welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s newsletter PruHealth with Vitality congratulate their Faces, Chris Davies sees a shoe swap, we invite you to run a mile, you can be parkrun proud, we announce our partnership with the IAAF and I shed a tear or two.
I don’t really know why I didn’t write this week’s newsletter last week, anyway… Saturday the 4th of October, our tenth anniversary, was one of the most moving days of my life. Arriving at Bushy Park around 8:30am in the morning I became instantly aware of a special atmosphere in the air as parkrunners from all around the World mingled with the South West London locals in advance of Bushy parkrun number 538. My personal parkrun 'birthday’ (the date of my first ever parkrun) is the 4th of August, a day that back in 2007 marked a turning point in my life that would send me on a journey I never dreamed possible. Fast forward to the Saturday before last and there we were at the birthplace of parkrun itself in the company of the 18 parkrun pioneers (13 runners and five volunteers) who’d taken those first magical steps.
One by one they were introduced to the crowd and up to that point I don’t think any of us had anticipated quite what that moment would feel like and just two days previously Paul Sinton-Hewitt had received his CBE from The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William. Having such a clear demonstration of where we started back in 2004, contrasted against 1,700 runners, alongside Paul who stood there with his CBE, painted the most amazing picture. I’m not ashamed to say I was moved to tears. Who knows where we’ll be in another ten years time but I have a feeling that we’ll never again have a moment quite like that.
As we look to the future perhaps the greatest challenge we face is balancing financial survival with our not-for-profit ethos, something that demands we minimise commercial impact on our community. In the weeks, months and years to come there will be changes to the way we generate income for parkrun as we look to place greater control of that in the hands of the parkrunner. Recently, as part of that, we took the decision to move into retail clothing. Having spent many years deliberating the pros and cons it had become clear that many parkrunners wanted to wear something that advertised their membership of the parkrun movement and also to contribute to parkrun in some way. We’re really excited about the anniversary t-shirts (modelled above by the pioneers) and hope that they tick both those boxes. There are a limited number and once they’re gone they’re gone so if you’d like to own a little bit of parkrun history and at the same time contribute towards the future of our wonderfully free weekly timed runs then why not check out our online store.
Thanks as always for your wonderful parkrun passion,
P.S. You can read this week’s junior parkrun newsletter here.
Vitality Oxford Half Marathon
Congratulations to all parkrunners who completed the Vitality Oxford Half Marathon on Sunday! We are really proud to have sponsored such a great event and we want to say thank you to those who took part.
PruHealth with Vitality would like to make a special mention to our Vitality Faces of the run - Simon and Frances. Over the past seven weeks we have followed them on their journey to completing the 21k and what a ride it has been! Simon and Frances have now completed the run and walk away with everlasting memories and a great sense of achievement:
“Two out of three ain’t bad, sang Meatloaf. Well my three aims were 1) to beat last year’s time 2) to get a new PB 3) to try and get below 1:50 finish time. I managed the first two, and achieved a respectable and realistic time of 1:52:49. That’s a fair reflection of my training effort and I’m happy with that. Until the next half marathon.” - Simon
“I am so happy today, feeling an immense sense of well being and achievement. Everything about the last few weeks, from the phone call to tell me I’d won the competition to crossing the finishing line, has been incredible. Doing sub-2 hours 20 minutes (2:15:10 to be precise) and the ‘well done’ hug from Simon at the finish, were the icing on the cake.” - Frances
Simon and Frances’ dedication, determination and effort has been a true inspiration and PruHealth with Vitality is proud to have them as Vitality Run Series Champions.
Congratulations and thank you Simon and Frances!
Check out their full Vitality Oxford Half Marathon journey here.
Do you want to achieve a half marathon goal?
The Vitality Oxford Half Marathon 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 with Vitality. Get active and take on a new challenge - run one, run two or run all five remaining races in the Series. Find out more at vitality.co.uk.
date for your diary
The Westminster Mile takes place on Sunday the 24th of May 2015 and once again we have our very own parkrun wave.
You can enter here using the unique parkrun wave link. Join us on The Mall!
A limited edition commemorative souvenir parkrun t-shirt is now available via our online store to celebrate our 10th Anniversary.
Available in both adult and junior sizes, all profits will be ploughed back into parkrun to support our growth. Wear one and be parkrun proud.
parkrun and the IAAF
parkrun would like to announce that it has joined forces with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to become a Partner of Athletics for a Better World.
You can read more about this programme here.
Each week parkrun introduces more venues across the globe where people can take part in a free, fun filled, 5k run. In doing so we are delivering social change in all the countries that we operate in. As an example, last week we witnessed nearly 80,000 people enjoying a walk, jog or run at one of our friendly events, which is only made possible because of the commitment and generosity of 90,000 volunteers since parkrun began. This weekend’s events were brought to you by nearly 6,300 of our wonderful volunteers.
With over 1.2 million people registered and growing by over 14,000 new members each week, parkrun’s welcoming attitude and community focus makes it an ideal place for social change to take place. Each week we celebrate everyone’s achievements at each of our 500+ locations.
By introducing this partnership, the IAAF and parkrun accept that we have a global responsibility to use the power and reach of athletics to make a positive difference in peoples lives.
By Paul Sinton-Hewitt, parkrun founder
Here are this week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK:
Number of runners - 51,430
Number of volunteers - 4,823
Number of first timers - 7,372
Number of PBs - 10,814
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 just wanted to say a big thank you to all the parkrunners and volunteers. I completed the NHS Couch to 5k in February this year with the ambition to be able to tackle a parkrun without causing embarrassment or injury to myself! I needn't have worried as the reception I have received from everybody at my local Mulbarton and Norwich parkruns have inspired me to achieve more. In October I ran the Great North Run and have lost nearly two stone along the way. I always look forward to Saturday mornings, absorbing all the running advice on offer but also offering encouragement to fellow parkrunners. I've even roped my nine-year-old niece into coming along too! Thank you parkrun.
Hi parkrun UK
In Peterborough on Sunday I completed my first half marathon in less than two hours and 54 minutes. I have been running for 10 years but until I found parkrun I had only ever run by myself. Every week I make new friends and now I have friends to run with. My husband has signed up to parkrun too. I have seen so many people come along and enjoy the friendly atmosphere at Catton parkrun in Norwich (which just celebrated its first anniversary) and consequently improve their health and confidence. When I am not running I love to take part by volunteering and cheering the runners on. With the encouragement I received I found the motivation to extend my running to try the half marathon distance. Thank you parkrun for changing my life.
Hi parkrun UK
A huge thanks to all the volunteers and parkrunners at Fulham Palace parkrun who cheerfully tolerated the first part of my hen celebrations last week (we were the 11 stragglers dressed as Pac-Man and the Pac-Man ghosts). My brilliant bridesmaids who organised the weekend knew it wouldn't have been complete without a 5k run on Saturday morning. It was my first time at Fulham Palace parkrun, a really excellent event in a stunning setting, which was also my 50th parkrun overall and that made it extra special. A few of our party who were new to parkrun have been converted and are looking forward to completing many more. Thanks in particular to the kind lady who took our photo and for making us all giggle!
Hi parkrun UK
I've just finished volunteering for the first time, at Mile End parkrun. It was brilliant to be supporting the runners and get first-hand experience of the organisation that goes into the weekly 5ks. I really enjoyed it and I'll certainly be doing more volunteering, especially if I've got a night out planned for the Friday! I'd like to thank everyone who has volunteered and made it possible for the runners to turn up week after week and have such a stress free experience as you do an amazing job!
Hi parkrun UK
Spot the Difference! The first photo of us proudly wearing our 50 Club t-shirts was included in your newsletter in April 2013. The second photo shows us now, in our 100 Club t-shirts! Between us all we have completed 460 parkruns. The majority have been run at our home event of Swindon parkrun. We have done a little tourism including one parkrun at Durham, North Carolina in the United States where we were given a warm welcome. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers at Swindon parkrun for their hard work every week. It is really appreciated as parkrun has become such a part of our life now. We would be lost without you on a Saturday morning.
Rachel, Alan, Jacob and Isaac McAdam
Hi parkrun UK
Being a regular parkrunner at Bognor Regis it made a nice change to be able run at another event. While in Newquay, Cornwall I found the local parkrun at Lanhydrock House, Bodmin. However I noticed it was a little way from Newquay and no trains would arrive for the 9am start. I promptly sent out an SOS on the Lanhydrock parkrun Facebook page and within a couple of days I had a lift sorted with a chap named John. There was a great, warm welcome and it is a fantastic run where the views are worth the trip alone. I’m looking forward to doing this parkrun again. Thanks to everyone involved.
Hi parkrun UK
On Saturday I ran my 54th parkrun and my fifth at Cambridge, having recently moved back to my home city after six years in Newcastle. I also volunteered for the first time on ‘Post-Event Closedown’. Slightly kicking myself, having only recently realised you can volunteer and run the same week, I'm now volunteering at least once a month from now on to feel redeemed! I'd like to thank my friend Caroline who first dragged me along to parkrun as well as everyone at Newcastle parkrun whom I got to know so well, I'll be up for a reunion run before too long! Also thanks to all the Cambridge parkrun volunteers for their encouragement and making me feel so welcome since I've been back. Keep it going everyone!
Hi parkrun UK
I was so delighted to receive the email from parkrun recently to say my 50 Club t-shirt had arrived. Unfortunately I wasn't going to be at parkrun that weekend to collect it. However, my friends Alison and Nigel Swan could collect the shirt on my behalf. They texted me to say they had the t-shirt in their possession. I told them to look after it until Monday and not to let it out of their sight. They took me at my word because all weekend they uploaded photos onto Facebook with them and the t-shirt, which included a trip to buy a hot tub, a car boot sale, a visit to a furniture store and it even found it’s way into a vending machine. Thanks for the t-shirt parkrun!
Hi parkrun UK
You might be interested to know some news of a parkrunner (albeit infrequent) who introduced me to parkrun. She is my daughter, Cat Simpson, and she has just completed the Atacama Crossing in Chile. It is a seven day, self-supported 155 mile run across the highest, driest desert in the world. It was Cat's first run of this kind, although she has run a number of ultra marathons over the past 12 months, but nothing this extreme. In a field of runners, many of whom were very experienced in this kind of race (and a double Olympian who won overall) Cat came 13th overall (out of 126 finishers and 32 DNF) and 2nd lady, an amazing achievement.
parkrunner of the week
Name: The Johnstone Family (Pete 48, Vicki 43, Dan 16, Lucas 14, Billy 11 and Marcus 6)
Club: Dan is a member of Valley Striders AC. The rest of us are just parkrunners.
Home parkrun: Roundhay and Roundhay juniors
Occupation: Vicki is a Physiotherapist. Pete's an NHS Manager. The kids are all at school.
Number of runs: 352 x 5k parkruns and 98 x 2k junior parkruns.
Favourite volunteer role: Vicki and Lucas like timekeeping, Dan and Pete like pacing, Billy likes barcode scanning and Marcus is a top marshal and photographer.
What do you do at parkruns: parkrun and junior parkrun is just what we do on weekend mornings. We enjoy a big extended family mixture of running, volunteering and messing about with friends, relatives and the whole Roundhay and Roundhay juniors family.
How has parkrun changed your running: parkrun didn't change our running, it was the start of all our running! Dan did his first run with his laces undone and his hands in his pockets like a grumpy teenager. He now runs sub-20 minutes. It helped Pete to lose over three stone and move from couch potato to doing triathlons.
What do you like about parkrun: What don't we like about parkrun? Nothing... Starting our weekend mornings with a run or two, or volunteering, or both and the feeling of achievement is great. The friendly, inclusive atmosphere, the sense of real community plus the strong links between our 5k and junior events. The fact that all of us can do it together or separately, supporting each other to improve our times or to just get round some weeks. We can't describe how much it has changed our lives for the better.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: So many! Lucas completing his 50th run in a skin tight red morph suit, Pete and Billy running Billy's first event together in matching skeleton suits on Halloween, Dan finally going sub-20, three generations of our family all running together, conquering the Roundhay hills in six inches of snow...