welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s newsletter Fitbit have an exclusive parkrun offer on their new Blaze, Alzheimer’s Research UK announce their cheer points for the London Marathon, Intersport welcome parkrun to Guernsey, and Tom reviews the week…
It’s certainly been one of the more interesting weeks in the life of parkrun! We’ve learned so much about so many things that I barely know where to start this leader column; we’ve got lots of friends, we’ve amazing relationships with councils and landowners across the UK, people really really love us, we actually are making the world a healthier and happier place, but unfortunately, not everyone gets us.
When a group of volunteers started Little Stoke parkrun in 2012 I don’t imagine they thought they’d end up live on BBC Breakfast, in front of the nation, being challenged to justify their right to run in the park. They needn’t have worried though and as Becky Bushnell (co-Event Director) and then, an hour later, Geoff Keogh (local Ambassador) represented the parkrun family in front of the biggest audience it’s ever seen, they excelled and made us all proud. Really, really proud. Throughout this entire situation Becky, Geoff, Clare Jubb (co-Event Director) and all the other members of the Little Stoke parkrun community have acted with dignity, respect and professionalism. It’s been an honour to support them.
Also, the support we’ve received from outside of parkrun has been amazing and our position as the country’s most successful provider of free physical activity has been both highlighted and strengthened. Our growth continues unabated. 14,000 new people have joined parkrun UK in the past seven days, and with 487 UK events today we expect to join our very own just-made-up 500-event club sometime next month. It’s been wonderful to see parkrun championed by government, athletics governing bodies, national and local media, Sport England, local councils the length and breadth of the country, Olympic legends… and even Ben Fogle (most re-tweeted by the way). Thank you to everyone who’s stood beside Little Stoke parkrun during their hour of need.
When our founder, Paul Sinton-Hewitt, was interviewed on Channel 5 News he explained that really we all want the same thing, for our parks and open spaces to be there forever, for everyone. Just like parkrun. Unfortunately, what some people seem to miss is that we are about so much more than a run in the park. Perhaps no-one demonstrated that better than Giles Coren (listen here if you fancy a laugh), and our objective here should be to help people understand what we’re really about and, in turn, the value that our events deliver to local communities all around the world.
So this weekend we’d love you to share images encapsulating what parkrun means to you and your community and to use the hashtags #loveparkrun and #lovelittlestoke. Perhaps by sharing the parkrun love far and wide we’ll help a few more people to see the light.
Chief Operating Officer
P.S. Please remember that Little Stoke parkrun is cancelled this weekend. The best way to show your support for them is to share what parkun means to you and include the hashtag #lovelittlestoke
parkrun exclusive Fitbit offer
Get fit in style with Fitbit Blaze with its colourful screen and strap collection, and most of the functions offered by the existing Fitbit range.
– A smart fitness watch designed to help you maximise every workout and every day with revolutionary features including PurePulseTM heart rate, Connected GPS, on-screen workouts from Fitstar, smartphone notifications and more
– You can see your heart rate right on your wrist, there's no need to wear a heart rate chest strap
– Blaze measures and monitors your sleep patterns, noting when you're properly asleep, awake or merely restless
– Fitbit Blaze, has a choice of Classic strap size (S, L, XL) and colour straps from £19.99 available from the Fitbit store. These straps are interchangeable, so you can change the tracker to suit your mood, outfit or activity
– You can also set ‘silent’ alarms that gently buzz you awake at set times, without waking your partner
– You can control your smartphone's music playlist (including apps like Spotify, Apple Music, and podcasts) using Music Control, even during workouts.
Buy your Fitbit Blaze now and take advantage of the exclusive parkrun offer HERE.
cheer points at the London Marathon
Any supporters wishing to join us are very welcome. The first point is in Bermondsey close to the Gregorian Arms pub. The postcode is SE16 4SQ.
The other location is at the ‘parkrun to go point’ (5k from the finish) near to Pret a Manger at Monument (London Bridge). The cheer point will be on Lower Thames Street. Both locations should be a sea of ARUK orange and parkrun apricot so please come and find us to help cheer on Paul Sinton-Hewitt and the rest of #TeamARUK.
It will be a great opportunity for both Alzheimer’s Research UK and parkrun to meet the friends and family of our dedicated runners and show what a huge presence we have as a partnership.
We hope all of you taking part are looking forward to the day and training is going well. We can’t thank those raising money for us enough, you’re making a huge difference in the fightback against dementia.
If you wish to donate to Paul Sinton-Hewitt’s run go to his fundraising page.
Thank you, and good luck to everyone running. See you on 24 April!
welcome, Guernsey parkrun!
Not wanting to miss out on the fun, and keen to support the locals in their new weekly parkrun, our local Intersport store was involved from the start.
Thank you to the Run Directors, volunteers and runners who together made the first Guernsey parkrun a wonderful experience – it’s a fantastic new addition to the Guernsey sports scene and we’re looking forward to seeing the event grow!
See you at your next parkrun.
The Vitality Westminster Mile takes place on 29 May this year and once again we are invited to run in our very own wave. It’s a fantastic family day out and is open to people of all ages, abilities, shapes and sizes - sounds familiar! Places in the parkrun wave are strictly limited to 450, so sign up now and join us on The Mall.
Here are this week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK (including junior parkrun)
Number of parkrunners – 86,779
Number of volunteers – 8,453
Number of first timers – 6,663
Number of PBs – 14,779
random stat of the week
There have been more than 125,000 volunteering occasions from those aged 60 or over at UK parkrun events. This is a 13% share of all UK volunteering, which is more than double their share of total running.
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
I did my 40th parkrun, my first at Wyre Forest, whilst visiting my parents in Stourbridge. It was a very wet morning but I couldn't persuade my parents that watching in the rain would be no fun! How wrong was I? It was a lovely scenic run for me and my father (who has dementia) absolutely loved it so I was glad I had made the effort to take him along. Sadly, he had a stroke recently, so at this moment, we are not sure what his future holds, but I aim to get him there again in warmer weather and maybe do some of the course in a wheelchair. Thank you parkrun for giving us this memory!
On a recent tour to Moscow with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, we discovered that not only did we have a free Saturday morning, but that there is a parkrun in Gorky Park, probably the most famous park in Russia. So on 2 April, 10 musicians – some of us regular parkrunners, others parkrun first-timers – headed to Gorky Park and found ourselves joining in the celebrations of their 100th event. We all enjoyed the run, a simple out and back along the river with a few mild inclines, and several PBs were achieved. What a great notch for a parkrun tourist, but most of all, we were struck by the warm and friendly welcome we received - language differences aside, it felt just like home.
I would just like to say a massive thank you to the parkrun community for their support for Little Stoke parkrun over the last week. It has been truly incredible! The strength of feeling from far and wide just shows how much parkrun means to all of us. I would also like to publically thank our core team at Little Stoke parkrun, especially Becky Bushnell, Clare Jubb and Martin Dunne. I would also like to thank parkrun ambassador Geoff Keogh, and Brian Gardener from South Gloucestershire council. Finally, thank you to the team at parkrun HQ, in know you have been doing a lot of work behind the scenes for us. Thank you all for representing parkrun in such a positive way.
My sisters and I are regular runners at four different parkruns around the country - Bangor, Northern Ireland; Roundhay, Leeds; Northallerton, North Yorkshire; and Riddlesdown, Croydon. We (finally) ran a parkrun together for the first time at Roundhay Park in March and had a great time - thanks to all at Roundhay!
I'd just like to say thank you for all the support I receive from Bolton parkrun. In 2011 I suffered a traumatic brain injury and was told that I'd be in a wheelchair before I was 20 but I'm now 24, and last Saturday I ran my 40th parkrun. I have just recently celebrated the 5th anniversary of my TBI at parkrun with some cake and a t-shirt which were both created by the wonderful volunteer Emma, and I have gained a lot of confidence, self-esteem, friends and so much more. I honestly couldn't ask for a better parkrun family than I have, and I'm always excited to get there early, help set up and then take part in the parkrun.
When on 26 March 2014 my little son was born with severe complications that led him to fighting for his life, I found myself lost and isolated in a world of uncertainty about the prospect of a life bringing up a disabled child with cerebral palsy. I attended Banstead Woods for just my fouth parkrun in two years vowing to start running properly as my personal therapy to deal with the challenges that were to come. How fitting it was then, that on 26 March 2016 I ran my 100th parkrun on the same day as Joe's 2nd birthday. Thank you to everyone at the ‘Wonderful’ Banstead Woods that have welcomed me and since become my friends in the past two years.
I have spent the last seven weeks in Salford Royal seriously ill, including induced coma, put on a ventilator and given a tracheostomy. My saviors have been my family and friends, and the nursing staff whom been unbelievably amazing. I've lost nearly five stone, the majority of my muscles mass in my legs and glutes, devastating for a guy who cycles, parkruns, plays squash and badminton weekly, who was described as solid and chunky. It’s going to be a hard slog to reach my former self and will start with my return to the Worsley Woods parkrun the encouragement from everyone there especially Carol, After the above situation I will take it easy volunteering for tail runner or just seeing how far I can go.
Last Saturday was my five year parkrun anniversary and it's all my friend Nigel's fault. It was his 50th birthday and the promise of beer that coaxed a fat unwilling me to run a 23:45 that fateful morning. I didn't beat him to get the promised beer, but I was hooked. 143 parkruns, 32lbs lost and multiple other races later, I qualified for London Marathon 2017 with a good-for-age time at the Greater Manchester Marathon yesterday. Thanks to parkrun (and Nigel) for putting me on this path. Cheers!
Ian Thompson (Basingstoke parkrun regular)
I did my first ever parkrun at Wallace park nearly three years ago. Last Saturday, I completed my 100th. parkrun has given me a routine for my running (Saturday doesn't feel right if I'm not at parkrun - running or volunteering). Three years later I have lots of parkrun friends and I am a member of Jog Lisburn Running Club. I was never a runner before parkrun, that has all changed. I regularly do 10k races and a few weeks ago I completed the North London Half Marathon. Thank you parkrun. This photo shows some members of Jog Lisburn Running Club who came to parkrun to support me doing my 100th parkrun.
I have just completed the Manchester Marathon (in 03:57:36!) thanks to the motivational words of the Bramhall parkrun run director. A while ago he announced to the crowd before the run began "A marathon is only eight parkruns! That's all it is! You can do it!". He inspired me and although I have not been able to consecutively attend parkruns over the years due to having three children, his words stayed with me and, on Sunday 10 April 2016, I completed my first marathon and raised £1,235 for Manchester Children’s Hospital. Thank you parkrun!
I ran my 55th parkrun of the year on Boxing Day 2015, the second successive year I have managed the maximum. With 52 Saturdays in the year and the chance to run an extra parkrun on Christmas Day, and two extra ones on New Year's Day, the maximum that can be run in a year is 55. Or so I thought. If 2 January falls on a Saturday in a leap year there are 53 Saturdays and it will still be possible to run two extra parkruns on New Year's Day, making a total of 56 parkruns in the year. 2nd January 2016 was a Saturday and it is a leap year, so it is possible to run 56 parkruns this year. By my calculations this opportunity will only come along every 28 years – the next time being 2044. I will be having a try and, if all goes well, will also run my 250th parkrun on 3 September.
parkrunner of the week
Name: James Davidson
Home parkrun: Enniskillen
Occupation: Full-time carer for disabled partner
Number of runs: 72
Favourite volunteer role: Marshal
What do you do at parkruns: I like to get there early, even earlier if I'm volunteering. I have a warm-up walk, usually with a parkrun buddy. I then spend time chatting to people I’ve got to know through parkrun. If I am marshalling in my favourite spot, I set off for my position before the run gets underway as the position is just past the halfway mark, and some of our front runners are mighty quick! Mind you, the walk to and from my position is through lovely countryside studded with some beautiful old trees.
How has parkrun changed your running: I progressed from walking, which I was doing to help manage my Type 2 diabetes, to running. I used to walk and see people running and feel really envious of their athleticism. I did a Couch to 5k course which culminated in taking part in the Enniskillen parkrun, and compared to the solo runs I do during the week, it’s such a nice social occasion. I do think that parkrun has really helped my motivation to run. It has also given me new friends whom I sometimes meet to run with during the week too.
What do you like about parkrun: Although I enjoy all aspects of parkrun, volunteering holds a special place. When I first volunteered, I was allowed to see the whole of parkrun: from first to last runner, all ages, body types and abilities (including the parkrun dogs and parkrun babies in buggies). Every last one of them striving for the same goal - to complete parkrun, all doing their personal best for that morning. I came away from my first volunteering experience with a real feel-good buzz and I still get that buzz every time I volunteer. It's quite addictive!
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: Our parkrun seizes any opportunity to proclaim a fancy-dress run. I have sometimes dressed up a bit to join in the spirit of these and some of the get-ups our parkrunners wear are hilarious! Memorable moments for me are my first sub-30 minute parkrun (priceless), my 50th run (very special) and also parkrunning friends' milestone events (hands sore from clapping with pride). Also our parkrun, in the gorgeous grounds of the Castle Coole Estate, gives me the privilege of witnessing nature changing her clothes as she slowly moves from season to season with breathtaking scenery.