welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s newsletter PruHealth with Vitality’s Faces have three weeks to go, RideLondon-Surrey 100’s ballot is open, James Saunders finds his friends in the field, we close our invitation to submit your snaps and I expand a little more on our future.
By now many of you will have read Paul’s message introducing the parkrun worldwide retail shop. This is a project that’s been in the pipeline for some time and Paul does a far better job than I can of explaining the reasons why we’ve taken this step, plus what it means for the parkrun community. However, I would like to reiterate a few key points.
Firstly, our friends Sweatshop remain as one of parkrun UK’s wonderful sponsors and are, as many of you know, our founding commercial partner having been there for us from our very first event on October the 2nd in 2004. We’ve come a long way together and we honestly wouldn’t have got here without them. The highly treasured Sweatshop Monthly Prize remains one of the most sought-after awards in running (you can see the latest recipients at the bottom of this page) and in the Sweatshop Running Community they have built a family of runners with as much passion for our sport as anyone out there. If ever there were two organisations who share the same values around bringing people into running and supporting them through their journey, it’s us and them. Thank you Sweatshop for ten amazing years, here’s to the next ten.
Secondly, as an organisation so committed to its not-for-profit principles, that works tirelessly to reduce the commercial impact on its members, this as you can imagine is a step that we’ve not taken lightly. Over the last few years the loudest message we’ve received from the parkrun community has been a desire for us to make parkrun clothing available to purchase. Our worldwide database now stands at around 1.2 million parkrunners, many of whom are keen to demonstrate their parkrun passion and in response to those voices we are excited to have taken the first steps on this new stage of our journey.
Thirdly, adding to this decision is that with an increase in size comes an increase in costs and as such we need to generate an increase in income. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you see it) our principles mean that we turn down the vast majority of approaches we receive from commercial organisations. I currently politely decline at least one approach a day because the organisation in question doesn't fit with our ethos or wants too much (for too little) from you the parkrunner. As I wrote last week, we will only engage with commercial partners where we are confident they share our beliefs and are committed to doing great things with great people. We felt therefore that if we could create great quality clothing at a great price then this would be a brilliant way to generate a level of income required to do what we do and to give parkrunners what they’ve been asking for, without being forced to compromise our principles.
As such, every penny of profit made through our worldwide retail project will go straight back into the parkrun country that it was purchased from, which will really help the smaller parkrun countries get their foot on the ladder. The response so far has been simply phenomenal. You’ll see today that there is a great range of adidas technical clothing, this will be followed very soon by a casual cotton t-shirt celebrating our 10th anniversary and later this year we expect two parkrun books to appear. There is of course much more on the drawing board so thanks in advance for your patience as we find our feet in this exciting chapter of our journey and thanks also for your belief in parkrun itself.
The adidas range is limited in number, available to every parkrunner and at the current rate may not be there that long. Once it’s gone it’s gone so please do check out our wonderful new shop asap.
Finally, if you haven’t already read Paul’s message then please do.
P.S. You can read this week’s junior parkrun newsletter here.
three weeks to go
We are now within three weeks to the Vitality Oxford Half Marathon! With the 21k run fast approaching, our Faces of the run have been prioritising their long training runs and planning ahead to fit them into their busy schedule...
“At the weekend I took my eldest daughter Lucy to start a postgraduate course up at Durham University. It was a long four-hour drive but I felt OK enough to get changed at my auntie’s house and set out for a run. You can fit running into your life, you just have to plan ahead and raise its priority.” - Simon
“I arrived at Black Park early on Saturday and did the 5k loop before the official parkrun, as per my programme. I enjoyed running the route on my own, it felt very different. I found my buddies for the important part (post-run coffee and chat). Two of them had done PBs so were very happy!” - Frances
Keep following Frances and Simon’s journey to the Vitality Oxford Half Marathon by reading their blog here.
Do you want to achieve a half marathon goal?
Unfortunately entries have now closed for the Vitality Oxford Half Marathon however there are still six remaining races in the Vitality Run Series. Find out more at vitality.co.uk.
join the world’s greatest festival of cycling
Take up the challenge of cycling 100 miles on the closed roads of London and Surrey in the 2015 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 on Sunday the 2nd of August.
The Mayor of London’s festival of cycling is the perfect way to set a personal challenge, get fit, lose weight or simply raise money for a charity close to your heart. Whether you are a novice or experienced cyclist, Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 is the sportive for you.
Sign up now for the 2015 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 ballot to be in with a chance of being part of an amazing weekend of cycling. Enter at www.PrudentialRideLondon.co.uk.
Every parkrunner was recently invited by our founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt to submit up to three photographs via ‘Your Links’ for the 10th Anniversary Photo Book. Thank you. Many of you did just that!
Submissions have now closed but each image has an equal chance of making it into the book and we look forward to sharing it with you all before too long.
Here are this week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK:
Number of runners - 49,656
Number of volunteers - 4,449
Number of first timers - 6,808
Number of PBs - 9,961
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
Hi parkrun UK
I read your 'need for change' with great interest. The new online shop sounds fantastic and I'm sure it will be very popular. I feel parkrun is the most amazing organisation and to think that you have managed this far without asking runners for funding is… well… incredible. I have gained so much from parkrun and reading about everyone else's experience, they have too.
Hi parkrun UK
After taking a break from parkrun tourism we volunteered at Oakwell Hall parkrun for a while. We then took part in a special four generation parkrun to celebrate Donna Speirs’ 100th parkrun at Barrow parkrun. Donna's mum and brother were at the finish line to see her complete her run. We finally managed to complete our ‘Cowell’ (100 different events, named after Chris Cowell the first person to do this) at Nostell Priory parkrun and we awarded ourselves our own special 'Cowells' which are tea towels with cows on!
John and Joanna Cassells
Hi parkrun UK
As Club Chairman of Crystal Palace Triathletes (CPT), I wanted to let you know about one of our juniors who is also a parkrunner, Alex Yee. On the 11th of September Alex ran the fastest ever Under 17 5000m in a time of 14:40 at Ladywell Arena track. Alex has run 16:08 at Crystal Palace parkrun, 15:29 at Dulwich parkrun and 15:44 at Hilly Fields parkrun, the second fastest ever time there. Everyone at CPT is very proud of Alex, who was one of our founder junior members back in 2008, and has gone from strength to strength both in athletics and triathlon.
Hi parkrun UK
I've been a parkrunner for a year now having done 23 parkruns at Southampton parkrun. I recently started thinking about a bit of parkrun tourism... to Eastleigh or Winchester perhaps? Nope, I have just completed my first bit of parkrun tourism in Singapore where I ran in their twelfth event. They have circa 30 runners every week which is very different from the 400+ at Southampton parkrun. Due to the heat and humidity they also start their run at 7am and it is run on a flat course through East Coast Park. There is an opportunity to meet locals, expats and holidaymakers alike. I met Scots, Aussies and Kiwis during the post-run coffee. Many thanks for the warm welcome and well done to the organisers!
Hi parkrun UK
A while ago I went to Bradford parkrun with a few friends, mainly to get fit and support a friend running the Great North Run. I love it and since then we've started a 'tour' of Yorkshire parkruns. We're slow but at least we're out there doing it! Two weekends ago I slipped down a couple of stairs which resulted in two broken bones and an impressive bit of metalwork. I spent all of last week in hospital feeling progressively more sorry for myself but then I read the newsletter and I'm feeling inspired. I love reading everyone's stories and it's reminded me that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It may be a few months away but I'll be back!
Hi parkrun UK
I have been involved with Pennington Flash parkrun since very early on, first by volunteering then by running. It is an amazing way to spend a Saturday morning and we have a great social aspect. I have met so many inspiring people who I am proud to call friends. I have also been inspired to run 93 miles non-stop in November, for charity, knowing I have the 'Flashers' behind me! I loved running before but this makes it even better!
Hi parkrun UK
A holiday in Russia this September enabled me to do some parkrun tourism. Less than 24 hours after my flight landed in Saint Petersburg I was in Elagin Ostrov Park ready to run my first overseas parkrun. I chatted to a few people afterwards and even bumped into one of them in the city later in the week! For the next week I went over to Moscow and chose Kolomenskoe parkrun and arrived to just over 40 smiling faces on a beautifully sunny morning. I didn’t have to rush off after this one and was amazed by the range of snacks that were shared around! Doing a parkrun abroad was just like at home - a great way to start the weekend, meet new people and get the legs moving!
Hi parkrun UK
I have just returned from a ‘15 day, three parkruns in three counties’ bit of tourism. I would like to thank all the run directors and very enthusiastic volunteers at Longrun Meadow, Lanhydrock and Exeter Riverside parkruns. Each run was different from the others and I was excited not knowing what the courses held in store although I wish I'd been warned about the long steep climb on the Lanhydrock course!
Hi parkrun UK
I did my first parkrun on Saturday after being diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and having had spinal surgery only a couple of months ago. I completed my first week of radiotherapy on Friday and as a reward my wife and I decided to try a parkrun with our eight year old grandson. I knew I could not complete the three miles but thought if I could walk a mile I would be proud of myself. I am slowly but surely improving my mobility and completed two of the three miles. If anyone else would like to join us at our pace, you'll see me at the back.
Hi parkrun UK
This is our family after completing the Great North Run. After our two sons got their degrees my husband Dave told them he was extremely proud of them and vowed to make them proud of him. He decided he would do the Great North Run and we decided to support him. Dave wanted to raise money for charity and our son Luke wanted to raise money for charity too, which they both did. Dave recommends parkrun as he has lost over two stone in weight and would like to thank the Sewerby parkrunners and volunteers for their support and encouragement.
parkrunner of the week
Name: Natalie Longman
Club: Tri Sport Epping
Home parkrun: Hackney Marshes
Occupation: Civil Servant
Number of runs: 134
Favourite volunteer role: Marshal, as I enjoy cheering everyone on.
What do you do at parkruns: I am a bit of a chatterbox. I love a good chat at parkrun whether it be with new faces or old friends. I encourage people when I am running and when I finish I stay around to cheer others on whilst my husband Brian takes lots of photos.
How has parkrun changed your running: parkrun has given me a greater appreciation of why other people run. I run a lot on my own, so for me parkrun adds a real social aspect.
What do you like about parkrun: I am a parkrun tourist but whichever parkrun I go to I always feel a sense of belonging.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: Reaching my 100th parkrun on New Years Day at my home parkrun of Hackney Marshes. More recently running at Bushy, where it all began as it really is a truly special parkrun.