welcome to this week's newsletter
In this week’s newsletter we congratulate Old Deer Park parkrun on the success of the adidas BOOST event, bring you up to speed on the recent change of leadership at parkrun UK and we get an insight into what happens when things go wrong at a parkrun.
Tom, Helen and Rosie are moving into their newly renovated home and will be away for a couple of weeks. Tom has asked me to fill in for him on the newsletter but he has not given me any guidelines. So, that leaves me with carte blanche to say whatever I want! Didn't someone say that power corrupts?
To start with then, I want to talk about a change that took place at parkrun UK in the last couple of weeks. Tom was obviously too modest to mention this. On the 1st of April Tom inherited all executive authority for parkrun UK. As Managing Director, Tom will work with his team, the parkrun UK Members Board and the Directors to further the parkrun mission in the UK. Tom and I have worked together over the past six months on this transition during which time Tom has refined his strategy and started to implement the changes he requires to ensure parkrun continues to be successful in the United Kingdom.
You might wonder what this means for me? Well, you can’t completely get rid of me yet! I remain on the parkrun UK board and have a commitment to Tom to be available in any capacity he requires until the end of 2013. I continue to manage the delivery of the technology that serves parkrun and the growth of parkrun's international community.
Tom has my full blessing and total support. This change is an important step in preparing parkrun UK for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. parkrun UK is in safe hands and has a bright future.
This leads nicely to my second announcement. Tom you really shouldn’t have taken leave! The Junior parkrun Series is currently managed outside of parkrun UK. This was a deliberate decision because we chose not to allow commercial partners to have a direct voice with the junior audience. We are now reconsidering our strategy for the Junior parkrun Series. We believe the Junior Series could be more important for public health in the future and just as prolific as the current Saturday series is. With this in mind, we have appointed Chrissie Wellington as the head of the Junior parkrun Series. Many of you will know that Chrissie is a four-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion and has recently retired from professional triathlon competition. Her enthusiasm and drive to make a difference to children’s health and to positively affect the position of women in sport is key to her decision to join parkrun. Chrissie’s first task is to review our existing Junior parkrun offering and to devise her own strategy to move this series forward.
Let me be the first to welcome Chrissie into the parkrun family and say that I am excited to have her onboard. The future for Junior parkrun is glowing. You can follow Chrissie on Twitter @chrissiesmiles
Finally, did you hear about or see the video of the brilliant Boost Old Deer Park parkrun event that took place at the weekend, a celebration of everything parkrun?
Event Director Clive Tilley and his wonderful volunteer team embraced the challenge of boosting their parkrun head on. What a marvellous success it was. A young man called Daniel Buckle persuaded his mum to drive him to the event, leaving home at 3am from Sedgefield, so he could run with some brilliant British athletes. I understand that the amazing Liz Yelling chaperoned him around the two-lap course only to be told in the final straight that he wanted to pick up the pace.
The atmosphere on the day was everything we have come to expect from a parkrun. Relaxed but exciting, fun but challenging, from Olympians to beginners and rewarding for all. We were delighted when top athlete Louise Damen offered to volunteer on the scanner while all the other British athletes were chatting to anyone who would listen. BBC1 News presenter Sophie Raworth tweeted me after the event that she "Loved it!”.
Clive Tilley said: "We did it. I think we achieved everything we set out to do:
- Female course record - gone
- Male course record - gone
- Age grade record - gone
- The Old Deer Park attendance record - smashed
- Attendance record outside Bushy - gone
All this happened because if you:
- 551 finishers
- 551 times
- 551 barcodes scanned
- 551 runners encouraged at every turn by the marshals
Same time next week, anyone?"
How does one close an article after all that? Reflecting on the past week I feel that parkrun has taken another massive step forward, all of which has been done sensitively and with consideration for our founding principles. This is only possible because of the attitude and good will of parkrunners, be they runners, volunteers and folks like Chrissie who come forward to make their passion happen.
Paul (get in touch)
adidas BOOST PB Weekend Results
Old Deer Park parkrun
We set the challenge to BOOST Old Deer Park parkrun and to break the 500 runners mark… quite the feat considering attendance normally sits around the 40 mark! To help things along, we brought down some of our top adidas athletes to join the revolution, as well as Martin Yelling and Tom Williams from Marathon Talk to keep everyone entertained and informed throughout!
We had a phenomenal response with parkrunners going all in to BOOST the final attendance to 551 - the biggest turnout in parkrun history outside of Bushy Park!
We’re also celebrating two new course records for Old Deer Park parkrun set by our athletes - Freya Ross with an impressive 17:06 and James Shane with a time of 15:45! Andi Jones also completed the course under 16 minutes just two seconds behind James.
The rest of the Old Deer Park parkrunners stepped up their game with the number of men finishing sub-17 doubling in just one week! Not to be left behind, the women went all in and BOOSTED the sub-20 minute group by 200%!
Congratulations to everyone at Old Deer Park parkrun - the regulars and last weekend’s guests - for coming down and making it such a brilliant event.
Being PB Weekend, records were set to fall all over the UK, especially with the added incentive of BOOST footwear up for grabs. A total of 6,231 of you managed to smash your best times on Saturday and we’re pleased to announce that the winners of the 10 pairs of adidas Boost trainers are:
- James Burton at Norwich parkrun
- Poppy Ovenden at Norwich parkrun
- Anton Squire at Basingstoke parkrun
- Stefan Robson at Milton Keynes parkrun
- Sally Stefanou at Southampton parkrun
- Ellen Capewell at Cheltenham parkrun
- Len Marten at Chelmsford Central parkrun
- Claire Houston at Edinburgh parkrun
- Richard Tarrega at York parkrun
- Ramon Melo at Finsbury parkrun
Of course the end of the tour marks the close of the competition to win that trip to Australia, to be a parkrun tourist at St Peters parkrun in Sydney! We’ve had thousands of entrants over the last few weeks, with entries coming in from the BOOST tour and also from Twitter, but today we’re excited to announce that the winner of this fantastic prize is…
Alexander Gehre from Newcastle parkrun!
Congratulations Alexander, you’ve won the ultimate chance to BOOST your parkrun! Your fantastic prize includes flights and accommodation, a pair of adiZero Boost trainers and adidas running outfit. We hope you have a fantastic time and that you’ll share your experience and photos with the rest of the parkrun community when you return!
We would like to extend a massive thank you to everyone at parkrun, and all the event teams, parkrunners, volunteers and athletes who have joined us over the last six weeks. We couldn’t have done it without you!
We’ll be posting up photographs from the tour on the adidas Running Facebook page. Once they are up we will let you all know so you can find and tag yourselves!
Now we have finished the tour, we look forward to the Virgin London Marathon, where BOOST continues to be a massive talking point - the adiZero Boost shoe was, until now, only available to adidas' elite athletes.
Come see us on the adidas stand at the VLM Expo to learn more about BOOST and to take advantage of early-release adiZero Boost shoes.
adidas Running Team
all in for parkrun
Martin Yelling answers your running questions
From running style to pacing guides, Lucozade Sport ambassador Martin will be online between 7
and 8pm this Thursday the 11th of April to answer your questions.
Go to the Lucozade Sport Facebook page and get your question in now!
Please check your event’s news pages for the most up to date information.
Cancellations and course changes this Saturday:
- Gateshead parkrun is cancelled due to another event taking place in the park.
- Falkirk parkrun is cancelled until the end of April due to the ongoing Forestry Commission work.
- Reading parkrun has returned to Thames Valley Park.
- Killerton parkrun returns to their original course in the parkland at Killerton.
- Medina, Isle of Wight parkrun returns to Medina and will be there for six weeks until the Isle of Wight Festival, when it will move to Appley Park.
- Ipswich parkrun has now relocated to Christchurch Park until the end of May.
feedback from the field
Hi parkrun and Marathon Talk,
I just wanted to say a massive thank you to all at parkrun and Marathon Talk for providing a fabulous running experience at Old Deer Park parkrun on Saturday morning. I normally attend Colwick parkrun in Nottingham but my wife booked us a surprise trip to London for the weekend.
After listening to last week’s Marathon Talk podcast and reading the parkrun newsletter I realised that if I played my cards right with my wife I might get a pass to join in the fun at Old Deer Park. Well, a lovely meal out followed by a theatre trip and a bit of retail therapy did the trick.
The run is held in a lovely setting and I really liked the course, although I understand it was slightly different to the normal one. I had a brilliant time at the parkrun and can't thank all the organisers and elite athletes enough for making the morning such a tremendous experience. The atmosphere at the event was electric. The GB Athletes made such a fuss of every runner they encountered irrespective of talent, age or ability. Two things that really stood out for me were the number of younger runners taking part and how they must have been so inspired to be participating with Olympic and international athletes.
I was also very impressed that the regular Old Deer Park parkrunners were not forgotten in the excitement of the occasion and those reaching their landmark runs were given a special mention.
The leisure centre next door is great for a post-run drink and everyone I met was so welcoming and friendly. You all coped magnificently with the huge influx of parkrun tourists and should be rightly proud to have hosted an event that will have inspired young and old, fast or slow to continue running and making new parkrun friends.
Thanks again for turning a lovely weekend in London into an experience I will remember fondly for life.
This last parkrunday was my 2nd parkrun birthday and it was appropriate, by way of celebration, that I was at the Colchester Castle parkrun inaugural event to put the finishing touches to my first activation as a parkrun Ambassador. I thought ‘Year One’ was never going to be beaten for sheer enjoyment but ‘Year Two’ has surpassed all expectations.
Without a doubt the highlight of my year has been starting Ipswich parkrun, having the honour of being their Event Director and witnessing a fantastic community develop. Only just behind that is becoming a parkrun Ambassador and starting to learn and appreciate how much is done on our behalf at HQ. The final highlight has been helping the teams at Chelmsford Central, Brandon Country Park and Colchester Castle to put their events on the map.
I want to thank Heidi Uff and Vicky Cooper for persuading me to stand in the election to be the Event Director representative on the parkrun UK Members board. I might not have been the first finisher but I learnt from the experience. I would also like to thank Jo Sinton-Hewitt and Tom Williams for helping and trusting me to firstly, train new event teams and secondly, to activate new events. My biggest thanks however must go to my parkrun siblings, Ali Ostler, Colin Shaw, Jenny Evans, John Adams and Marcia Hullis who form the core volunteer team at Ipswich parkrun. Being surrounded by such enthusiastic, dedicated and professional individuals makes life as an Event Director easy and means I have the time to spread the parkrun passion as an Ambassador.
‘Year Three’ already looks like it is going to be special. My number one target for the year is a nice red 50 Club t-shirt.
Rory Marriott, Ipswich parkrun ED and parkrun UK ambassador
After 20 years of driving trucks for a living and consuming at least two litres of coffee, two packets of biscuits and 20 cigarettes everyday my heart decided to stop me in my tracks and give me a wake up call. This was in late 2011 and things began to change. I stopped smoking, changed my job, diet and lifestyle. At the beginning of 2013 I set myself a challenge to complete the National Three Peaks Challenge in 24 hours. I needed to get fit so started running, increasing distance and pace and as a result have completed the Newport parkrun in 24:51. I know it's not a world beating time but if it wasn't for the no pressure atmosphere at parkrun on a Saturday morning I would be nowhere near completing my challenge.
So, quite simply, thanks.
I drove into the car park at Little Stoke parkrun on the 23rd of March eager to try for a PB as ever. I started to reverse into a space when I saw a cyclist in a yellow fluorescent jacket approaching my car. Oh no, I thought, don't say I cut up a cyclist without realising it on the way to my beloved parkrun and she is now coming over to give me an ear bashing as a result? I couldn't face such a thing at this early an hour, so I pretended I couldn't manoeuvre into the space and drove off to another corner and hoped she wouldn't follow me. She did follow! I panicked. What do I do now? Do I drive off and go home without doing parkrun? I still couldn't face her wrath, especially as she didn't look at all happy.
Mercifully, she diverted away and headed for another unfortunate car driver who had just arrived. Phew, she's given up with me and is going to ear bash somebody else instead! I looked around before daring to open my car door then noticed it all seemed a bit quiet. No finish funnels had been set up and not many marshals around. Then I twigged what was going on! It had been cancelled due to floods and the good lady on the bike was not going to tell me off but just tell me Little Stoke parkrun was off!
So I made my way over to Ashton Court parkrun instead, just over a minute late and saw them running off into the distance. I dashed over to join in, shouted my excuses to a bemused organiser and managed to catch up with a few of the runners near the back of the field. I now have six parkruns to go until my magic 50 Club t-shirt. Yippee! Bless you parkrun and all the lovely volunteers, I can't wait until next Saturday!
In just over two weeks I will be running the Virgin London Marathon, having been so lucky to come out of the public ballot. May I say without Norwich, Gorleston Cliffs and Fritton Lake parkruns I would never be in this position. A few years ago I was ‘Class II Obese’ with medical issues, to say the least, caused by my over indulgence and lack of exercise. Not a great position to be in when in my fifties. Two years ago I was persuaded to take part in parkrun by a work colleague and I loved it, especially so as parkrun is open to everyone, all ages and abilities. parkrun spurred me on and I still remember the elation of actually managing to complete the full 5k without walking for the first time.
Two years on and my weight is normal, and interestingly so is my blood pressure. My parkrun PB is under 24 minutes too which would have been unthinkable when I started two years ago. I have also gone on to run a number of local 10k and 10 mile races too.
The Virgin London Marathon will also give me the opportunity to give something back. My wife Pattie has recently been successfully treated for cancer so I am running to raise money for the Norfolk and Waveney ‘Big C’ Cancer Charity. Running the VLM is a great way for me to give something back as a thank you for the treatment that my wife received.
I would never be in a position to do any of this if it was not for parkrun which helped me so much by getting my health and fitness back.
Many thanks parkrun,
Mark Leon Garrod
I just wanted to give a word of thanks to both my home parkrun of Sheffield Hallam in the beautiful Endcliffe Park and Concord parkrun which is also in Sheffield and additionally became my 21st parkrun and my first parkrun tourist destination. What an absolute joy it was to find the same friendly, enthusiastic welcome from volunteers at Concord as I always experience at Sheffield Hallam. I can foresee more parkrun tourism for me and my family in the near future as there’s two other parkruns in Sheffield - Graves and Hillsborough - and more starting in Rotherham in the near future. Massive credit for these opportunities to get active must go to the parkrun family and volunteers of which I hope to become one in the not too distant future. Keep up this great and valuable work,
A Town Crier starting a parkrun I hear you ask? Indeed yes as it happened to us this week when my husband Martin Weeks and I visited Barrow parkrun. Normally we run at Harrogate parkrun but this year have decided to enjoy visiting parkruns around the UK. So far we have done Wimpole Estate parkrun and now Barrow. What a contrast in courses! Wimpole parkrun is a great cross-country style run through the parkland in a very genteel setting and Barrow parkrun is a proper workaday place but with a fantastic municipal park near the station. Looking at the map we thought the Barrow course would be flat. No chance. The park is on the only hill for miles and the park itself is pristine and a delight.
Best of all we were started off by the Town Crier with a poem and a ring of the bell. Things in common to both events were the welcome, the community spirit and the friendly chat afterwards. Now for Aberystwyth, Newport, Sewerby and hopefully Edinburgh parkruns.
There had long been talk or rumblings of someone trying to get parkrun established in Telford. For a small area we have three quite large running clubs - Telford AC, Telford Harriers and Wrekin Roadrunners - plus many small running groups. That said no one had ever really committed to the idea. Chris Richards and his wife Lynne moved to Telford in August last year and through Chris’ commitment and drive established a parkrun. It wasn't easy but Chris was so passionate about parkrun he convinced the Park authorities and the Council that it was a good idea. He has managed to get a pool of volunteers who work relentlessly to make it a success.
We decided as volunteers that we wanted to recognise the work that Chris had done and thought we should acknowledge him as Event Director. We gave him a surprise meal and a trophy plus we also presented his wife with some flowers. We are already looking forward to our eighth event this coming Saturday.
I am writing to congratulate my wife, Victoria Kirk, on completing her 50th parkrun this week. She completed these with a satisfying 25 home (Bushy parkrun) and 25 away runs. As a computer scientist I am equally pleased with my achievement of completing 1000000 parkruns (or 64 for those of you that work with decimal rather than binary numbers). Thank you to all the fabulous volunteers and runners at all the events we have attended. We never fail to find a warm welcome wherever we go or whatever the weather.
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
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: Gemma Brierley
Club: Unattached (though soon to join Herne Hill Harriers!)
Home parkrun: Alice Holt
Occupation: National Account Manager L’Oreal Paris UK
Number of runs: 48 (at 40 different parkruns)
Favourite volunteer role: Marshalling, as I like talking.
What do you do at parkruns: I usually show up in the nick of time during the winter as I hate waiting in the cold and always underestimate how long it will take me to get to the start. I take the first half relatively easy then start to pick people in front of me to try and catch, then kill myself in a sprint finish. I love hanging around chatting at the end especially if there is a nice café to sit in or cake to be eaten!
How has parkrun changed your running: Before parkrun I’d always admired people that ran but thought it was always out of my reach. I couldn't run more than 200 yards without gasping for breath and stopping. However when I came to watch my boyfriend take part in a parkrun I saw people of all ages and abilities being encouraged and included. After a few practice laps of the block (in the dark so no one else would see) I ran my first parkrun on the 3rd of March 2012 in 35:32. I've since run two 10ks, achieved a parkrun pb of 27:39 and am going to run a half marathon later this year. I still wouldn't call myself a runner but I'm proud of being part of parkrun.
What do you like about parkrun: That they are all around the country so wherever I need to be on parkrunday there is always one close by and being rewarded with a post-parkrun bacon butty!
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: After badgering my best mate Emily for months to come to parkrun she eventually agreed to come down and see what all the fuss was about. However whilst jogging with her on her first parkrun she spotted the photographer, freaked out, turned around and started running the opposite way around the course in an attempt to hide. I had to drag her back past the photographer whilst she attempted to hide behind my arm.
Also, we went to Bushy parkrun as a pilgrimage for my boyfriend Martin’s 100th parkrun. Whilst waiting to start Andy Baddeley (who had just the week before been representing Team GB in the 1500m at the Olympics) was introduced to deafening cheers and claps. He beat the all time parkrun record and afterwards we worked out I would have only been just past the 2k marker when he finished.