Weekly newsletter 5th December 2012

welcome to this week's newsletter Tom

In this week’s newsletter adidas offer three VIP VLM entries in return for your running inspired stories, #chasetheplace picks up the pace, I’ve been inspired by some of the UK’s finest athletes... and I can’t wait for Christmas.

On Thursday last week Helen, Rosie and I joined PSH at the opening of Sweatshop’s amazing new concept store on Trump Street in London, a fantastic venue where runners of all abilities will have access to pretty much every support mechanism needed to be the best they can be. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in the company of so many amazing athletes and was particularly honoured to spend time chatting to Team GB’s most successful Paralympian of all time David Weir. Afterwards we were joined for dinner by Commonwealth medallist Liz Yelling and undefeated multiple World Ironman Champion Chrissie Wellington. Amazing.

One minute I’m writing about it being far too early to talk about Christmas and the next thing I know it’s two weeks on Tuesday! Where on Earth has all that time gone? It took us three years at Leeds parkrun before we ran on Christmas Day, it was 2010 and with the course buried under a load of snow and ice we really thought no one would show. As it happens 55 hardy souls turned up that day, Helen ran, I volunteered and with little chance of following the route let alone running all the way the weather actually helped to foster the fun and friendly atmosphere that Christmas Day parkrunning is all about. Not that parkrun shouldn’t always be fun and friendly, just that the 25th of December is typically more fun and friendly than normal. If my memory serves me right the run briefing that day was along the lines of “It’s not the day or conditions for PBs so take it easy, we’ve no course markings either so if you don’t know the way then run with someone who does… and if you finish first then please stop the timer”. I made the last bit up, but you get the idea.

Although we give our teams the option of an extra run on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day not all of them do, volunteer teams have many commitments outside of parkrun so getting enough people together on the 25th of December can be impossible. In some cases the venue is closed anyway so access to the course isn’t viable and in some regions of the UK parkrun events will be joining forces to run at one designated location so that the volunteer load is spread across several teams at the one run. As always here in the UK Crispy will be keeping a list where you can find out the latest information about which events are planning extra Christmas Day or New Year’s Day runs and also which events are holding a Santa Dash or other fancy dress theme. You can find Crispy’s Christmas Compendium 2012 here. All of our events will be continuing with their normal Saturday runs, conditions permitting, but please do check their news pages and social media channels before travelling and remember that parkrun events may be cancelled right up to their start time.

Anyway, enough about Christmas for the moment, my Mum always reminds me not to wish my time away and with three more parkrundays between now and the 25th there’s plenty to keep us busy. I’m off to the North East this weekend to visit the outlaws so Helen, Rosie and I will be at Newcastle parkrun on Saturday morning. Ian Kirtley and the team up there do a fantastic job and the North East spirit is pretty much made for parkrun so I’m really looking forward to it. I do remember the last time I ran in Exhibition Park I managed to plunge my new white trainers into every available cow pat. Hopefully this time they’ll be frozen solid!

Have a great parkrun this weekend,

Tom (get in touch)

P.S. Only 20 more sleeps. (Sorry Mum!)

2 weeks down, 4 to go…

sponsor Keep going to #chasetheplace with Lucozade Sport.

At the end of week two of this competition, there are still 7,615 determined parkrunners in with a chance of winning a spot on Team Lucozade Sport at the 2013 Virgin London Marathon.

The men won this week's battle of the sexes as 5,147 of them are still in the running compared to 2,468 women.

Make sure your home run is well represented for week three, commit to the challenge and make sure you run or volunteer at any official UK parkrun venues over the next four weeks to stay in the competition.

If you’re still in the running, let the World know by sending us a Facebook or Twitter message:Week 2 and I am still chasing a 2013 @londonmarathon race place with @lucozaderunning and @parkrunUK #chasetheplace - we'd love to see photos of you running too!

For terms and conditions please email parkrun@fasttrackagency.com

win a place with adidas to run at VLM

sponsor Run a parkrun either this week (the 8th of December) or next week (the 15th) and you could be in with a chance to win a race place at the 2013 Virgin London Marathon.

adidas has come up with three race places exclusively offered to parkrun participants, runners and volunteers, aged 18 or over. All you need to do is complete a parkrun over the next fortnight and then complete the submission that will be sent to you on the results email. As part of the submission, you will need to demonstrate your writing flair by submitting a 280-word story related to a running experience that you would like to share with your fellow parkrunners. adidas will judge all the entries, the best stories will win!

The winners will be propelled into the limelight, as adidas would like to make them famous in the running community. The winners may be used for media interviews and be asked to write a marathon blog for the brand and can expect the following:

  • A place at the 2013 Virgin London Marathon with a VIP experience
  • adidas kit including the latest footwear and apparel
  • Expert marathon advice

To boost your marathon experience, enter before the 21st of December to be in with the chance to go all in for 26.2. For Terms and Conditions please click here

Sweatshop opens world-class destination store in London

sponsor 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 win a gift in the £50,000 Mega Giveaway.

Sweatshop have opened a brand new concept in running stores thereby making it possible for the everyday parkrunner to enjoy the expertise and attention only previously available to professional athletes and Olympians. Trump Street is more than just a store, it is a unique venture, spanning three floors and 10,000 square feet in the City of London with a mix of activities and services that make this the ultimate destination for runners.


Reading Half Marathon prize winner

sponsor Sweatshop are delighted to announce the winner for the family entry to the Reading Half Marathon has been chosen as Mark Ring from Norwich parkrun. The previous winner was unfortunately unable to take up the prize.

event news

Volunteers needed for Derby parkrun
- We are close to launching a new event in Darley Park and all that’s left is to build the volunteer team. If you’d like to offer your support to volunteer event director Ian Schofield please contact us via email

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

Cancellations and course changes this Saturday

- Reading parkrun is cancelled due to the course not recovering from flooding.

feedback from the field

Hello parkrun,
A few months ago, I wrote to express my thanks to Colwick parkrun for their help in getting me running. Now I'd like to thank them yet again. I'm partially sighted and have epilepsy and until this year, although wanting to exercise, I couldn't find the support needed to do so. The team at Colwick parkrun changed that. Not only have they offered me a safe environment to run in, they have arranged for runners to guide me and often at half the pace they would normally run at. I appreciate my guides often giving up a chance of a PB to guide me but at the same time feel guilty at allowing them to do so. Whenever I mention this each and every one of them tells me it is so rewarding for them to help. My guides, Kevin, John, Samantha, Mike, Bernard, Graeme and David along with the organizing team really are a superb group. Without their incredible support and encouragement I would probably be spending each Saturday morning at home listening to my radio and feeling sorry for myself. Instead, I've lost 19lbs in weight, improved my PB by 14 minutes, gained no end of confidence and cannot wait for Saturday to come. Thank you all. May I also congratulate Colwick parkrun on being shortlisted for the Voluntary Community Project of the Year and to Helen Hood for winning the Volunteer of the Year Award at the Nottingham Sports Awards 2012. The work put in by all the team is amazing. Well done and congratulations. Be proud of your achievements in 2012 and look forward with confidence to 2013.
Kindest Regards,
Terry Rodgers

Hi parkrun,
Earlier this year I had a crisis of confidence so I decided to challenge myself and try to complete a 5km run without stopping! Having watched the Virgin London Marathon on the TV I then heard about parkrun. A few weeks later I headed to Colwick parkrun, ran all the way and promised myself I’d be back to beat my PB after the great welcome and encouragement that gave me such a boost. Fast forward six months and I’ve truly got the running bug along with an addiction to new running socks! I completed my first 10km race in July and last Sunday completed my first half marathon in Norwich, running all the way in the horrendous winds. My five year old has also got the bug having volunteered with me and she attempted her first run last Saturday. She didn’t quite make it round but gave it her best shot! So a huge thanks to parkrun and all at Colwick parkrun who make it happen week in, week out. Now my Half is out the way I’m aiming to become a true parkrun tourist in 2013, starting at Mansfield!
Best Wishes,
Amy Kershaw

Hello parkrun,
I must record my thanks to Duncan Mason the Run Director at Worsley Woods parkrun. On the 17th of November he offered me his running shoes to enable me to do the parkrun when I had foolishly left my shoes at home. After 31 runs at Woodbank parkrun and two elsewhere, I went to Worsley Woods for the first time. My biggest worries were finding the start within time and taking my barcode and I worried so much about those that I walked past my shoes when leaving the house. When nearly at Worsley I realised "Oh no!" and that there’s no time to go home again. I thought at least I could find the start, say hello and even offer to volunteer, which I did, but Duncan said "You will be cold standing around". I had my shorts on you see and he then said, "What size shoes do you take?". He suggested trying his shoes on and we duly swapped shoes. They were a bit tight but OK. He run directed in my canvas shoes while I got his shoes a bit muddy while my running shoes stayed mud free at home! Big thanks again to Duncan. I shall return to Worsley Woods parkrun sometime with my own shoes!
Kindest regards,
Simon Harrop

Hi parkrun,
I have at last reached the landmark that is 50 parkruns and will soon pick up my 50 Club t-shirt as an icon of achievement for what I feel has been a hard but enjoyable journey. I would like to say a special thanks to all at Aberdeen parkrun for their efforts every Saturday morning, often during a somewhat breezy and sometimes freezing morning at Aberdeen beachfront. I would also like to thank Colin and Bill whom I have met since I started parkrunning as they have kept me motivated to achieve this target along the way, especially Colin who has ran through the pain barrier for the last few weeks! I was also lucky enough to be presented with a silver plaque for ending their first year as top male points scorer, even though there a lot more deserving cases than me. It now sits pride of place at home. Once again thanks to all and roll on the 100 Club t-shirt. See you all on Saturday if the snow doesn’t get the better of us!
Graham McDermid

Hi parkrun,
After being advised by medical staff not to run in order to allow an injury further time to heal, I decided that I would take the opportunity to volunteer at my local Durham parkrun for the first time. It was a decision I was starting to regret when I woke up to very cold winter morning with frost on the grass, but nevertheless I dragged myself down to the assembly point for volunteers and was greeted by the run director and was introduced to some of the other volunteers. Luckily I was placed as the ‘first turn’ marshal and all the 249 runners had successfully negotiated ‘my’ corner by 9.05am, leaving me a gentle stroll to the finish line. What struck me was the variety of people running, something that I wouldn’t notice when running myself. From the elite runners who approached at a frightening pace to those at the tail with children, buggies and pets, everyone had a determined look on their face and weren’t being put off by the cold weather. Hopefully I will be back to running soon but it was enlightening to see the work that goes in to organising the run and the people that make it possible week after week.
James Williams

Hi parkrun,
In the summer of 2011 having run, jogged and walked a little on a treadmill in my gym, I discovered that I enjoyed it. The distance I did was roughly 5k and I did it a couple more times. I then asked my friend Karen Chalkley “What’s this parkrun thingy?”. Karen told me all about Durham parkrun and allayed my fears about finishing last by telling me about the Tail Runner volunteer and suggested I look on the website. So I did, whilst there I registered and decided to go along that Saturday. I found someone wearing a high-viz jacket that turned out to be Jacquie Robson. Jacquie invited me to go with her to her briefing for first timers where she was so warm, friendly and reassuring. One year and 41 parkruns later I’ve joined a running club, run my first 10km and been Sweatshop Monthly Prize winner for October! Thanks to Alister Robson the Event Director and his wife the aforementioned Jacquie, Greta for getting me back under 30 minutes and of course all the volunteers. I really enjoy my Saturday mornings and am so grateful to parkrun and of course to Sweatshop for my fab new running shoes.
Many thanks,
Karin Younger

Hi parkrun
It was a frosty morning for my 10th parkrun but I had my daughter's red woolly fingerless gloves on and I was on a mission! I wanted to mark my 10th parkrun with a PB, which was to get under 27 minutes. Luckily the pacers were out and I tagged on to Mr 27. It was hard, so hard! I threw off my fleece and I threw my daughters gloves at my ‘supportive, drinking hot tea under a tree’ husband and battled on. A huge thank you to Mr 27, you spurred me on at the end when my arms felt like lead and I was crumbling. My time was texted through - 26:44! Can I rest now for a week and why do I weirdly want to run on Christmas Day? This is a very strange addiction for someone who was never a runner until this July.
Ali Ward

Hi parkrun,
On December the 1st I was in London for a college reunion so decided to swap my usual parkrun at Stewart Park in Middlesbrough for Wormwood Scrubs parkrun. Several ex-college mates joined me for their first parkrun, bringing a slightly international flavour to the morning with representatives from Sweden, South Africa and Spain. It should be noted that the Swedes made the comment that it was colder in London than Sweden. The regulars at Wormwood Scrubs parkrun made us extremely welcome and it was a great run despite the frost and ice. Thanks to everyone there for starting our reunion weekend so well. Next time I venture down to the smoke I'll make sure the ‘Scrubs’ parkrun is on the itinerary again.
Many Thanks,
Peter Venus

Dear parkrun,
I've been doing Oxford parkrun since it started a year ago and it has been an excellent weekend companion to get me into hitherto unknown levels of physical activity. I even started going to the gym just in order to knock a few seconds off my times. I've also indulged in parkrun tourism at York and Harrogate plus I’ve had the great thrill of being selected for the Sweatshop Monthly Prize for October. I have just signed up to run a half marathon next year for the local children’s hospice - Helen and Douglas House. So ‘yay’ for parkrun and long may it continue!
Sebastian Rahtz

Hello parkrun,
I have recently run three parkruns and I guess that I'm a relative novice compared to some. My recent run was very controversial if you ask my close family. In short I was due to race at Stratford-upon-Avon in a half marathon on Saturday November the 17th but after having a serious hand injury at work was given four weeks off work to rest. I was advised not to take part. I was gutted as you can imagine as I had been training for months and wanted to put a decent, if not a PB, performance in. I was desperate to make amends after a recent poor performance at another half marathon and get some kind of positive out of the recent setback. I was awake at around 1am that very Saturday pondering what to do. Then a brainwave hit me, parkrun sprung to mind! “Yes” I thought, “a compromise”. When I awoke after getting a few hours sleep I checked the weather, saw it wasn’t raining and decided to go. Luckily my family understood my need for a decent performance. Compromise was the order of the day. I arrived at Northampton parkrun where there were a few bewildered looking faces due to my bandage! I ran well and I even managed a PB. Thanks so much to Northampton parkrun and all of its kind considerate marshals. There's always a compromise in life and if anyone needs to desperately run then join the parkrun family. I will also certainly volunteer in the near future.
Stephen Thompson

Dear parkrun,
On Saturday I did something I thought I would never do. I ran the whole of the Brueton parkrun without stopping for even a couple of walking steps. My first intentions of being involved with Brueton parkrun were purely to volunteer whilst my boyfriend Kevin pounded the miles. I felt that if I was there to watch I might just as well offer my services to assist in a fantastic community event. I was always a non-runner, even though I had plodded my way round the Great North Run, I always found it hard and didn’t really see the attraction. This may be down to the fact that I couldn’t keep up with Kevin, so always felt like I was on catch up! I was also suffering with ankle problems awaiting surgery so running was definitely a big ‘no no’. So volunteering was my aim and volunteering I did, notching up multiple events volunteered since October 2011. However it was during one parkrun after my ankle operation, sat on a bench with my leg in an aircast that I watched the runners and walkers go by that I suddenly had the wish and desire that I could run instead of sitting back and watching. When something gets taken away from you it’s only then that you appreciate what you have and so Brueton parkrun became my post-surgery recovery plan. Initially my aim was to walk the whole course and that is the beauty of parkrun, the support and encouragement I received from my fellow parkrunners. It doesn’t matter what your aim, time or how you get round, whether sprint, run or walk, everyone has the same goal, to get to the end. Each parkrunner will have put in the same amount of effort to achieve their goal whether they are at the front, middle or back of the parkrun pack. To my amazement Saturday was my 10th parkrun, my 5th consecutive PB and my 1st time of completing the whole distance without walking. Yes the PBs are amazing when you get them but still to this day to get all the way round at no matter what speed and to be cheered all the way is priceless. My aim now is to reach 50 parkruns but I will continue to mix running with volunteering so it will take a bit longer to get there. I am very excited to take on the challenge of getting to 50 runs. So I would like to thank Brueton parkrun whole-heartedly for changing me from someone who ‘can’t run’ to someone who ‘enjoys running’ and supporting me through my recovery. With my new running shoes courtesy of being awarded the Sweatshop Monthly Prize there’s no stopping me now!
Many thanks,
Jenni Blake
Drop me 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:   Saamkyu Smart
Club:   Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers
Age:   12
Home parkrun:   Oak Hill
Occupation:   Student
Number of runs:   34
Favourite volunteer role:   Timing
What do you do at parkruns:   I mostly run for fun but occasionally I volunteer and do timing, scanning barcodes or give out the number tags.
How has parkrun changed your running:   parkrun has changed my running a lot. I used to think that 5km was really long but after doing parkrun for so many months it is probably my most preferred distance. It is much easier from when I first started doing parkrun and I think that I will try even longer distances now! I also think it has helped me judge how fast to go on each lap because before I always sprinted off in the beginning! I also think that having fellow parkrunners pushes me to try harder and get a PB!
What do you like about parkrun:   I like how you can choose whether to treat it like a race or not. I am always trying to beat my time and I'm glad that it doesn't really matter what place you come. Oak Hill is quite a small parkrun but I also really enjoy how everyone is so friendly and welcoming especially since we know most of the people there. I like how there is always someone in front of you so that you can run faster, that's when I usually get my personal best!
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment:   My most memorable moment was probably Oak Hill parkrun's 50th and Anniversary run at the end of August this year. We ran the course in reverse and normally we do a short lap first followed by two large laps, but I think I preferred ending with the shortest lap! After that we had a picnic, which was fun and a good idea because I'm always hungry after running!

parkrun corner

MattHi everyone, my name is Matt Shields and I am responsible for activating new events in Northern Ireland. Our first event in Northern Ireland was Waterworks parkrun in November 2010 and from the outset the parkrun family concept and the local traditions of hospitality made an easy match. We were strongly recommended by Paul Sinton-Hewitt not to advertise and to pursue instead what he described as organic growth. On reflection, I think this let us build a good foundation in terms of both people and culture before seeding other events.

In the first year we had just one other event, Victoria parkrun, then as the local community slowly became aware of this new concept we had five more new events in 2011/2012. Queens, Ecos, Falls, Citypark and Portrush all joined the family during this period creating a great combination of courses from fast one lappers to trim trails and last but not least a beach run on the stunning north coast. As with any new concept parkrun in Northern Ireland has had to work at communicating its core values concerning activity and participation. Great teams of dedicated volunteers at all our events are spreading the word and we are now being encouraged by authorities all over Northern Ireland to start more new events in 2013. If you’re part of a community that would like an event and you are prepared to help get it started then the good news is we now have the support in many areas that could make this task fairly simple. If you want to discuss just contact me.

Happy Running!
Matt (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

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