welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s newsletter Vitality Health search for more faces, Elaine Omand is happy to be patient, we alert you to possible cancellations and I look forward to my favourite parkrunday of the year.
This time next week it will be my favourite parkrunday of the year… Christmas parkrunday. Our first ever Christmas Day event was, unsurprisingly, at Bushy Park in 2004 when December the 25th also, rather fortunately, fell on a Saturday. That day there were 26 runners who between them now boast a massive 3,185 parkrun finishes, an average of 122 per person. I do admit however that it took me a while to come round to the idea and in the first few years of Leeds parkrun we opted not to put on an event. However, as Saturday the 25th of December 2010 rolled closer and closer the question changed from ‘are we going to put on an extra event on Christmas Day’ to ‘are we going to cancel our regular event, which just happens to be on Christmas Day’, which is a whole different kettle of fish.
That day on Woodhouse Moor was extra special as it was also a white Christmas and as I stood back as a volunteer marshal and watched everyone running round it rapidly dawned on me that this was the ultimate day for a parkrun. People can be a little funny when you say you’re going to do exercise on Christmas Day, although I’ve never quite understood why doing something you love, on a day you love, is such a crazy thing? Chuck parkrun in the mix and we can now do something we love, on a day we love, with people we love, who also love doing it… surely that’s the definition of a no brainer? There are of course many perfectly valid and wonderful reasons why event teams may not be putting on a Christmas Day event but last year we saw 12,231 UK parkrunners (runners and volunteers) start the day in style and so far this year we have 125 of our events confirmed as taking place a week today. To find out details of locations and start times please see our Christmas Compendium and note that despite varied start times we will only recognise one parkrun finish per person that day. Doubles are allowed on New Year’s Day, but that’s another newsletter.
The big question of course is do you open presents before or after parkrun?
Finally, I’d just like to say a massive thank you to all the event teams who have recently taken the difficult decision to cancel their events due to icy conditions. I’ve been in that position myself many times and understand just how hard it is to balance an amazing passion and enthusiasm for putting the run on with the sensible decision of going for a coffee instead and coming back next week. Ultimately it will always be the Run Director’s decision on the morning of the run and if that means calling things off at 9am with everyone raring to go then so be it. It’s only a run. I’d also like to thank the runners who have been brilliantly understanding, I even heard a recent story of a round of applause breaking out in support of a Run Director who had made that difficult last-minute call. Thank you.
There is of course one more newsletter before Christmas, but that’s likely to be short, sweet, to the point and written well in advance.
P.S. You can read this week’s junior parkrun newsletter here.
Faces of Vitality Brighton Half Marathon
Our ‘Faces of Vitality Brighton Half Marathon’, Sophy and Rhys, are now underway with their training and looking forward to the challenge ahead;
“The training needs to step up a gear as the half marathon seems like a very long way in distance but not in time. I have decided to run with Tonbridge Running Club twice a week in the hope they can build up my stamina.” - Sophy
“It’s been an exciting week to say the least. Knowing I’ll be running the Vitality Brighton Half Marathon in less than three months time certainly helped me into my running shoes after several long days at work.” - Rhys
Do you want to achieve a half marathon goal?
We are now recruiting ‘Faces of Vitality Run Series’ for our March events:
- Vitality Bath Half Marathon – 1st March 2015
- Vitality North London Half Marathon – 15th March 2015
- Vitality Reading Half Marathon – 22nd March 2015
- Vitality Liverpool Half Marathon – 29th March 2015
Similar to our previous Faces, Vitality will be giving winners a helping hand along their training journey with:
- Ongoing training support from running expert Martin Yelling
- A spot at a Laureus training day, held in the area of your chosen run
- A GPS running device to track your progress
- £50 Sweatshop voucher for new trainers
- A full Vitality Run Series kit
- Free entry into the Vitality Run Series event of choice
In return, Vitality will follow you through a weekly blog and photography updates provided by yourself on a weekly basis. You may even get some coverage in your local newspaper! We want to share your story to inspire others to step up to the challenge.
How to enter
Tell us why you should become a Face of the Vitality Run Series March event by emailing us at
email@example.com by midday on Sunday the 28th of December. For your best chance to win, make sure you are from the area local to your chosen run and send us a descriptive and motivating entry (maximum 250 words). Please also include your parkrun Athlete ID and the best form of contact, including a valid telephone number. Winners will be announced on Thursday the 8th of January 2015. Terms and conditions apply.
We all love parkrun but sometimes we do have to cancel events for various reasons as this frequently asked question Do you run every week and all year round? explains.
Please check the news page and/or the social media channels of the event you plan to travel to on parkrunday for the most up-to-date information.
Here are this week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK (including junior parkrun)
Number of runners - 36,113
Number of volunteers - 4,367
Number of first timers - 3,508
Number of PBs - 5,240
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 have just completed the ‘Welsh 10’ challenge I set myself back in October to complete all parkruns in Wales in consecutive weeks. Originally ‘The Welsh 9’, then Penrhyn started, so plans were hastily changed and a new t-shirt printed. I want to say a huge thanks and hello back to the runners who said hi and enquired about the challenge. It was a real boost to feel welcomed by runners and marshals everywhere and I'm sure I piqued their interest on branching out from their local events. I recommend it. The most common question was "Which run is the best?" They are all beautiful locations, including castles, coast, rivers, lakes and forests. I just can't choose.
Hi parkrun UK
I just wanted to say thank you parkrun for helping me endure chemotherapy. I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and had to stop running briefly following surgery. I am now halfway through five months of chemotherapy and I have been able to do some parkruns and some volunteering and it’s the highlight of my week. Chemotherapy can make you very tired but if you are active then bizarrely you feel less tired and running has certainly helped me. Hair loss after chemo also gives you a bald and cold head - hats are essential!
Sorrel Langley Hobbs
Hi parkrun UK
I would like to thank once again the volunteers at Ecos parkrun. Every week, without fail they provide a volunteer to accompany me around the course. I don’t run it but they enable me to take part. They are really adaptable as sometimes I don’t bring my guide dog (because she is fond of her bed) and someone guides me by allowing me to take their elbow alerting me to any kerbs or changes in surface. My blindness is not an issue. I have done 30 parkruns and all the parkruns I've been to have made me feel included.
Hi parkrun UK
At Bushy parkrun last weekend, and at Beeston, Abingdon and Poole parkruns, a group of 24 people ran in the brightest t-shirts imaginable to remember their dear friend Simon who lost his battle to cancer earlier that week. Each runner was given a target time to aim for, taken from one of Simon's previous 47 parkruns. It was a great way for the group to laugh, remember and spend some time together after such a tough week. Some even hit PBs and SBs, whilst others ran with a smile knowing that Simon was in their shadow pacing them along. Thank you to the parkrun community who once again unintentionally produced a magical moment. In memory of our friend Simon Blease. PB - 20:50.
Hi parkrun UK
What's at the end of a rainbow? The volunteers at Tamar Lakes braving the hail!
Hi parkrun UK
On finding myself with a few days to take at short notice, I stopped short of sticking a pin in a map, and located the parkrun events map. Inspired, I visited Gdansk and Krakow for a few days, both of which were lovely... and I just happened to wander to the local park for 9am on two successive Saturdays for a run around the park. A little further afield than my local Cannon Hill but just as pleasant. Thank you parkrun!
Hi parkrun UK
I regularly run at Swindon parkrun with my brother, Nick. He is a dedicated parkrunner and volunteer. For his 30th birthday I included an edible parkrun barcode on his birthday cake, alongside his other hobby, football. It represents what has become an anticipated and much enjoyed moment of his week. Inspired, this week our mum joined us too.
Hi parkrun UK
I live in the Cayman Islands and ran my first parkrun two weeks ago at Hampstead Heath parkrun with my daughter who lives in London. I think parkrun is a marvellous concept and the organisers and volunteers cannot be thanked enough for making these runs available to all. I can't wait to do my next run when I'm over in January as I was so impressed with the seamless organisation and the same day results for all participants. I am just turning 70 years old now and have advanced cancer, but you give me marvellous motivation to carry on my running with such a wonderful cross section of the local community.
Hi parkrun UK
I would like to put a massive thank you shout out to all the runners and team behind Conkers parkrun. On Saturday I completed my 100th parkrun all of which have been at this fantastic event. Four of us timed our centuries on the same day so from me thank you to parkrun and especially Conkers parkrun for changing Saturday mornings forever.
parkrunner of the week
If you’d like to nominate someone to be the parkrunner of the week then please get them to fill out this handy online form - you can even apply yourself!
Name: Keira Jones
Club: Hyde Park Harriers
Home parkrun: Leeds
Number of runs: 18 and six junior parkruns
Favourite volunteer role: I haven't volunteered
What do you do at parkruns: I started running parkrun when I was nine and I did my first one in April. I have now done 15 parkruns and nine of those were PBs. My latest PB was last week and was 11 minutes faster than my first. I was over the moon! I'm only about a minute behind my Dad and he runs loads more than me! I've also done four junior parkruns at Temple Newsam, where I’m often fastest in my age group.
How has parkrun changed your running: I just seem to keep getting faster. Hopefully when I’m a bit older I can do more running, and now I’m a club runner I can do the junior races in big events if they have any.
What do you like about parkrun: I have started to really enjoy running, I know everyone at Leeds parkrun and they always cheer me on. If I'm not running I go and support everyone, especially the kids. It is great fun and I can’t wait to run at weekends.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: In my last run my Dad was pacing 25 minutes and I was ahead of him the whole way. He caught me up on the last hill and I got cross because he caught me and briefly stopped and nearly gave up (I may have shouted at him a bit) but I decided to sprint and I did and got to the end nearly a minute ahead with a huge one minute PB. Dad was so proud he bought me some new trail shoes so I can do the PECO XC races this year!