welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s newsletter PruHealth with Vitality follow their Faces, Manchester Met Uni are after masters and I share some very interesting stats.
This week I thought I’d bring you up to speed with some of our stats, I do like a good number and although I’m conscious they’re not everyone’s cup of tea I imagine that if you’re reading this newsletter you’re a reasonably dedicated parkrunner.
So, having started back at Bushy Park on Saturday the 2nd of October 2004 we now have 284 x 5k events and 22 x 2k junior events in the UK. Across the World there are another 166 weekly 5k events across nine countries... Australia, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Africa, the USA and Singapore.
In the UK we have 820,149 different people registered to run with us of which 401,789 (49%) are women and 418,360 (51%) are men. Around the World there are another 322,843 registered parkrunners, interestingly 56% of our non-UK registrations are female.
On the most recent Saturday in the UK we saw 48,103 people cross a 5k finish line and another wonderful 1,077 juniors follow suit on the Sunday. Adding the global figures to that, 20,670 people took part in a non-UK parkrun, giving us a grand total of 69,850 runners.
There have of course been many amazing achievements by individuals, far too many to list here. However, our most runningest (is that a word?) male runner is Darren Wood who has completed 465 parkruns and our most runningest (it is now) female runner is Kirsty Bangham who has completed 359 parkruns. We have also seen the rise of parkrun tourism, amazingly Paul Freyne has taken part at 203 different locations and Louise Ayling 125 different locations!
Globally we passed quietly through six million completed runs on Saturday, of which 4.8 million have been in the UK across 32,482 events!
Looking forward I would have thought that we will be seeing in excess of 80,000 weekly runners before the end of this year and I see from the UK diary that we have another 18 locations with confirmed start dates, half of which are junior events. Globally there are another 27 ready to go! In the UK we’re seeing over 1,000 new registrations per day and that almost doubles when you add the rest of the World.
Although I don’t think any of us ever foresaw the level of growth we’re seeing right now we have always known that the challenge isn’t simply to grow, it’s to grow within the spirit, ethos and principles of parkrun. We are, and always will be free, weekly, timed runs with our friends, in areas of open space. We will always be as inclusive and accessible as possible and welcome anyone who simply wants to be part of a wonderful family. We are parkrun.
P.S. You can read this week’s junior parkrun newsletter here.
Faces of Vitality Oxford Half Marathon
This week marks the beginning of eight weeks of training for our Faces of Vitality Oxford Half Marathon! Simon and Frances are both kitted up ready for the half marathon challenge ahead and have their personalised training plans ready to go.
What’s their goal?
“My target for all races is firstly to run a ‘good’ race; where I enjoy it, feel I've run well and maybe get a few ‘scalps’ from my fellow club runners” - Simon
“My goal would be to do it in under 2 hours 30 minutes, however just achieving a half marathon would be a fantastic achievement for me!” - Frances
We will be following both Frances and Simon on their journey to completing the 21.1k run through weekly blogs and video/photography updates. Check out their running profiles here. Best of luck for week one Simon and Frances!
Do you want to achieve a half marathon goal?
There’s still time to enter the Vitality Oxford Half Marathon! Make sure you don’t miss out and register today.
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 six remaining races in the Series. Find out more at vitality.co.uk.
looking for master athletes
Manchester Metropolitan University are conducting a nationwide study into bone health in master athletes. The formal name of the study is known “VIBE” (Vertical Impact on Bone in the Elderly).
The aim is to have an understanding of physical activity patterns in older athletes and the effects of regular exercise on muscle and bone health. The study requires around 300 master athletes over the age of 60 years. Volunteers must have been competing at regional standard in sprint/middle/long distance running in the past 12 months.
What would you need to do?
All that is asked is that you simply wear a monitor for a week and then return it via a freepost facility. The study is being managed by former European Cross Country Champion Jessica Coulson who has competed numerous times for Great Britain at both track and cross country championships. Jess has suffered numerous issues with bone health during her career including a career-saving operation to unite a fractured bone in her foot and therefore has a real passion to improve bone health for others in anyway possible.
parkrun has established an encouraging attitude towards the positive effects of physical activity. The Manchester Metropolitan research team share such an attitude and have teamed up to try and recruit as many people to partake in the study as possible to help contribute to a better physically active nation.
If you would like to support the research and get involved please contact Jess at firstname.lastname@example.org and she can supply more details. Alternatively find more info at www.healthresearch.mmu.ac.uk/master-athlete.
Here are this week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK:
Number of runners - 49,180
Number of volunteers - 4,078
Number of first timers - 8,459
Number of PBs - 11,290
Please check your event's news pages for the most up to date information.
Cancellations this weekend:
- Blickling parkrun due to another event taking place in the park.
- Harrow Lodge parkrun due to the Havering Show.
- Osterley parkrun due to another event taking place in the park.
- York parkrun due to Race Day.
- Brockwell Juniors parkrun due to another event taking place in the park.
- Harrow Lodge Juniors parkrun due to the Havering Show.
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
On behalf of Falkirk parkrun I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Karen Kilpatrick, outgoing Event Director. Karen, more affectionately known as JK, was a driving force in getting the event up and running and for the last three years has presided as a thriving community developed at Callendar Park. JK, or Mum as we often called her, helped foster a family spirit at Callendar Park, spreading images of putting the core team to bed early at parkrun mansions so the team would be ready for the runners to arrive. JK truly made her mark in this part of Scotland and we would all like to thank her for her endeavours and for what she has given us. Thanks Mum!
Graeme 'Spikey' Lawson
Hi parkrun UK
Two years, two heart attacks, a heart bypass and 50 parkruns later and today I ran my first full 5k ever. No breaks, no walking. Thank you so much to Karen Gillies, Mary Mitchell, Morgan Middleton, Jacqui McDonald, Malcolm Mactavish, Rosemary Lee, Carole Fraser, Ruth Letham, Elaine Carstairs, Lorna Scotland, Lorna Hughes and Pippa the dog who ran with me giving me huge support all the way. Thank you also to all the volunteers at St Andrews parkrun but most of all thank you to parkrun for giving me this challenge, opportunity and creating a whole new family that supports each other. Keep up the good work.
Hi parkrun UK
You must get so many of these emails but I just want to thank all of those at Rother Valley parkrun today who helped and welcomed me as I broadened my parkrun horizons beyond Scotland! Thanks especially to Pete Flynn via Twitter, Dave Elsom who got me there, Andy Charles who listened to my wittering and fellow tourists from Clumber Park parkrun, Karen and Darren O'Connor, who kindly saved my legs and dropped me back at my rendezvous with the family so we could drive home to Scotland! Sadly I didn't meet Andrew Roscamp, family friend of my lovely wife, nor did I manage coffee and cake... this time! All this and a PB too, I'm a happy parkrunner! Thanks!
Hi parkrun UK
My friend Jess Harris Hooton and I went to our first parkrun event on the 9th of August at Frimley Lodge. We just wanted to say what a fantastic time we had. Jess and I are working our way through a Couch to 5k programme. We thought we'd give it a go. Everyone was so friendly and really encouraged us at the start and around the course. We are attempting the course again in a few weeks and are already looking forward to it. Thanks to everyone for making us feel welcome. PB's all the way for us!
Hi parkrun UK
Finding parkrun has really changed me. I have made loads of friends, have really built my self-confidence and changed my lifestyle. When I started running with Couch to 5k I ran in the evening around a lake where no one would see me. Then I mustered the courage to try a parkrun and I wondered why I hadn't done it sooner! Since then I have also joined a bootcamp, lost three stone, ran races and registered for a half marathon. All this seemed impossible a year ago and I never dreamed I would look forward to ‘parkrunday’ as I do now. I have since encouraged several of my friends and family. Thank you so much for choosing me as a Sweatshop Monthly Prize winner for Woodley parkrun too.
Hi parkrun UK
Thanks to all the volunteers that make this possible every week! If you're thinking of helping out give it a go! It's a rewarding way to get involved for runners and non-runners alike. With some of the usual Keswick parkrun volunteers away on holiday I was tail runner for my fifth parkrun and posted my slowest time yet. I had a great time helping out at the back with a junior runner and their parent. There was skipping, singing, ‘troll hunting' at the bridge and talking about what the family had done on their holiday. I have an even better appreciation of this role to bring all the runners back safely and help make it an enjoyable run for all.
Hi parkrun UK
A group of King’s Lynn parkrunners recently travelled across to France to take part in an iconic 10 mile run along what had been the front line during the Battle of the Somme. The battle, which became infamous for the enormous loss of life for very little gain, commenced on the 1st of July in 1916 and the run, which it is hoped will become an annual event, was organised to commemorate the start of the battle. The run took place between the villages of Gommecourt and Thiepval where the group laid a wreath on behalf of King's Lynn parkrun at this magnificent memorial. The memorial contains the names of 72,195 people who died in the fighting but have no known grave.
Hi parkrun UK
In January I began running at Peterborough parkrun, PB's became frequent and like many runners it was me against the clock. In June my father suffered a heart attack and I travelled to Middlesbrough to support the family whilst he was assessed, which resulted in a bypass operation. Over nine weekends I visited numerous times but always committed to getting a run in and during this period I travelled over 1700 miles. In addition to local runs in the Middlesbrough area I visited Forest Rec whilst on a stag do, visited Colwick during an England Cricket Test, Tees Barrage after my sisters wedding and Newark enroute! My father is now doing well and I'm looking forward to beating my PB at Peterborough!
Hi parkrun UK
May I say a massive thankyou to eight of the parkruns in the Manchester area: Woodbank, Cheadle Hulme, Bramhall, Burnage, Wythenshawe, South Manchester, Worsley Woods and Heaton Park. As part of some charity fundraising I undertook a tour of these locations on the 9th of August with my good friend Sam Nightingale (former Sunderland parkrun Event Director) plus two Chorlton Runners, Leona Beaumont and Lorraine Pang. Later Karl Downing, Jason Ridgeway, Oliver Nightingale, Gazz Pashley and Neil Grice joined us too. Each parkrun venue gave us the friendliest and most amazing welcome. It was a long 13 hours with tired bodies but minds filled with great happiness and pleasure, creating such a memorable experience that only a running community such as parkrun can.
parkrunner of the week
Name: Hannah Fisher
Club: Ryston Runners
Home parkrun: King's Lynn
Number of runs: 12
Favourite volunteer role: Barcode scanner
What do you do at parkruns: I get there at about 8:45am ready for a warm up with my Mum, have a chat to friends until the run briefing and then wander down to the start with everyone else. After the run I join everyone else who's finished for a chat, sometimes have a hot chocolate at the café and then go home ready to carry on with my day feeling fab after a great run!
How has parkrun changed your running: It got me running! Before parkrun I never ran at all and now I do, albeit slowly. I'd been volunteering every week for a while, thinking I could never run because I was so unfit that it hurt my chest, then I found out the pain was asthma and I've been parkrunning ever since now I have my inhaler!
What do you like about parkrun: I love how there is such a great mixture of people! There are amazingly quick runners and then me plus the other runners at the back but we are all there to compete against ourselves and we are all encouraged equally by each other! When I finish the front runners are there to congratulate me with their coffees already half drunk and they are just as proud of me at over 36 minutes as they are of someone else who runs sub-20, that is amazing!
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: It has to be when I got my last PB! A really good runner from Ryston Runners called Lorena ran with me for my final lap, and as we were going up the finishing straight she was shouting at me to “sprint now, breathe later!” It was brilliant and it definitely worked, thanks Lorena!