Weekly newsletter 28th November 2012

welcome to this week's newsletter Tom

In this week’s newsletter we look forward to a winter of parkrunning, celebrate our volunteers thanks to adidas, Sweatshop invite parkrun to the launch of their new flagship store and #chasetheplace gets out of the blocks. I’m excited to visit my ‘nearest to home’ parkrun but with much of the UK under water it’s clear that some events may have to cancel at the last minute, please be prepared.

There’s no denying that winter is definitely here, and you’ll see from our historical chart that in each of the last three years that has meant a number of event cancellations. We do of course aim to maximise the chances of a parkrun taking place, whilst ensuring it is done so in a safe environment. Therefore we ask our event teams to wait until the last moment to cancel if there is even the slightest chance the conditions will improve. A few years ago I myself made the decision, on a Thursday, to cancel a Leeds parkrun event when Woodhouse Moor was frozen solid only for an unexpected thaw to happen on the Friday night and leave a perfect parkrunday… with no parkrunners!

Our first thought is always for the safety of the runners and volunteers and I can assure you that every single volunteer run director will do their best to deliver a run. However, sometimes this just isn’t possible and the decision to cancel can be made right up to the start time itself. Icy conditions are of course our biggest enemy and offer the opportunity for all kinds of slips, slides and falls. Depending on the course you are running that could also mean all kinds of endings, there is a big difference between a flat straight bit of tarmac next to a soft (maybe not in the winter) grass verge and an uneven off-road path overlooking the sea. Cliff diving anyone?

Each year we receive a number of unrealistic requests suggesting all kinds of complicated solutions, most of which seem designed largely to maximize the snuggly duvet time of the runner and involve parkrun volunteers making a number of out of hours visits to their course. I’m afraid that asking our volunteers to check their course at 7am in the winter and the dark so that they can update some kind of cancellation hotline, which runners can dial from the comfort of their bed, is simply never going to happen.

When you set off for your weekly parkrun this winter I’d therefore suggest you do several things 1) if you don’t feel comfortable travelling to your event then don’t travel, 2) before you set off check your event’s news page, Facebook page and Twitter feed if they have one but remember that they may not have had the opportunity to update these, 3) if you get there and you don’t feel comfortable to run in the conditions then don’t run, 4) be prepared for the event team to cancel at the last minute and finally 5) please remember that it is only a run.

I do realise of course that I will largely be preaching to the converted here and that many of our less understanding parkrunners may also not take the time to read my weekly ramblings. If I could ask you all therefore to support your local volunteer teams by spreading the winter word, helping to manage runner’s expectations and in the event of an unexpected cancellation being a vocal supporter of that run director’s decision, that would be great.

I’m excited to be at home this weekend and will be hanging out in Harrogate, have a great parkrunday wherever you are.

Tom (get in touch)

adidas - all in for our volunteers

sponsorLast month we let parkrunners give back to their volunteers. We asked parkrunners to nominate their favourite volunteers. Whether they volunteered the most, had the longest journey to the park or even spent time laminating runners’ barcodes! We loved hearing the stories. Thanks to all the parkrunners for submitting their entries, we have some terrific volunteers at the heart of our parkruns.

The following are the winning volunteers and a sound bite from what you have said about them:

Steve Shuck - Poole parkrun

Always jovial and out in all weathers 'Schucky' was a more than useful athlete until injuries slowed him down, however that doesn't stop him turning out to cajole, encourage and inspire us to push ourselves all the way.

Dave Clothier - Eastleigh parkrun

A recently retired gardener, he loves the grassy course at Eastleigh (a former golf course), and is constantly finding ways to improve the course and to protect any muddy patches that develop in wet weather.

Caroline Hutchings - Abingdon parkrun

Has been volunteering at the Abingdon parkrun, with only a small break to complete her Kilimanjaro ascent to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Care and spend time in a children's home in Africa.

Martin Wheeldon - Bramhall parkrun

18 months volunteering without a week's break! So the adiViz gear would get well used! He is usually giving out tokens at the end of the tunnel. He is a key member of the team. He also administers the Facebook page. A very cheery chappy, he knows so many of us and encourages us all in our efforts.

Pat Matthews - Swindon parkrun

She offers a laminating service to any runner, complete with a safety pin ready for them the following Saturday. At the 2nd anniversary she produced a celebration cake big enough to share at the end.

Congratulations to all five lucky winners and a big thank you to all of the volunteers, you are all appreciated. We have had over 30 top contenders for the adiViz prizes and many, many more volunteers who all deserve a big thank you. parkrun would not be the same without you.

adidas Running Team

Follow us on: @adidasUK

Sweatshop winner announced

sponsorCongratulations to Simon George from Richmond parkrun who won the competition to attend the official opening party of the new concept running store. Simon will be hob-knobbing with famous dignitaries, specialist running brands and sports stars including some of our successful athletes from the recent Olympics.

For your turn to be a winner, be one of the first 500 customers at the opening weekend of the Trump Street store, starting at midnight on Thursday the 6th of December, and you could be in with a chance to participate in the £50,000 Mega Giveaway.

See here for more details

week 1 down, 5 to go… keep going to #chasetheplace with Lucozade Sport

sponsorAt the end of week one of this competition, there are still 17,337 determined parkrunners in with a chance of winning a spot on Team Lucozade Sport at the 2013 Virgin London Marathon.

Don’t let this Saturday be the week you drop out, commit to the challenge and make sure you run or volunteer at any official UK parkrun to stay in the competition.

Whether you’re in or out, let us know what you think over the next five weeks on Lucozade Sport Running’s Facebook and Twitter using


For terms and conditions please email parkrun@fasttrackagency.com

event news

Please check your event’s news pages for the most up to date information.

A new Kent event
We are very grateful to Whitstable parkrun for holding the parkrun flag in Kent. Not content with that however, Jacky the Event Director is trying to start a new event in Minnis Bay near Birchington. We are looking for volunteers to support her and to take parkrun forward in Kent. Could that be you? If so, please contact Jacky at whitstableoffice@parkrun.com

Cancellations and course changes this Saturday

- Reading parkrun is cancelled due to severe flooding of the course

feedback from the field

Hi parkrun,
Last Saturday I did Leamington parkrun with two of my children; Caleb aged 7 and Maisie-Joy aged 5. They love to run but have never run this sort of distance. They were both so keen to give it a go. We started at the back and didn't finish at the back! They not only enjoyed it, they loved it! They amazed me with their effort. Maisie-Joy ran the whole thing (with the exception of the one very steep hill) and they both sprinted to the finish in under 35 minutes. This experience has given them a real boost to their self-esteem. They talked about parkrun all day and at no point was it a competition but about an achievement individually. They went into school this week proud of what they had done telling their class friends and teachers. They've now got the bug like their Mummy and Daddy and want to do it every week! Thank you for allowing kids to be involved and for the hard work and commitment put in to make parkrun a fabulous boosting experience.
Hannah Spriggs

Hi parkrun,
Brian Platt, a great grandad in his late 70s, is the first out of the regular ‘parkrunners’ in the Stockport area, where we are lucky to have four parkruns, to achieve his 200th parkrun. Brian was there from the start four years ago when parkrun began in Bramhall Park. Rob Downs, Event Director, said “Brian was one of the first to achieve 100 runs and now fittingly is the first to reach 200. He should be very proud of his achievement”. Brian now runs at the newer Marple parkrun and clears the course of any dog deposits before he and the 150 or so other runners pound the route. James Kemp, Event Director at Marple parkrun enthused that "Brian typifies the parkrun spirit. He is a very popular, lovely man and we celebrate what he has achieved". Brian says that “It is never too late to start exercising, but always too early to stop”. Typical of many parkrunners Brian had not run previously. Then on the advice of his GP he started to be more active in his retirement by doing parkrun. Brian said “I have never looked back since. Running helps me stay young and able to keep up with my grand children, great grandchild, wife and dogs. A fantastic role model to us all Brian says, “I intend to keep running for as long as I can. If I can do it anyone can.”
Gill Dickinson

Hi parkrun,
I just wanted to say thanks to Tom Williams for supporting Cambridge parkrun on Saturday. I know Heidi, John and the team put a great deal of effort and time into ensuring a really friendly well managed parkrun week in, week out. I hope he enjoyed himself out there even though it was a little wet at the start! Just imagine how beautiful the run is in sunshine whether crisp and cold or warm and radiant. My daughter Isobel has volunteered four times this year and has her 10 Club t-shirt. Although she’s not run for a few weeks she loves the volunteering. She’s not a natural runner but hopefully I’ll get her started again soon! I think parkrun is great for kids as it provides them with many different emotions such as the feeling of coming nearly last which can be just as rewarding as coming first (for instance when helping others) and that giving of your time doesn’t always have to be rewarded. Keep up the fantastic work and have a great week!
Rob Moir

Hi parkrun,
On Saturday 27th October, myself and three other parkrunners from Hull made the trip across to Poznan in Poland to take part in their 14th parkrun. Chris Chestney and I formulated the idea and Tony Goulding and Gary Robinson soon joined us in making the dream a reality. Before we set off I contacted the Poznan parkrun Event Director Jolanta Roszkiewicz by e-mail as a courtesy message to announce our intention and I received a very positive response which welcomed us and suggested that as we would be there for two nights we could maybe join them for a tour of the city and perhaps some Polish beer which of course we accepted very eagerly. On the morning of the run the four of us had a steady jog from our apartment and were welcomed with warm handshakes by our hosts. As we lined up for the start of the run our presence was announced to all the runners and we received a very pleasant round of applause before we ran off into the Polish Autumn. As we ran around the course in our 50 Club t-shirts, many of our fellow runners offered smiles of encouragement and although none of the four of us can speak Polish, the feeling of friendship was clear. At the end of the run we all lined up for photographs and after chatting with many of the runners I had the great pleasure of being able to present our new friends with a plaque of the City of Hull coat of arms. This had been donated by Hull parkrunner Alan Gardiner alongside a collage of Hull parkrun photographs donated by Paul and Gill Tremere. My personal gratitude goes to our hosts for making this such a pleasant and memorable trip in a very picturesque city and park and I hope this will be just the first of many meetings between us.
Keith Conkerton


Hi parkrun,
I completed my 90th parkrun on Saturday 17th November at Norwich. Running is a large part of my life and I have parkrun to thank for giving me the confidence to join a club and compete in lots of races this year. They’ve included the Virgin London Marathon, the National Lottery Olympic Park Run and the Great North Run. Everyone I meet who expresses even a small amount of interest in running, I tell about parkrun. I urge them to join in, no matter how slow or fast, as the community spirit and sense of achievement is present each and every week. As a result (I like to think so, anyway) lots of friends now do parkrun, including my boyfriend. His confidence has grown so much that last Sunday 18th November we completed the Adnams Southwold 10k race. It was the first time he had ever raced and the first time he had ever completed a distance over 8k. At the finish line we changed into dry t-shirts and I wore my parkrun 50 Club t-shirt and went to sit beside the seafront wearing our medals. He suggested a walk along the front to enjoy the sea air and the beautiful day, so we set off. Two runners approached us, having spotted my t-shirt. We had a great conversation about parkrun and they said they were Conkers parkrunners but had also completed Norwich and Fritton Lake parkrun, which we had both done too. It was lovely to meet more of the community and a testament to parkrun’s international ethos. We said goodbye and my boyfriend paused by a bench to redo his shoelaces. When I looked for him, he was on one knee, holding a ring and asking me to marry him! He’d been planning it for months and chose to do it after the race because running is such a big part of our lives and Southwold is a special place for us. Of course I said “Yes” and then realised that he had been going to pop the question before our parkrun conversation, so had been standing there thinking about it, and being nervous, the whole time. It seemed really fitting that parkrun managed to be a part of that story despite it not being parkrunday! I'm not sure we’ll go quite parkrun fresh to our wedding, tentatively planned for next September, but rest assured we’ll make sure we're there in the morning! Thanks to all of the people who put all of the parkruns together across the world - the core team, the website gurus, the kit pixies, the event teams, the volunteers and of course, the runners. I look forward to hitting 100 parkruns early next year and continuing to extol the virtues to everyone I meet.
Suzanne Rodger

Hi parkrun,
Today on a cold, drizzly 14th November I ran Reading parkrun. Nothing unusual, except getting my 100 Club t-shirt for which I’d like to say thanks! Even though the Thames is in flood and the course is now a mud fest I enjoyed it and was glad not to fall over! I didn’t go for our usual post-run cuppa but a great start as usual to the weekend. Vive la parkrun.
Margaret Husein

Hi parkrun,
I ran a 'Freedom Run’ at Upton Court parkrun before their inaugural event to see what it was like and I really enjoyed it. Two thirds is grass, which is short, flat and firm and therefore really good for the joints. The rest of the route is a fast concrete path, in fact, the last 1k must be one of the fastest in any of the parkrun venues as it has a gradual descent to the finish where the speed merchants can really turn on the turbo charger. Good luck Upton Court for the future.
Adrian Clement

Hi parkrun,
I’d just like to say how good parkrun is. It’s great for getting fit! With help from Peter May I ran the British and Irish Masters on November 10th in Belfast and won the over 70s title and also won with the over 70s team for England!
Many thanks,
Les Haynes

Drop us an email if you have an interesting parkrun related
fact, happening or comment that you would like to share with all parkrunners.

parkrunner of the week

parkrunner of the week
Name:   Stephen Lee
Club:   Hermitage Harriers Running Club
Age:   31
Home parkrun:   Conkers
Occupation:   Academic at a Mathematics Education Charity
Number of runs:   37
Favourite volunteer role:   Difficult one! I really like the roles in which you get to 'meet' all those who have parkrun that week. So marshalling is great, but being on the registration desk at the end allows you to actually speak to everyone, even if it is only briefly, so as to keep the queuing to a minimum!
What do you do at parkruns:   In the first year of Conkers parkrun I mainly volunteered, starting off marshalling before moving around all the other roles. Marshalling was great as it would enable me to still do a 3-4 mile run, getting to and from my marshal position, whilst still helping out. In this, the second year of Conkers parkrun, I wanted to try and do more official runs and get a 50 t-shirt before Conkers second birthday in April 2013. As a way to still volunteer I became the first pacer at Conkers parkrun. This has been well received by the runners who seem to like the lollipop pacing stick. Lately I've taken to doing the parkrun then going on the registration desk when I get back. I do the scanning or another task, like writing down the troublesome barcodes that won’t scan, i.e. the ones that have got sweaty!
How has parkrun changed your running:   I have to admit that Saturday use to be the day in which I spent most of the morning in bed, resting from the working week. I'm now up and have nearly always got a run done before I would have previously woken up. I'm still not a morning runner though. My parkrun PB is nearly a minute slower than my 'evening' 5k PB.
What do you like about parkrun:   The thing that really stands out with parkrun is that it is a true community event. Those who volunteer and the majority who run are from the area local to the parkrun. I only got involved when one was set up within 15 minutes of me. There were parkruns already established an hour away but that's a bit far for all but the most committed parkrunners. It's also been amazing to see people's progress. So many have been true newcomers to running but lots of them, as is in the parkrun ethos, have gained the confidence to join a local running club. This has usually started by speaking to like-minded people over coffee after their parkrun.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment:   My most memorable parkrun moment was receiving a phone call from Paul Sinton-Hewitt to say that I had been selected as the winner of the parkrun/adidas VLM 2012 competition. If you go back to an April Newsletter you'll see just how brilliant this was for me and the thanks and gratitude paid to parkrun.

parkrun corner

James Hi everyone, I am James Saunders. Having not run for over 20 years since school (a largely unpleasant experience), had you told me that I'd be the Event Director at Eastleigh, Netley Abbey and Southampton parkrun three years ago, I'd have doubted your sanity! However, the parkrun bug is most definitely contagious and my goal for 2013 is to get as many people parkrunning in Hampshire and the surrounding counties as possible.

November has been a great month for parkruns in my local area. We not only inspire new generations, both young and old to get active and share in a vibrant community around each event but at Eastleigh, Newbury and Southampton, we've let our junior participants grab the reins and take on all the volunteer roles at recent events. Not only have they done a fantastic job but have helped prove that there really is nothing to be scared of when volunteering.

Several events have also taken on the ‘Naked November’ challenge with very positive results. Havant, Poole, Eastleigh, Netley Abbey and Southampton were just some of the events where participants ditched their gadgets (not clothes!) to run by feel alone. Well done to all that took part.

On the 10th of November we welcomed a new parkrun to the region; Alice Holt parkrun located near Farnham. The inaugural event welcomed many tourists including parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt and the parkrun show’s Danny Norman. On a course that took in much of the beauty of this amazing country park 150 runners completed the, er, playful course. Congratulations to Martin Bushell and his team of volunteers for bringing this great new addition to the ever-expanding parkrun family to life.

If you would like to bring a parkrun to your neighbourhood and need any help, I'd be more than happy to help and support you in any way I can.

Happy Running!
James (get in touch)


barcode reminder

Barcodes are used at all our events to record your result. Please collect and print your barcode here. No barcode, No result!

all questions answered

Do you have a question about parkrun? How do I collect my club T-shirt? How do I get my barcode? All your questions are answered on our brand new support site

volunteering at parkrun

We ask every parkrunner to volunteer 3 times a year. When volunteering you receive the maximum number of points towards the yearly competition.

upcoming anniversaries

Ally Pally parkrun   1st
Glasgow parkrun   1st
Brockwell parkrun   8th

children at parkrun

All children under 11 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Guardians must ensure that children place themselves appropriately so as to prevent a situation where they are being repeatedly overtaken at the start. This is to ensure the safety of your child.

the parkrun show

The parkrun show

You can download your copy of the parkrun show here. (iTunes)

The parkrun show is the audible roundup of the "goings on" of everything that caught the teams eye from the weekend in parkrunworld.

Brought to you by Marathon Talk.

our sponsors

adidas investing in parkrun

all out performance

adidas has been focused on athlete’s performance since the first running spikes were made in the 1920’s earning the first Olympic gold medal in adidas shoes. Today, adidas is proud to be supporting parkrunners everywhere. Explore adidas running adidas.com

Sweatshop investing in parkrun

Helping people be the best they can be.

For 39 years, Sweatshop the award winning running store, has been helping runners find the perfect products for their individual needs. Find your closest store at sweatshop.co.uk

Lucozade investing in parkrun

Fuelling You to the Finish Line

Lucozade Sport has all the tips and advice you need to have a great parkrun - come and find out more at lucozade.com/running

our supporters

London Marathon supporting parkrun

Inspiring runners of all levels

For information on all events organised by the London Marathon, please visit london-marathon.co.uk

aql supporting parkrun

Delivering your results earlier

For information on the company powering the mobile messaging, please visit aql.com

3 supporting parkrun

Connecting parkrunners everywhere

For information on the mobile communications company, please visit three.co.uk