the buzz of parkrun
Throughout the parkrun world there are fantastic stories of how people with impairments have benefited from parkrun either as runners, walkers or volunteers. In last week’s newsletter we asked parkrunners who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a professional involvement in this area to get in touch with us, as part of a wider project to understand how parkrun can become more welcoming and accommodating. The response we received was overwhelming, and we wanted to share this particular piece of feedback.
My name is Ruth Greer and I am a 36-year-old mother of two. I’ve been profoundly deaf since the age of 11 and depend on lip-reading which I taught myself.
I always wanted to run but would quit before I even left the house. There’s no doubt that I’m a cosy sofa type of person and I used to sit down every evening from 6:30 til 9pm watching soaps on TV.
Then last October, my daughter came home with leaflets promoting health and exercise and providing information about a Couch to 5k programme that was being run by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and Ballymena Runners. I knew I was unwell and had anxiety, and that joining a Couch to 5k would be an enormous challenge, but I mustered up the courage to go along on the first night. Instantly I was blown away by the incredible welcome of the volunteers who came to join and support us.
I met a man named Paul who was involved in the nearby Ecos parkrun, and he stood by me every week through the Couch to 5k programme as I puffed my way up a hill that on more than one occasion I thought would make me sick. Equally though, I discovered I was really enjoying myself and we were all having a really good laugh together. Running was actually fun! Then, after nine weeks of persistence and perseverance, I went along to Ecos parkrun. 43 minutes later I crossed the line having run 5k non-stop for the first time – an emotional moment I will never forget.
After that graduation parkrun last December not only did I become a regular parkrunner, but my husband and two children began running too. The benefits of becoming fitter and healthier have had a positive influence on the rest of my life, especially with what I eat.
Being hearing impaired and relying on lip reading is extremely tiring on the mind, and just like everyone I have days when I don’t feel my best. But I know that when I get to parkrun I will catch that contagious buzz from everyone else, which always encourages me and lifts my spirits.
your new look Fitbit app
If you track your activity stats and parkrun PBs with the Fitbit app on iOS or Windows, you’ve probably noticed something a little different. Here at Fitbit, we have redesigned our app dashboard based on your feedback, making the data that’s most important to your fitness easier to use and understand. So apart from its slick appearance, what else can you expect from the new and improved dashboard?
- New daily stats tile: Now you can see more of your stats at once for a more complete overview. Tap each individual stat to expand.
- New tile shape: The square design of the stat tiles fits in more information, so you can see more of your data at a glance without clicking in.
- More personalisation: Tap ‘Edit’ in the top right corner to choose what stats you do and don’t want to see on your dashboard.
- Quick logging: It’s now easier to log food, sleep, exercise and set alarms with just a tap.
For the full run down on the new dashboard, check our blog. If you’re on Android, this opt-in update will arrive later in the year. If you’re using it already, let us know what you think and show us your stat screenshots! Get in touch and share your stories on Facebook and Twitter.
Utilise your parkrun exclusive discount with Fitbit by clicking here.
The inspirational Running Down Dementia runner we’d like to introduce to you this week is Andy Harper. Andy is a regular runner at Ayr parkrun in Ayrshire, Scotland.
Though Running Down Dementia encourages participants to run 100k and raise £100, Andy wanted to stretch himself by matching his kilometres with the money that he’s raised. With just short of a whopping £800 from generous supporters, Andy is now aiming to run 800k, and has already completed 636k with the help of his parkruns every weekend. Andy fits his running around a busy job and looking after his children and has just completed his 50th parkrun.
Andy was inspired to support Alzheimer’s Research UK after his aunt Anne McLoy, 77, was diagnosed with dementia. Anne’s condition deteriorated quickly and she recently moved into residential care in Greenock.
Andy said: “When people think of dementia, they think of memory loss. But seeing my aunt go through this has opened my eyes to all the other facets of the condition. Her change in personality is the hardest thing to witness. She always used to be quite gregarious, but now she can become angry in social situations, which isn’t like her at all. Dementia is a dreadful thing to have to deal with, not just for the person diagnosed, but for everyone around them too. Research is the only way we can attack the condition and find a way to beat it.”
At Alzheimer’s Research UK, we can’t thank Andy enough for all his efforts. You can donate to Andy’s page here. And if you’d like to give your own Running Down Dementia fundraising page a boost, why not visit our ‘tools’ page for more ideas.
welcome to our new site!
Our new online store here at Intersport is one week old! We hope you have been enjoying the ease and convenience of shopping for your favourite sports brands from the comfort of your home. We’ve already had several of you pick up your new gear in store with our free click and collect service, which is great as it means we still get to chat to you in person and share a little parkrun love.
If you haven’t yet had a chance to browse our new site, head toour website and check out the huge range of gear on offer in our core sports of running, fitness, swim and football. You can also search by brand, and there is quick access to the store locator map to help you find your nearest high street store.
Thank you for your support so far, and don’t forget you can claim your 10% parkrun discount off all full priced items by entering ‘PARKRUN10’ at the checkout when shopping online. Or pop by in person with your parkrun barcode to claim your parkrun partnership price #PPP* off goods in store. As always, we’ll be on hand with tips and advice about all things running.
We love to see what you’re up to, so keep your pictures coming on Twitter @Intersport_UK #loveparkrun and like us on Facebook to keep up with what’s going on. See you at your next parkrun!
*PPP valid at all participating Intersport stores; see our website for details.
** Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion.
Last Saturday saw more than one hundred people take to the promenade at Copacabana Beach in Rio for an unofficial parkrun, with none other than double Olympic gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes and former 5,000 metre world record holder Dave Moorcroft volunteering. The event took place ahead of the I Am Team GB campaign, which will be communicating the great work that parkrun volunteers do right across the UK every week.
Before sending the runners and walkers on their way, Dame Kelly said: “We’ve had so much support going on and it’s been fantastic for Team GB. But the one thing that’s brilliant in the UK is the free 5k parkruns, so I couldn’t come all the way to Copacabana Beach without running on the beach with everybody.”
Among the lucky parkrunners to take part was Alison Richmond from Gunpowder parkrun: “I took part in the pop-up parkrun at Copacabana beach this morning. There were a few of us in various parkrun shirts. It was great to meet Kelly, she was lovely and very encouraging.
“Even at 7am in winter it felt quite hot! I am here in Rio as a volunteer and have been on the photo team at the tennis centre, the most amazing job I could have hoped for.”
Further information about I Am Team GB is available here.
One-mile swim, 24 September, Serpentine, Hyde Park, London.
Our partners, London Marathon Events are staging ‘the’ open water swimming event to do in 2016 and is a unique opportunity to swim in one of the most iconic open water city centre venues in the world.
Four years on from the amazing London Olympics, celebrate the event’s legacy by swimming a mile in the Serpentine – the venue for the open water swimming at London 2012.
Don’t miss your chance to enter now and get set for a great day out in one of London’s most beautiful Royal Parks. There will be loads to see and do so bring the family and make a day of it!
Costing £39 and taking place on Saturday 24 September it will be one event you will not want to miss. To find out more visit www.swimserpentine.co.uk.
Here are this week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK (including junior parkrun)
6,583 first timers
random stat of the week
Amongst the 2.7 million people registered with parkrun globally, there are 121 named Gold, 166 Silvers and 13 named Bronze.
feedback from the field
Looking for a new challenge in July 2015, we decided to run all 22 Northern Ireland parkruns. We have enjoyed the unique challenge of every course, the wonderfully supportive volunteers and that fantastic feeling of being part of the biggest family of runners. parkruns have been a great way to see around our country.
We always walked around the surrounding area and grabbed a post run breakfast in a local café. Some became weekend trips and, apart from Enniskillen, cancelled one very icy morning, most have gone according to plan.
We will, however, never forget completing the soft-sanded Portrush run at high tide, or perhaps it’s our quads that won't forget! The tour is now complete… but due to start again soon!
Last month we had the privilege of taking just over a week's holiday in France, which meant two parkrun days!
The Paris parkrun follows a beautiful heart-shaped course through a large wooded area. The road-like paths are smooth and wide. With just 50 runners, you can certainly imagine how parkrun could grow to be a big event there.
The following week we went to a Bordeaux parkrun - just 18 of us on a beautiful, two-lap run of the woods, starting off on soft dry sand, which soon became firmer, on a narrow, windy course.
I'd encourage anyone to take in parkrun tourism, either UK or abroad. It's great to try out new courses and meet other parkrunners!
Onward, onward thundered the gallant 300...into the (Arrow) valley of death. Marshalls to the left of em, marshalls to the right, the plucky warriors looked magnificent in full flight.
Down past the lake....legs now starting to quake, then up Cardiac Hill, they experienced the thrill, of lung bursting exertion, of their complete immersion in blood sweat and tears and in conquering their fears of this formidable course......
"A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse" came the loud shout, for they had just found out what the parkrun is about, after toiling all week in offices and factories.....it's by far the best way of recharging their batteries.......after all.....who could deny that thrill that they seek....who could deny that pleasure every week?
I completed Burnham and Highbridge parkrun recently, and as I was watching some of the final parkrunners cross the finish line I could see the sense of achievement and pride in their faces.
This was only my second parkrun but I can see the point to it all. All shapes, sizes and ages, all wanting to do something to push themselves, even a little. In my opinion, this event should be encouraged and remain free to all to enjoy.
Anyone who has any doubts or disagrees, should go and stand at the finish line and see the person who has never run before, the young children with parents and grandparents and the people on their journey to having a healthier lifestyle, all finishing with a smile and a whoop of joy. Well done parkrun!
I was reading Lindsay Usher's story in last week's parkrun newsletter about her daughter and her posting the same times at Chester and Errdig parkruns.
I have a similar story - my husband and I have the same PBs at Killerton (23:23) and Basingstoke (23:10) parkruns, both set at different times, and we weren't running together!
Featured in last week's newsletter, Lindsay Usher and Sarah are not the only mum and daughter to get the same times at different parkruns in the same week.
On 6 August my mum ran 27:25 in her first visit to Woking parkrun, while 30 miles away my sister was at her home run of Gladstone also clocking a time of 27:25!
Let us know if you have an interesting parkrun story or photo to share.
parkrunner of the week
Number of parkruns: 140
Favourite volunteer role: Pre-event set up
What do you do at parkruns: I run both the junior and 5k parkruns (I've run 100 junior parkruns and 40 Saturday parkruns). Before junior parkruns I set up the course with my Mum and Dad, putting out cones and arrows. I then help with the pre-run warm-up. I sometimes help hand out finish tokens at the end of 5k parkruns. When I have finished running the junior parkrun I always go back onto the course to run in with my younger cousin.
How has parkrun changed your running: parkrun has made me fitter and I can almost beat my Dad!
What do you like about parkrun: I've made lots of friends at junior parkrun which is great. I also like visiting other parkruns whenever we can (we visited Aberystwyth junior parkrun while we were on holiday and have been to lots of other Saturday parkruns) and I love meeting other parkrunners.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment?: My most memorable moment was visiting Bushy parkrun and being amongst more than 1,000 other runners. I really enjoyed that. And they have giant cookies in the café afterwards!