welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s newsletter Sweatshop offer more off, the Glasgow parkruns welcome the World, Mark Thompson requests a captive audience and I keep an eye out for Commonwealth Games parkrunners.
We all know that parkrun is a simple ‘run with friends' and that our primary objective is to support local communities who would like to get together every week and share in the joy of being active in areas of open space. However, being inclusive and accessible means the same if you’re struggling to break 14 minutes for 5km or 60 minutes for 5km. As I sit here writing this on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games I’m excited to see how the elite end of our sport tackle a distance that parkrunners have covered many millions of times.
Athletics Weekly wrote a great history of the women’s 3,000m and 5,000m at the Commonwealth Games that shows a couple of British parkrunners who’ve medalled over those two distances. Notably the great Paula Fudge who won Commonwealth Gold over 3,000m in 1978 and went on to set the World 5,000m record in 1981 with 15:14. Paula has completed 194 parkruns, mostly at Frimley Lodge. Looking back in time at the men’s 5,000m medallists no one can touch Paula’s near double century of parkruns but there is the equally great Dave Moorcroft who won gold over 5,000m in 1982 (running 13:33) and also broke the World 5,000m record in 1982 when he ran 13:00. Through his work with Join In Dave has been a huge supporter of parkrun, he originally registered with us in 2010 and once described his visit to Belfast’s Waterworks parkrun as "The best experience I have ever had of what it feels like to be in a community of runners”.
Bringing us back to Glasgow 2014 it was great to see Australian marathoners Marty Dent (who’s broken 15 minutes at seven different parkrun locations) and Melanie Panayiotou lining up at Newcastle parkrun (the UK version) on Saturday. On the same day, British marathoners Steve Way (46 parkrun finishes, all but two at Poole) and Aly Dixon (19 parkrun finishes, 14 at Sunderland) sharpened up for their Commonwealth Games efforts at Heaton parkrun. A couple of weeks ago we even welcomed Team Malawi to Cheltenham parkrun as three of their male athletes flew round the course before posing for photos with the volunteer team.
I’m sure there are many more parkrunners competing at Glasgow 2014 and perhaps later today Jodie Stimpson or one of the Brownlee brothers will become the first of those to medal. I’ve also no doubt that in years to come, thanks to our amazing juniors, we’ll see Commonwealth, World and Olympic medals taking pride of place next to parkrun 10, 50, 100, 250 and maybe even 500 Club shirts.
If you’re competing, spectating or volunteering at Glasgow 2014 then have a wonderful eleven days.
P.S. You can read this week’s junior parkrun newsletter here.
the Sweatshop Summer Sale
It’s the last chance for a bargain in the Sweatshop Summer Sale. From today until Sunday the 27th of July Sweatshop is offering an additional 10% off sale items instore and online to parkrunners nationwide. To claim your discount please bring your parkrun barcode into a store and present at the checkout.
To redeem online on visit sweatshop.co.uk to have 10% deducted from your sale purchases (reduced lines only, excluding delivery charges) enter the code LWSTPR at the checkout.
To find your nearest store visit sweatshop.co.uk/stores.
welcoming the World
One of the Worlds biggest multi-sport events is coming to Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, this week. The 20th Commonwealth Games are taking place right across the city, with many world famous athletes visiting and giving performances to inspire us all.
We thought we’d focus on the Commonwealth Games and parkrun’s part in it to give you a few things to look out for if you’re visiting the city, or simply watching events unfold on your sofa.
building a legacy
parkrun arrived in Glasgow in December 2008 with Pollok parkrun and from there parkrun quickly grew across Scotland with 14 active events right now. The core team at Pollok were always keen to see parkrun reach more people in Glasgow, so back in 2011 the team submitted a Games legacy proposal to help start and support two further parkrun events.
We’re delighted we now have a further three super volunteer teams, in Glasgow’s East End, at Tollcross Park, the West End at Victoria Park, and the third new event in the North at Springburn Park, and we’re ecstatic to see them going from strength to strength.
We hope it won’t stop there either. Glasgow’s known as the ‘dear green place’ after all and there are so many parks in and around the city that we’d love to see hosting parkruns. Hopefully some junior parkrun events too. So if you’re interested in getting involved, do please get in touch via this form and ask to be put in contact with our Glasgow area Ambassadors, or speak to any of our event teams.
people make Glasgow and people make parkrun
“Run anywhere in Glasgow just now and you’ll see the city’s official, bright-pink marketing slogan ‘People make Glasgow’ splashed around. As parkrunners know, people also make parkrun, especially the volunteers.
By way of example Glasgow’s Victoria parkrun volunteers include many stalwarts whose generosity and dedication are greatly valued. Among them are five deserving of particular acknowledgement - Heather Benham, Andrew Gallacher, Katie McCabe, Katie MacIver and Jonathan McMillan. Our fabulous five are secondary school pupils from North and West Glasgow working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Awards, and their commitment and enthusiasm regularly regale our roster.
It’s not merely to fulfil the volunteering section of their awards that they stand in a park wearing a hi-vis jacket, marshalling, barcode scanning or distributing finish tokens first thing on a Saturday morning, they do it genuinely “because it’s fun” and because it’s “great to help organise something which other people enjoy”. Could there be any better inspiration to volunteer at parkrun?”
From Nicky Imrie, Run Director at Victoria parkrun, Glasgow
...and beyond Glasgow
There’s lots of excitement about the Games across Scotland, from parkrunners particularly. Last week we heard about Inverness parkrun’s Baton relay welcome. Last week Falkirk parkrun’s 3rd anniversary event had a Commonwealth theme, with many participants bedecked in the colours of the competing nations and the park was adorned with the flags of the Commonwealth countries.
check before you travel
Glasgow is excited to be welcoming tens of thousands of people and the city hopes lots of you will find a way to include parkrun during your travels. Whilst some Glasgow parkrun events (Tollcross, and nearby Strathclyde parkrun) are cancelled, we’d really love to see you along at Springburn, Victoria or Pollok parkrun, or a short trip on the train could quickly get you to nearby Falkirk or Greenock.
There are plenty of resources available for visitors to Glasgow, so be sure to plan your trip - glasgow2014.com/your-games/travel-and-transport.
We’ve also got a special page for Glasgow area parkrun events at parkrun.org.uk/glasgow - stay tuned to their news pages for updates throughout the Commonwealth Games.
Here’s to a great occasion!
Here are this week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK:
Number of runners - 39,628
Number of volunteers - 3,930
Number of first timers - 5,703
Number of PBs - 6,660
Please check your event's news pages for the most up to date information.
Cancellations this weekend:
- Colchester Castle parkrun due to another event taking place in the park.
- Forest Rec parkrun due to another event taking place in the park.
- Sheffield Hallam parkrun due to the Tramlines Festival.
- Stewart parkrun due to the Cleveland Show taking place in the park.
- Strathclyde parkrun due to the Commonwealth Games.
- Tollcross parkrun due to the Commonwealth Games.
- York parkrun due to Race Day.
- Stirling junior parkrun due to another event taking place in the park.
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
My training at Pollok parkrun in Glasgow helped with my strenuous (ahem) 200 metre jog with the Queen's Baton! It was handed to me by none other than John Barrowman at Greenbank House in East Renfrewshire. What fun we all had, with a pipe band too! Thought I’d share the joy from the Glasgow (friendly) Games. Looking forward to all the sport!
Hi parkrun UK
In March I was feeling tired and generally low. I had been spending all my time juggling the needs of my family and my job and not made any time for myself. I knew I needed to get some exercise and when parkrun started at Parke, near Bovey Tracey, there were no excuses. The first run was tough but I managed to improve my time over the following weeks. Then my son Jacob, aged seven, started running with me and it has been fantastic running together. The whole family has now got involved either supporting or marshalling. I feel fitter, have lost almost 25 lbs in weight and am much happier. I have caught the running bug again and have entered the Great West Run. Thank you parkrun!
Hi parkrun UK
Today I completed my 50th parkrun at Gorleston Cliffs, which is my home run. My life has changed so much since my first run back in May of 2013. I turned up on my own, not knowing anyone, and didn’t manage to run the full 5km. Since then I have lost over four stone in weight, my parkrun time has improved by nearly 14 minutes and this past Saturday I managed to get a new PB of sub-25 which I have been trying to do for months! I have so many new amazing running friends and Saturdays would not be the same without parkrun in my life. Who would have thought I would be doing the Great North Run in September? Thank you!
Hi parkrun UK
On Saturday the 19th of July our Event Director Colin Robson ran South Shields parkrun before getting married to Samantha Rodgers. Colin was a good sport, allowing the parkrun team to dress him up in a wedding dress to run the 5km and Tommy Copp, a regular parkrunner, dressed as groom as they ran together. It was such a fun morning and something different. It was lovely to see the sense of community in our parkrun family, everyone turning out in force to be part of the event where Colin ran dressed as a bride. Feedback was very positive with lots of regular and first timers saying how much fun they had. Another fun morning at South Shields parkrun! Congratulations Colin and Sam!
Hi parkrun UK
On Saturday my fiance, Iain Wear, was ecstatic as I had just completed my first ever parkrun at Woodley! We're getting married on the 9th of August and to ensure that I fitted into my wedding dress I took a decision in May to increase my exercise by following the NHS’s Couch to 5km plan. This finished on the 30th of June, so with a few 5k runs under my belt the 19th of July became the chosen date to do my first ever parkrun. The day started off quite soggy but everyone was so lovely and encouraging and I'm happy to say that I made it round in one piece! Well done to everyone that parkruns.
Hi parkrun UK
Thank you so much to all the volunteers at Oldham parkrun on Saturday the 12th of July. It was my first time at a parkrun and I had a blast. It was really hard halfway round but with the enthusiasm of the volunteers I was spurred on to finish. Brilliant and thank you again!
Hi parkrun UK
I was introduced to parkrun when a friend told me there was going to be a new event at Watergrove Reservoir, north of Rochdale. I am so glad that I went to their first (and very wet) run. I have managed to attend six out of their first seven events and have enjoyed every one of them. Each week the volunteers do a great job, even making sure the sheep don't wander onto the course! I speak to somebody new each week and catch up with running acquaintances from previous weeks. Watergrove is a small and friendly parkrun set in great surroundings.
parkrunner of the week
Name: Mark Davies
Home parkrun: Springburn
Occupation: Taxi Driver
Number of runs: 16
Favourite volunteer role: Tail runner
What do you do at parkruns: I tail run at Springburn mainly because I’m the final finisher anyway so may as well free everybody else up to go for PBs.
How has parkrun changed your running: Before parkrun I had a unique running style which I called ‘couch potato’ style. Last year I dipped my toe in the parkrun at Strathclyde but having a wee one and it being 15 miles away I stopped going. Then when Springburn parkrun started I had an event within a mile of my house and I'm now hooked, even to the point where this once couch potato is starting to run midweek 'for fun'.
What do you like about parkrun: I love the camaraderie, the encouragement you get whether you're sub-20 or over 40 minutes, nobody looks down on you and by 10:30am you have that satisfied Saturday morning workout feeling! Also I love the fact the next two weeks I'm in Perth and Bolton and I can still do a parkrun.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: Doing Cardiff parkrun last year whilst on my brothers stag do, to say I've felt better is probably an understatement!