welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s newsletter Alzheimer's Research UK invite you to walk with them, the Face of Vitality Run Hackney is in training, a research project needs volunteers, we encourage you to complete your ICE details and I reflect on volunteering.
This last couple of weeks I’ve finally found some time to get stuck into (Lloyd parkrun Event Director) Debra Bourn’s great book, parkrun: much more than just a run in a park. If, like me, you’re a true parkrun geek then it contains a wonderful diversity of interesting stats (aren’t all stats interesting?) and quirky stories from around the world over our first ten years.
Last night I got stuck into chapter five, which is all about volunteering, and it got me thinking about what I’d write this morning for the parkrun UK newsletter. Certainly when Paul Sinton-Hewitt founded parkrun his focus was on maximising the number of runners and minimising the number of volunteers; it wasn’t for quite a few more years that we realised the true value of volunteering, not only to the event and the runners but to the volunteers themselves.
To give you an example of this I was in South Africa last year and took part in my first international parkrun at Delta Park in Johannesburg. It just so happened that my Dad was living there at the time and so he joined us for the run and at the end volunteered to help sort the 600 or so finish tokens. After spending around 20 minutes, with two people he’d never met before, sorting the tokens into numerical order he suggested that there should be some clever way to automate the process so as it doesn’t require 20 minutes of three people’s time. What I pointed out in return was that the actual act of sorting out the tokens was a mere smokescreen for getting him to make two new friends, who would then make him feel welcome every time he came back to Delta parkrun, and perhaps give him a little nudge when he didn’t. My point is, of course, that his life and more importantly the likelihood of him turning this healthy behaviour (parkrun) into a habit was greatly enhanced thanks to 20 minutes spent in the company of two people he’d never met before.
So, my message this week is that we all know the value of volunteers to their local community but perhaps we’re not so up to speed with the intrinsic value of volunteering to the volunteer themselves. Across the UK we now have 359 weekly opportunities for you to make new friends, all you have to do is visit your parkrun profile and opt in to receive the volunteering emails from the event(s) of your choice. I promise you won’t regret it.
P.S. In this week’s junior parkrun newsletter volunteers benefit too.
join our Defeat Dementia Walk
Alzheimer’s Research UK, parkrun’s official charity partner, would like to invite parkrunners to sign-up for our annual Defeat Dementia Walk to boost funds for pioneering dementia research.
Our flagship fundraising event, which is now in its fifth year, will be held in Cambridgeshire on Sunday the 12th of July. We plan to make this year’s walk our biggest yet and have set a fundraising target of £50,000 – enough to fund a pilot project to test pioneering new approaches in dementia research.
The Defeat Dementia Walk begins at 10am from Linton Village College and includes a choice of two routes: a 10-mile walk taking in the picturesque villages of Linton, Hadstock, Hildersham and Great Abington and a pushchair-friendly, three-mile route through Linton. Both routes end at the college where walkers will be able to take a well-earned rest and enjoy tea and cake!
Someone who has completed every walk since its inception in 2011 is Alzheimer’s Research UK Champion Sarah King. Sarah, who lives in Linton, will once again be walking in honour of her husband, Andrew, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease aged just 43. Now 51, Andrew needs round-the-clock care and is unable to walk, talk or feed himself.
Sarah said: “Just 18 months after we got married Andrew’s granddad died, then about a year later his dad passed away, too. They had been very close and Andrew took the news extremely hard. He became withdrawn and he was put on anti-depressants by his GP but things didn’t improve. Eventually Andrew was referred to a memory clinic and he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. It was a terrible shock but there was some relief in knowing what was wrong.
“Watching Andrew’s decline has been incredibly hard but by supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK I know I am doing something positive to fight the disease that has taken so much from Andrew and me. I am delighted that this year’s walk is taking place almost on my doorstep in Linton and I am looking forward to taking part in Defeat Dementia Walk. I hope to see you there.”
To take up the challenge, visit www.defeatdementiawalk.org or call 0300 111 5 777. All participants are encouraged to raise sponsorship for the walk. Registration fees are £15 for adults, £7.50 for under 18s, while under-threes are free.
Defeat Dementia Walk Lead Organiser
Alzheimer’s Research UK
face of Vitality Run Hackney
Meet Danielle, who a year ago never imagined she would be training for a half marathon; ‘I just never thought I’d have the time or the endurance needed. I became serious about running when I started running outside during my lunch breaks and I haven’t looked back since. Running is now part of my morning routine and I don’t think I could start the day without it.”
With four weeks to go Danielle is starting to feel the nerves kick in - “I’m constantly worrying whether I’m doing enough training or too much and when I should start tapering. Follow Danielle’s journey here.
Want to achieve a Half Marathon challenge?
Be part of the Vitality Run Series - a series featuring eight of the UK's most exciting running events, brought to you by Vitality. Get active and take on a new challenge - run one, run two or run the whole Series.
A Vitality Run Series event may provide the motivation you need to become a fitter and healthier you in 2015.
Find out more here.
research volunteers needed
We are a research team from Queen Mary’s University London Sports and Exercise Medicine Department and would like to invite you to participate in our study. Our aim is to find out what motivates people with health conditions to sign up to, and participate in parkrun. We hope that new and regular parkrunners can help us to gather this information by completing this short questionnaire.
This research is important because it could help members of the public, like you, to learn ways to manage their health better in future. It could also help health professionals and those in the exercise industry to advise people better on how to use exercise to help improve their health. The questionnaire should take no more than 10 minutes of your time and is easy to access online. You will be instructed on how to complete the questionnaire and if you are suitable to participate in the study when you access the site.
The study will be running until the end of June 2015, but we would like to gather as many responses as possible by this time. We hope to be visiting some parkrun events and are looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible. Please feel free to ask us any questions in person, or to contact us via email@example.com
We would like to thank you in advance for participating in this study! For further information see here.
in case of emergency
Please visit your parkrun profile which can be easily accessed via your result email or the email version of this newsletter to complete your ICE (in case of emergency) details and to add any medical conditions. If your paper barcode is getting a bit tatty it’s a really good time to print off a fresh one which will then include your ICE details.
You can also include ICE details and any medical information on our tags and wristbands which are available from our authorised parkrun UK barcode supplier.
Here are this week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK (including junior parkrun)
Number of runners - 61,328
Number of volunteers - 5,635
Number of first timers - 8,768
Number of PBs - 12,072
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
Small is beautiful. As a participant and tourist for nine years, and a run director for two years, it was with my weekly sense of adventure I reached the relatively new South Oxhey parkrun for a tourist visit. Even with an attendance of 39 participants the whole parkrun ethos could easily be experienced. Despite wind and rain, marshals were smiling and encouraging all runners regardless of their pace. A visually impaired runner was guided skilfully around whilst at the finish another determined volunteer toiled as the scanner and the rain got in each other's way. The joy and ethos of the weekly parkrun is simple and was present at South Oxhey for all to indulge. Size doesn't matter really.
Hi parkrun UK
I just wanted to thank everyone at Porthcawl parkrun for a fantastic time on Saturday the 11th of April. My wife Jackie and I were made to feel very welcome both before and after the run. Even walking back to our car people were coming up to talk to us. Awesome support from the volunteers and supporters together with excellent organisation. You have a brilliant course which was testing. Thanks and hopefully see you all again soon.
Hi parkrun UK
I started running in my thirties and I am now seventy five. It’s years since I ran a half or a full marathon as I now have a dodgy knee that stops me training enough. My running consists of one or two runs a week plus using an exercise bike which has kept me fit but I was lacking something until I discovered Brueton parkrun. I hope to complete my 50th parkrun in May. I look forward on Saturdays and to seeing new friends I meet at parkrun. Also, I get a real buzz from volunteering as the atmosphere is amazing. Recently I was tailrunner and still came first in my age category! My proudest run was with my two sons, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. Thanks parkrun.
Hi parkrun UK
A couple of years ago we met a lovely lady at Edinburgh parkrun. She was introduced to us by a mutual friend as Emma Vinnie and has since become a great friend. Sadly for us, she has met a great guy called Craig who is whisking her off to Vancouver. We will miss her but will keep pestering her until she starts a Canadian parkrun. We will all miss you Emma, from the Brighouse Edinburgh Elite Runners.
Hi parkrun UK
On the 25th of April I will be running the parkrun in Pollock parkrun, Glasgow. My fellow runners and family have raised over £800 for The Brain Tumour Research charity following losing my sister who was only 67. This cancer kills more people than any other yet only receives 1% of cancer funding. The organisers have been fantastic and are allowing me to run only wearing speedos and shoes. I thank them very much for their support and look forward to the event. The story has already been covered by a local newspaper. Thank you parkrun.
Hi parkrun UK
I heard about parkrun from my brother and enjoyed watching when I was on leave from my job in Zambia. I got my fitness level up so I could participate in some parkruns when on annual leave this year. 24 hours after flying from Zambia I found myself at the start of my first run. It is very special for us to be able to run together as our father who was amazingly supportive of everything we did sadly passed away in 2013 and he would have been proud to see us running together. Thank you Richard for being my running partner. I might be able to outrun the monkeys when I go back to Zambia!
Hi parkrun UK
Seeing the feedback from Sarah Lou Lewis last week and her subject of close run consecutive times, I am one of those that can emulate her consistency having run 22:18 at four consecutive Little Stoke parkrun appearances in summer 2014. Sarah did ask! Even more consistency is shown by our amazing Run Directors and their helpers at Little Stoke who put on an excellent run week after week. Thank you.
parkrunner of the week
Name: Roy Skelton
Home parkrun: Colwick
Number of runs: I’ve never run one but I volunteer most weeks.
Favourite volunteer role: Marshal
What do you do at parkruns: I arrive early and set out the signs around the small lake and I am one of the very few people who know where sign 10 goes. I marshal at ‘the split’ and show the runners which way to go... left on the first lap, right on the second lap.
How has parkrun changed your running: I don’t run but I like being in the fresh air.
What do you like about parkrun: Watching all the runners and seeing all their smiling faces.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: I enjoyed our Christmas jumper parkrunday, and I was very proud to be awarded ‘Volunteer of the Year’ last year.