In this week’s newsletter Alzheimer’s Research UK create a movement, Fitbit offer help with the holiday-blues, Sweatshop’s sale continues, we urge you to take care of your kids and Nick Anderton stirs up a unique take on ‘perkrun’.

Like so many of us in the parkrun movement, I first heard about my local event through word of mouth. It was courtesy of a phone call back in 2010 from Linda Bussey, who had started a parkrun not far from where I live.

I must admit to being a little nervous at first though. Sure I’d done big events before with thousands of people – the Bradford City Run, the Horsforth 10k and large cycle events. But coming along to a small, local run was a bit of a risk. What if nobody else showed up?

On a crisp spring Saturday morning I awoke early, fired up my trusty van and headed over to Lister Park for my first experience of Bradford parkrun. Apart from a few volunteers in their distinctive high-viz vests though, I couldn’t see any runners.

But as 9am edged nearer, a steady stream of lycra-clad bodies, in all shapes and sizes and of varying ages, started to congregate near the finish line where I was parked. Sure, there were not as many as at big city races, but what struck me more than anything was how well organised and professional it seemed, while at the same time appearing friendly and welcoming. I still couldn’t believe that it was free, and I could see how such a concept would help people get into running while still being able to socialise.

The run only seemed to last a matter of minutes and before I knew it I had a queue of people lining up in front of my van, eager to get their frozen hands around a nice warm drink and a hearty snack. At that moment, I knew that Saturday mornings would never be the same again.

In the early days of Bradford parkrun, from a business point of view, it was slow going. But I could see that the event would grow organically over time, and there was the potential for other sporting events in the Bradford area to find out about my coffee van. As Bradford parkrun has grown and word-of-mouth has spread about their post-run ‘drinks station’ there have been other events who have needed something similar. Panshanger, Harrow Lodge and Mile End are just some of the other parkruns that also have coffee vans who support their events through sunny days, rain and snow.

Outside of Saturday mornings parkrun still plays a part in my life. Rarely a day goes by when I don’t recommend parkrun to a customer. I particularly love seeing parents encouraging their children to get into the habit of enjoying active lifestyles, rather than watching cartoons or playing video games.

There is no doubt that the post-parkrun coffee culture is a vitally important part of each event, and I have witnessed this first-hand almost every weekend for the past five years. Since the beginning of Bradford parkrun I’ve watched more than 7,000 people complete three laps of our beautiful Lister Park and I love that I have been a part of that. I feel all the richer for having met so many new people, many of whom have become friends.

Nick Anderton

#TeamARUKparkrun


Alzheimer’s Research UK’s partnership with parkrun is creating a movement of people taking the fight to dementia.

In the eight months since we joined forces, parkrunners have united in lots of wonderful ways as part of #TeamARUKparkrun. You have run, walked and cycled for us, endured Tough Mudders, shaved your heads, donated and volunteered. parkrun was also the highest sign-up source after the BBC for Join Dementia Research (a national scheme for people to register to take part in dementia research studies across the UK) following its appearance in the newsletter. That number has more than doubled to 367 since then.

Collectively, you’ve helped raise thousands of pounds for dementia research, giving hope to the 850,000 people across the UK living with dementia today. We know their friends and family – many of whom will be part of the special parkrun community – would echo our gratitude for your support.

Our army of supporters continues to grow as people realise the importance of supporting our mission to change lives for good, which is fantastic progress. Now, as a community of over one million people, a third of whom are sadly likely to have personal experience of dementia, we believe parkrunners have the power to make an even greater impact on this growing health crisis.

parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt shares this conviction and recently shared his thoughts on why our partnership and your support is so vital in this video. Please share it with your friends and family to spread the word!

Paul said of the partnership:
“parkrunners come from all walks of life. Some of us are runners, some of us aren’t. But we’re all community-minded family people. I think all of us can make a difference to the lives of people with dementia - and those about to experience it - by backing Alzheimer’s Research UK.”

Through this partnership, together we’re tackling the stigma surrounding dementia by raising crucial awareness, and promoting healthy living - including regular exercise - as a way of reducing the risk of developing it.

We receive no government funding, so the parkrun community is crucial in the fight against the greatest medical challenge of our time. That’s why we’re inviting you all to rally together to raise funds for cutting-edge research, giving hope to those living with dementia and to future generations.

To discover how you can join #TeamARUKparkrun to help defeat dementia, visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/parkrun.

get post-holiday fit with parkrun


Going on holiday gives you a chance to escape the demands of everyday life and indulge in some serious “you” time. However when it’s time to say goodbye to the beach and get back to normal, the change can bring you back to earth with a bump. To make the transition from sunny climates to clammy commutes as smooth as possible, make small steps that help you get back into the swing of things.

Getting active and planning ahead are both sure-fire ways to get endorphins pumping to stop you pining for the place you left behind. Just remember that your first exercise after a week or so of self indulgence can leave you feeling a little stiff, so take it easy!

parkrun is the perfect fix for the holiday-blues; you can invite friends along for an on-the-go catch up and take the course at your own pace. Plan your parkrun in advance so that you have something to look forward to - a full diary will distract your mind from wishing you were still away. Don’t forget to take your Fitbit (and charger!) with you so that you can tally up an impressive step count to keep you motivated! If you don’t have one, parkrunners can take advantage of our exclusive £15 discount!

Eating right is important, but isn’t always easy to do when surrounded with delicious local cuisine when on holiday. Plan a healthy homemade dinner to help you refuel after your parkrun - it’ll help to keep up your energy levels and also reacquaint you with your home diet after those holiday-sized portions that you might have become accustomed to. Use this post-parkrun meal as an excuse to gather family and friends together over food. This can extend the quality time you spent with those you went away with, and reconnect with those who stayed at home.

Have you just got back from holiday and are making steps to spring back? Share your stories with us on Twitter and Facebook using the #parkrunfit hashtag. Hopefully parkrun gets you back to your perky self before your tan lines have faded - have fun, and good luck!

Sweatshop sale final weeks


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

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

IMPORTANT - Serious Incident


Recently there was a serious incident at a parkrun in Australia. At about the 4k point of the run a man appeared and attempted to grab a 13-year-old girl who was running on her own. Thankfully this girl was able to push the man away and run off, informing her parents and the event organisers once she made it back to the finish line. The police have been informed of this incident and we are all thankful that it wasn’t more serious. The take-home lesson for all parents from this incident is that all children, no matter their age, are vulnerable if running alone at parkrun. Our policy requires all under 11s to be accompanied by their parents at all times however this doesn’t mean that an older child is therefore safe at all times. Please take this into consideration next time you take your child to parkrun (or any other public event for that matter).

parkrun population


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

Number of runners - 69,975
Number of volunteers - 6,540
Number of first timers - 10,585
Number of PBs - 13,123

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


Hull celebrated another new member of the 250 club this Saturday - and Joshua Norman's brilliant achievement also secured him the accolade of becoming the first Hull parkrunner to own a full set of milestone t-shirts. Josh's junior white 10 t-shirt quickly led to a red 50, followed by a black 100 and now a green 250. As a regular volunteer, with roles including pacer, run report writer, timekeeper and tail runner, Josh also has claim to a purple volunteer club t-shirt for volunteering more than 25 times - needless to say, we are all very proud of him - well done Josh!
Diane Mawer


Inspirational! An understatement summing up Mark Bowra's parkrun this week. Mark, who is in his early 40s, suffered a stroke last year which affected his physical ability and speech. Equally inspirational is Mark's wife Iona who has supported him through intense medical treatment. With her encouragement, Mark had a sunny smile and finished to enthusiastic applause from a Poole parkrun guard of honour. "This is amazing; it's really touching," said Iona. "Thankfully, Mark's still here..." she added poignantly. "He's done parkruns before, but this is his first since the stroke. Just the fact that the run's here has encouraged him to come along.” But for others it was the awesome achievement that mattered more. Fellow runner Eve Filmer, was quick to offer words of encouragement. "I was drawn to congratulate Mark and to let both of them know how welcome they are as part of the parkrun community," she said. "It's wonderful to know that taking part today is helping on the road to recovery."
Andrew Roast


I absolutely loved my first experience of volunteering at Horsham parkrun last Saturday. I was the tail runner and found it really rewarding. The best bit about parkrun for me is how friendly and supportive everyone is and it was great to be able to give back some of the support I have had since I started parkrunning. I really recommend volunteering!
Jenna Swan


On holiday, my wife and I did Crissy Field parkrun in San Francisco. Having checked the course page we arrived and found a small knot of individuals standing by the beach hut. The 10 and 50 shirts were a giveaway and we found ourselves talking to other holiday parkrun devotees. Fun fact of the day was that the last person over the line would (because of the time zone) be the last person in the world that day completing their parkrun. The run was a flat out and back through the general population who were meandering along the promenade and jetty at that time. It was mainly tourists running, but the organisers Crispin, Dale and Philip were terrific. Thanks for a great and hospitable run. Keep it going.
Andrew Higgins


Who would have thought that running could find you love? We are both regular parkrunners at Southampton, and in November 2013 smiles were exchanged for the first time across Southampton Common. Following several weeks of sly glances, on the 30th of November we actually spoke. Jenny and I got married on the 7th of August 2015, and as we met at Southampton parkrun we wanted to celebrate with fellow parkrunners and friends, so we ran in our wedding attire. It was a very hot 5k wearing a suit and a dress, but we made it round in just over 22 minutes with Jenny finishing ahead of me – ladies first! Thank you to the 530 best men and bridesmaids who ran with us! We really appreciate the best wishes and support you gave us on the way round the course. Thank you parkrun, without this event we may never have met!
Mr and Mrs Bullen (Paul and Jenny)


My wife (Hazelhead parkrunner) and two of my daughters completed the Westhill Sprint Triathlon last weekend, and my third daughter (Sheffield and Newcastle parkrunner) is running in this year’s Great North Run. They are running to raise money for the ‘Brain Tumour Charity’ in memory of our son Peter who died 11 years ago from a Brain Tumour aged 15. This is a fantastic charity doing great work at the forefront of Brain Tumour research. We have raised over £1100 so far and the GNR is still to come.
Ian Robinson

parkrunner of the week


Name:  Sian Harris

Club:  British Nordic Walking CIC

Age:  42

Home parkrun:  Penallta

Occupation:  NHS Portage Advisor

Number of runs:  7

Favourite volunteer role:  I've only tried tail running so far, but hope to try out some other roles in the future.

What do you do at parkruns:  As a Nordic walker, I start at the rear so I don’t get in the way of the runners setting off. Walking with poles enables you to keep a steady pace and I've been amazed not to have been the final finisher on a few occasions! When I'm not feeling too good and my body is grumbling, it's brilliant to still be able to be involved through volunteering.

How has parkrun changed your running:  I've been unable to run for the past 10 years due to health issues caused by the autoimmune conditions Lupus and Hughes Syndrome, which cause me joint and muscle pain and weakness, and chronic fatigue, amongst other things. I discovered Nordic Walking a year ago and it changed my life and has given me the confidence to take part when my local parkrun started. My PB so far is 43:59, and amazingly, I've even managed a gentle jogette when feeling well. Both parkrun and Nordic walking have made such a difference to my health and wellbeing.

What do you like about parkrun:  I love the tingle of excitement at the end of the working week, despite setting a 'work' alarm on a Saturday morning! I love the family atmosphere, the encouragement from both the fabulous volunteers and fellow parkrunners, and most of all the inclusion that you find at parkrun - there are all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities. For someone like me to feel comfortable, equal and included in this kind of event is awesome. I was SO nervous the first time I did it but there was absolutely no need to be, and that's all thanks to the wonderful Penallta parkrun family!

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment:  I won't forget the first time I crossed the finishing line and everyone cheered - as the sole Nordic Walker and the last to finish, I didn't expect to matter and felt quite emotional. Another memorable occasion was when Welsh rugby legend, Gareth 'Alfie' Thomas was at a recent parkrun training a team of women and I was determined that I was going to cross the line before him - I did and with the added bonus of a PB. He congratulated me on it when I told him later!

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
Changing health and life insurance for good.

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

Fitbit UK

our supporters

London Marathon supporting parkrun
Inspiring runners of all levels

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


aql supporting parkrun
Delivering your results earlier

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


3 supporting parkrun
Connecting parkrunners everywhere

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


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

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


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

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


 

A tale of two junior parkruns

‘It was the best of times it was the worst of times….’

Sorry if this has started like a Year 8 essay, it is safe to read on, there are no more Dickensian quotes. We just included that to surprise our long suffering English teacher!

Hi, we are 13 year old identical twins and have been running with our parents for as long as we can remember, mostly in the Scottish Hills. We moved to London three years ago and hoped to find a fun way of continuing to run without the pressure of constant competition at athletics events. First we found beautiful Bushy 5K parkrun, then later discovered the happy madness of Bushy juniors, a monthly 2K run for hundreds of children in Bushy Park. Can you spot us?

twins4

The best of times.’

When we moved from Scotland we had to move to a new school and we were on the waiting list for lots of different activity clubs. We found it difficult to meet local children, but soon discovered that it is impossible to be a junior parkrunner and not make new friends. We have run with around 400 other children as companions, adversaries, best friends and challengers. We have hugged total strangers after a close sprint finish and eaten the best cupcakes in the world made by the volunteers. Both parkrun families at Bushy are amazing and for young Scots, 500 miles from home, they were the best place in the world to find new friends and feel completely welcome.

20502040899_cddd1704f3_b

 'The worst of times’. 

The second special junior parkrun in our lives is Moormead juniors, held every week at a tiny park near Twickenham. One week after this new junior parkrun started Léonie had a serious accident that will prevent her from running for a while. Our identity as a twin running duo came to an abrupt end. We immediately became a solo runner, who didn't want to continue alone, and a grumpy wheelchair owner who didn't want to lose her sport and running friends. At times like this you need your family and parkrunners are one massive family.

After the accident most of the immediate phone calls, emails and offers of help came from our parkrun friends at Bushy and Moormead. They weren't just offering sympathy; they were offering plans, ideas, support, hugs and lots of delicious cake. Within a week of coming out of hospital Léonie learned the pure pleasure of wearing the hi vis vest of a parkrun volunteer. Moormead junior parkrun was the perfect answer for an injured runner to play a big part in getting a new parkrun started. Volunteering at Moormead and Bushy has let our twin running partnership continue. Sacha collected her 42k marathon wristband last weekend, was first finisher and Léonie did her 5th volunteer duty. Our bond has never been stronger.

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Our advice to other juniors is to get involved. We have used parkruns as warm up events, Christmas outings, holiday visits and qualifiers for competitions but most importantly we meet our fellow runners every week. Not every junior parkrunner can have a twin but new friends are absolutely guaranteed. If you don’t feel like running, need an exam break or are injured then try volunteering. You get to cheer, high five, work the scanners and chat to everyone. You may have to wear a yellow vest that reaches your knees but as soon as you volunteer 25 times you also get to wear the awesome purple parkrun tee shirt with pride.

twins
So what is happening next weekend? Sacha plans to run and try to break the girls record at Moormead while Léonie learns how to be a backup timer for 1000 runners at Bushy 5K followed by marshaling ‘the bend’ at Moormead. Good times.

Léonie & Sacha Kennedy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

weekly newsletter 13th August 2015

welcome to the newsletter


In this week’s newsletter Alzheimer’s Research UK introduce us to Jim Beck, Fitbit monitor your sleep, we invite you to take part in a public consultation on the future of sport, we bring you some fabulous feedback from the field, and parkrun tourist Paul Freyne tells us about his parkrun travels.

I took up running at the end of 2003. I bought a pair of running shoes and on a cold, dark December evening I went out for my first run. I ran about 400 meters and nearly collapsed. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, but at the same time I really enjoyed it.

Three years later I was very much a runner. I was gearing up for my second Berlin Marathon and noticed that there were three parkruns in my area. A short time later I had my first parkrun experience, in Bushy Park, along with 303 other runners.

Over the next three years I ran 41 parkruns at Bushy and was always amazed and impressed when people were presented with their '100 Club’ shirts before the run. It seemed an incredible achievement.

Then in September 2010 I stumbled across a page on the parkrun website that would change how I spent my Saturday mornings - and often my weekends - for years to come. It was the 'most events leaderboard'.

Back then you needed to have run seven different parkruns to be on it, and only a few people had run more than 20. I set myself the challenge of doing five new parkruns over the next five weekends so that I could see my name at the bottom of that table.

A snow-covered Roundshaw Downs parkrun on Christmas Day 2010 was number seven, and over the next year I ran a different parkrun nearly every week. On Christmas Eve 2011 I ran Lloyd Park - my 100th parkrun and 58th different event. This pattern has continued ever since.

Recently I became the first person to run at 250 different parkruns worldwide - some people are calling it the 'Freyne Club'! And what a journey it's been. Outside the UK I've run 20 parkruns in Poland, taken part in the inaugural event at Gorky Park - Russia's third parkrun - and ventured to Ireland, Denmark and the USA.

Some memories stand out. Running Portrush parkrun along a golden sand beach, keeping as close to the sea as possible and watching the race horses speed by on their own morning run. Catching Murphy’s Ferry to Bere Island off the coast of Ireland, population 200, where parkrun was the talk of the island - just getting there was an adventure. And I’ll never forget Cieszyn parkrun which starts in Poland, crosses a bridge into the Czech Republic, then finishes back in Poland.

Different cultures, different languages and different continents. But always a warm welcome and once the pre-run brief begins I know I'm at a parkrun. They might look and sound different, but they feel the same - friendly, welcoming, inclusive and fun.

I have always loved travelling, and combining this with running and meeting fantastic and dedicated people makes me feel very lucky. Saturday morning trips often turn into weekends. I have made lots of friends and visited lots of places which wouldn't have happened without parkrun.

But this journey is really only just beginning. It's exciting to wonder where the next 250 parkruns will take me, and how many fantastic and inspiring people I will meet along the way.

Paul Freyne

#TeamARUKparkrun: Jim Beck


parkrunner Jim Beck, from Carrickfergus in County Antrim, will run his first half marathon next month to boost funds for parkrun’s official charity partner, Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The 55-year-old will line-up alongside nearly 60,000 other runners for the world’s leading 13.1-mile event, the Great North Run, on Saturday the 12th of September.

Jim will be spurred on by thoughts of his 79-year-old father, Jim Beck Snr, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease last year. The former oil tanker driver still lives at home but relies on the support of family and carers to help with many day-to-day tasks.

With less than five weeks until race-day, Jim has been battling a few niggling injuries, but is hoping to have a trouble-free run as participants make their way from Newcastle upon Tyne to South Shields.

Jim, whose daughter lives in nearby Whitley Bay, said:

My dad received his Alzheimer’s diagnosis nearly a year ago. At the start of 2014 he seemed in perfect health, but the deterioration in him is just unbelievable. His memory is going and he gets confused, which is really hard to see. He might know my mother sometimes, but I wouldn’t know if he knows me."

My dad’s always been such a popular man and was constantly stopping for a chat when he saw people in the street. He was a very big, bubbly man, but those who haven’t seen him in a while are shocked to see he’s lost so much weight. Seeing first-hand how dementia can affect someone has spurred me on to support Alzheimer’s Research UK and raise funds for research. I’d urge other parkrunners to back this important cause by joining #TeamARUKparkrun, too.”

Jim added:

I’ve done 58 parkruns now and I take part in Carrickfergus parkrun most weekends. I just love the community spirit of it and it’s a fantastic thing to be part of. The Great North Run will be a challenge for me, but I’m really looking forward to it.”

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

PS Alzheimer’s Research UK has secured some extra places in the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon on Sunday the 11th of October. To take your place on the start-line and support the charity, click here. Registration closes at 5pm on Thursday the 20th of August.

sweet dreams with Fitbit


Between work, family, friends and of course running, getting a good night’s sleep can often fall to the bottom of the list. However, it’s only when you rest that the body repairs and strengthens itself. Rest and recovery time is when the body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real effects of training happen, and during this time, the body replenishes energy stores and repairs damaged tissues. Therefore rest days and getting a good night’s sleep are critical to improving your run times.

Wearing a Fitbit at night means the next day, your Fitbit dashboard will show you when you were awake and restless, and will allow you to compare your sleep stats alongside your parkrun times or training sessions – this means you’ll be able to see if there’s any correlation between how well you slept and how hard you worked or how fast you ran. You can also set sleep goals to see if you’re getting the rest you need and can even monitor your food and calorie intake to see whether this affects your sleep patterns.

If you need a helping hand to make sure you’re getting the rest your body needs, why not take advantage of our £15 discount and free shipping on any Fitbit with our parkrun offer. Have you been using the Fitbit sleep feature? Did you set a sleep goal? Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #parkrunfit to share your experience. Happy snoozing everyone!

your chance to have your say


The Sports Minister has launched a wide-ranging public consultation on sport in the UK, which will be open until Friday the 2nd of October. The government wants to hear from people who are both involved in sport and those who aren't, on what more can be done to use sport to help improve lives. The consultation can be completed online.

A #SportingFuture photo competition is also being run throughout the consultation, with prizes up for grabs. To get involved, write the hashtag #SportingFuture on a sign or on your hand, arm or leg and take a selfie, making sure the hashtag is clearly visible, and upload this picture to your personal Instagram or Twitter account. In the Instagram / Twitter caption box write ‘Sport matters (and your reason why)’, ensuring you include #SportingFuture @dcmsgovuk for Instagram and #SportingFuture @dcms for Twitter.

parkrun population


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

Number of runners - 70,422
Number of volunteers - 6,448
Number of first timers - 11,271
Number of PBs - 13,240

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 big thank you to parkrun for the encouragement given to my 17-year-old son Will who completed his 250th parkrun on Saturday. Will is a very quiet, shy lad, he has dyspraxia and as a young child had both physiotherapy and occupational therapy. I have always encouraged Will to participate in sport as it really helps his co-ordination. He has attended every possible weekend he can. His home parkrun is Brighton and Hove, and we both have enjoyed parkrun tourism at Edinburgh, South Manchester, Tilgate, Eastbourne, Bognor and Bushy Park amongst others. Thank you for this wonderful parkrun family.
Sarah Russell


A recent visit to Telford parkrun was a complete joy. I was welcomed to a fantastic park from some very friendly volunteers and the course was great. The highlight for me was the special volunteer at the 4k mark holding up a big homemade sign saying ‘tap here if you need a super boost!’ Every runner high-fived the sign on their way past and it really put a smile on my face for the last kilometre and uphill finish. I ran one of my best times in a long time and it set me up for a great weekend. Thank you to everyone at Telford for making me feel so welcome, and if you're in the area yourself make sure you check it out.
Sarah Stevens


I recently took my three children to junior parkrun in Wednesfield. The event was great and all of my children finished and thoroughly enjoyed it. My daughter is eight and has a hemiplegia on her right side, so the 2k distance is much more realistic than a 5k parkrun. I was proud of them all but particularly of my daughter who I asked numerous times if she wanted to stop, yet her determination was inspiring. It certainly wasn't easy for her yet she was adamant she was going to finish. She was rightly very proud and was so happy. This is a massive achievement and testament to her character, and would not have been possible without such an event. A massive thanks to the organisers.
Greg Meacham


I decided last year that my New Year’s resolution was to lose weight and for my family to become more active and healthy. My journey has been long but six weeks ago I attended my first parkrun in Springburn Park, Glasgow. The rain was pouring down and my husband looked at me and said "I take it you’re not going in that?" Well I did. If I wanted to change it had to be now or never, and it was simply the best feeling. The volunteers and the other runners made me feel so welcome that the following week my nine-year-old, my six-year-old and husband came along to run also. Thanks to everyone at parkrun.
Louise Gough-Armstrong


This Saturday, like every Saturday, we went to parkrun. For our family, it's the start of the weekend. Thanks to the generosity of a fellow parkrunner running with my son Josh aged nine, this week we were all able to run at our own pace, and meet up to compare notes later. It was over hot chocolate and cake that we noticed that we were all wearing different parkrun club t-shirts. Here we are posing with the Camperdown Bear: Josh in his 10 shirt; Emma in her 100 shirt; Dan in his 50 shirt because his 100 shirt is in the post and me in my 25 shirt. We feel as much a part of the parkrun family as parkrun is a part of ours.
Tom Fardon


We are a family of four from Bristol. It started off with just me taking part in the parkrun each week and then my fourteen year old son Euan joined me two months later. It wasn't long before we had passed the running bug onto my husband James and youngest son Ollie. Between us we have run 171 parkruns to date and taken part in many charity events raising thousands of pounds for Prostate Cancer, Cancer Research and CLIC Sargent. parkrun has opened up many new opportunities and we now all run with Frampton Harriers running club twice a week. We all feel healthier and fitter and love to run. Thank you parkrun for inspiring us to begin this new way of life.
Jo Baker


When we first took our son Jude to our local junior parkrun at Rushcliffe, he was four and a half. We had no idea what a journey he was beginning. Since that first run, Jude has completed 53 junior parkruns and five 5k parkruns. Running is his favourite thing and he is enthusiastic and determined to do his best every single week, whatever the weather. He was delighted to get a sub-nine minute time last week, his last run before his sixth birthday, taking him to the top of the age-graded league for the course. We are so proud of him and owe parkrun a big thank you for bringing such happiness to Jude, and to the whole family.
Jane Evans

parkrunner of the week


Name:  Gregory Bailey

Club:  Wakefield & District Harriers

Age:  49

Home parkrun:  Huddersfield

Occupation:  IT Consultant

Number of runs:  100

Favourite volunteer role:  Marshalling by the pond at Huddersfield

What do you do at parkruns:  I do a different parkrun every week. Last week at Fulham Palace I did my 100th parkrun, and 100th different parkrun. I've never yet done the same one twice, though I've volunteered a few times at my home parkrun at Huddersfield. So although I miss out on the community aspect of parkrun and the chance to get PBs, every parkrun is a new challenge! I get to see the variety of different parkrun communities and routes there are up and down the country.

How has parkrun changed your running:  Doing all these different parkruns has certainly exposed me to a huge variety of types of running, from flat tracks like Dulwich and Edinburgh to hilly cross country routes like Parke and Banstead, not to mention Watergrove which is really a fell run. Having to get up and out each Saturday to various far-flung locations has also added a bit of discipline and trained me to get out of bed on time!

What do you like about parkrun:  Planning what parkrun to do each week, working out how to get there and wondering what the course will be like keeps me going on the long days between Saturday and Saturday. Then it's always nice to arrive at a new parkrun - I try to get there half an hour early, get an idea of the course, say hello to the marshals and check out the quality of the cafe. A hundred different parkruns, and it's true that they are ‘all the same and all different’ yet everywhere I have been people have been friendly and welcoming.

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment:  Army training at Mansfield. A blizzard at Lloyd park. Biblical downpour at Watergrove. Llama at Graves. Christmas Day at Buckingham. Missing the start at Daventry. Helping Santa get a PB at Humber Bridge. The hill at Parke. Cheese tea after Killerton. Coming 6th out of 12 at Pymmes. The crowds at Bushy. Stumbling on Forest of Dean after getting lost. Losing all feeling in my arms at Amager Strandpark. Sea of mud at Worcester. Baronial table in Wetherspoons at Cleethorpes. Six lapper at Dewsbury. Forgetting my barcode at Falkirk. Festivities and my best-ever time for my 100th at Fulham Palace.

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


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