weekly newsletter 23rd October 2014

welcome to the newsletter

In this week’s newsletter PruHealth celebrate the Vitality Oxford Half Marathon, Alister Robson is surprised not once but twice at Durham parkrun, we ask for some Saturday morning quiet time, there’s some amazing feedback from the field and I give it up for volunteers.

On Thursday last week I was fortunate enough to attend an afternoon reception hosted by our friends at Join In. They presented findings from their recent research into the value of volunteering and, as much as they were preaching to the converted, it really was eye opening stuff. First of all there’s the simple method of converting volunteer time to some kind of hourly rate, right now we have around 4,500 volunteers on an average Saturday and the maths on that is fairly simple.

It’s the value added on top of that where things start to get really interesting though. We all know that volunteering improves the health and well-being of the volunteer themselves, plus each additional volunteer increases the capacity for an event to accommodate participants… whose own health and well-being is improved. Then you start looking at the benefits to the community of the existence of a weekly gathering of local people, the resultant improvement in community cohesion, reductions in crime and also increases in feelings of pride & connection that people have with their surroundings. Even the pennies spent by participants (and volunteers) in the local cafes or other businesses, when totted up week after week and year after year, represent significant value to the local community. Once you start doing the maths on that little lot you can see the contribution that volunteer-led projects make to their local communities.

As a relatively small not-for-profit organisation with a few paid staff most traditional methods of valuing our organisation would likely come up short. Once we understand the contributions of our 60,000 plus volunteers however we see a very different picture. As we move into our second decade I hope that the type of research carried out here by Join In will help volunteer-led not-for-profits like ourselves engage more effectively with funding bodies around the UK and in-turn secure a future for us where we are able to continue to remain true to our founding principles.

Having said all of that, in conversation with a few people I still hear the term ‘giving up their time’ when referring to volunteers. I do believe that one of the biggest barriers to people getting involved with volunteering is the incorrect assumption that by doing so you are somehow making a sacrifice. Volunteering is a hugely enjoyable and life-affirming thing to do and just as with all the other brilliant things (that we each have the choice of spending our time on) it shouldn’t be described in such a negative way. A bit like the term 'work/life balance’, which makes people think those two terms cannot co-exist and then leads to an acceptance that work time should be wished away in order to get on with ‘real’ life. Forty hours a week, 48 weeks of the year for 40+ years is far too valuable to be spent waiting for the bell.

As I said above, volunteers do wonderful things for their communities and they spend their time doing something they love that allows other people to do something they love. That’s amazing and a wonderful gift that any one of us can give. But they’re not giving up their time, in the same way that when they’re at work they’re still alive.

So, to sign off, I’d like to thank everyone who’s volunteered at parkrun sometime over the last ten years. Each week you spend in excess of 5,000 hours doing amazing things with amazing people. You really are valued.

Thank you,


P.S. You can read this week’s junior parkrun newsletter here.

Vitality Oxford Half Marathon 2014 Photos

The third event of the Vitality Run Series took place on the 12th of October and 4,482 runners completed the run in the historic city of Oxford for the fourth year. The weather conditions were perfect for running and the mainly flat course offered the potential for improving personal bests.

One of the highlights for competitors was the ‘Bannister Mile’. Just after the six-mile point, runners took a detour round the Iffley Road athletics track where Sir Roger Bannister famously broke the four-minute mile 60 years ago. Sir Roger himself was there to mark the occasion, both to sound the starting klaxon and receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from Vitality.

Check out our Vitality photo gallery and see if you can spot yourself.

Do you want to achieve a half marathon goal?

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 five remaining races in the Series. Find out more at vitality.co.uk


Every week at parkruns all over the country someone turns to face the field ready to bring you the ‘Pre-run Brief’. Please support that person by listening carefully.

The pre-run brief will include any relevant safety information including the importance of running with under 11s and reminding you that we share with other park users. It also enables them to bring any potential issues on the course to your attention and is an excellent opportunity to welcome first timers and tourists to your parkrun and to thank the volunteers!

parkrun population

Here are this week’s statistics for parkrun UK (including junior parkrun)

Number of runners - 54,232
Number of volunteers - 4,967
Number of first timers - 7,796
Number of PBs - 7,384

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
I wanted to thank you for producing the anniversary t-shirt and solving my anniversary present dilemma! Joe and I got married on the 6th of October 2012 which was Leeds parkrun, and parkrun's birthday. parkrun has been a massive feature of our relationship. Joe was an avid parkrunner when we met and soon after I would come and support and volunteer. The running bit came a lot later for me. Over the years we have made many friends, many we now consider part of our extended family.
As we were approaching our second anniversary I was stuck for a cotton themed gift idea. And then the anniversary t-shirt was released - 100% cotton! It was the perfect gift. Thank you parkrun!
Kathryn Hogg

Hi parkrun UK
Thank you parkrun for helping a woman in her 50s realise a dream. In 2012 I started doing parkrun in around 31 minutes. When Fountains Abbey parkrun began this year I felt a wish had been granted. I became a regular attendee with a parkrun home. The weekend of the 11th of October was fabulous. After enjoying volunteering, I heard my son was first finisher at another parkrun. Then the following day I finally achieved my dream, running my first marathon in under 3 hours 57 minutes. The support of Fountains Abbey parkrun friends, the joy of being able to share parkrun and my marathon success with them has been not just the icing but also the cherry on top of my cake. Thank you!
Anne Cheeseman

Hi parkrun UK
These two ladies were friends growing up. Patricia, on the right, stayed in Northern Ireland but Truffy emigrated to Adelaide in Australia. They reunited recently, by chance, some 40 years later at Portrush parkrun whilst Truffy was visiting family. As the photo shows, time has not eroded their friendship. Truffy has now returned to Adelaide, suffice to say Patricia hopes to visit, and all thanks to parkrun.
Melvyn Thompson

Hi parkrun UK
My husband, two sons and I caught the parkrun bug on holiday this summer, taking part in the beautiful run at Lanhydrock. Since then we have only missed one week (due to one son having an operation) and the boys are looking forward to receiving their 10 Club t-shirts. We travelled a little further this weekend to run in Brandon and were made to feel incredibly welcome from the moment we arrived in the car park. Fortunately we were warned about the tree roots and the cheeky hill so were well prepared! After years of racing longer distances it is wonderful to be part of the parkrun family with my family and enjoy meeting new people but always friendly faces.
Fiona Tideswell

Hi parkrun UK
When I found out I had kidney failure a few years ago, I assumed my athletics ‘career’ was over. Long-term physical decline seemed inevitable, so what was the point in running? But then my brilliant brother Chris, who is a Buddhist monk, decided to donate one of his kidneys. Since the transplant two years ago parkrun has played a huge part in my recovery. Every run has helped me feel better, both physically and mentally. Thanks, parkrun, especially the volunteers at Richmond Park, Kingston and Winchester! On Saturday at 9am Chris and I were in Richmond Park to celebrate the second anniversary of the transplant (‘kidneyversary’). Is Chris the first Buddhist monk ever to do a parkrun, I wonder...
Jonathan Watson

Hi parkrun UK
For two years I have run at Bryn Bach parkrun and got my 50 Club t-shirt. Recently I was driving to Bryn Bach ready for the week’s outing and on the way there I spotted a shady figure. A fellow Club 50 t-shirt, no way. I pulled over, a fellow parkrunner whose lift had let him down. It was raining and he was trying to make the start. He wasn't a local, he was from Poland and living in London, and was in Wales for the weekend. What a legend, hitchhiking to the start. I gave him a lift there and back. He did the run and gave me his number in case he ever comes back. The 50 Club t-shirt - what a classic hitchhikers icon!
Adrian Lewis

Hi parkrun UK
On a recent trip to Australia, my friend Jim and I ran at Berwick Springs parkrun in Melbourne. As parkrun tourists we were made very welcome and enjoyed the run. It was a nice flat two-lap course and the weather was ideal for running. This was event number 51, so they were just short of their first anniversary. They had just over one hundred runners. What made it better was when looking later at the results I found I had set a new VM70-74 age record!
Mick Loach

Hi parkrun UK
I am 68 and after watching my local Porthcawl parkrun some months ago it inspired me to renew my running after 25 years and have now run two of my local events. So last weekend on a visit to Hove I had the opportunity to run in the Brighton and Hove parkrun with my son and grandson. Imagine my joy and surprise when they announced at the start that there were three generations of the Davies family running. It inspired me to a PB of 28:06. So a big thank you to all the volunteers in Hove for making this possible. Incidentally my 10 year old grandson also ran a PB in 21:43.
Mike Davies

Hi parkrun UK
On Sunday the 12th of October I completed the Yorkshire marathon wearing my parkrun 50 Club t-shirt.
May I say a big thank you to the kind people of York for the amazing support but particularly to all of the spectating/participating parkrunners who drove me on with shouts of "well done parkrun 50!" I don't need to tell everyone how much it means to have spectators shouting encouragement when you are flagging but particularly so when it is something you are so proud of. Thanks to them all.
Martin Kirby

Hi parkrun UK
I've only completed five parkruns in two venues at Cannon Hill parkrun and Brueton parkrun and the organisers at both have gone out their way to help. The other runners have given me a cheer and on the downhills moved out of the way with just a little encouragement from my attached klaxon. I'm training for the London Marathon wheelchair section (34 completions to date) and the parkruns are an ideal acclimatisation for negotiating through the running masses.
Dale Lyons (Robin Hood Half Marathon Nottingham in 1:58:45)

parkrunner of the week

Name:  Ben Stock

Club:  Crawley Saints and Sinners

Age:  35

Home parkrun:  Tilgate

Occupation:  Police Officer

Number of runs:  76

Favourite volunteer role:  Volunteer Coordinator or Barcode Scanner

What do you do at parkruns:  I have been the volunteer coordinator at Tilgate since March, a role I really enjoy. We are lucky to have a fantastic core team and some truly inspirational volunteers who help to make the run welcoming & friendly. We get an amazing 30+ volunteers each week. Saturday morning I generally have a panic that I’ve left the roster at home when I arrive before letting the volunteers know what role they’ve been given that week, including the dreaded ‘number checker’ job! During the run I try to thank all the marshals if I’m not too out of breath.

How has parkrun changed your running:  I took part in my first parkrun two years ago after my brother told me about it; I was hooked from my first run and my running has changed beyond all recognition since then. I had been running on and off for a few years before and had entered a couple of races, but always on my own. parkrun made me feel part of a wider running community and has given me a goal each week. From parkrun I joined a local running club this year, entered more races and have met some great people.

What do you like about parkrun:  That everybody is welcome, regardless of ability, age or fitness levels. I remember feeling nervous coming for my first run but being made to feel very welcome into a friendly group. I look forward to catching up with parkrun friends each week but also challenging myself during the run and trying to improve. parkrun is a highlight of the week and a great start to each weekend! I’m keen to get my daughter involved when she is a bit older and look forward to doing her first parkrun together.

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment:  I had to miss a few months running last year with a knee injury that took longer than I hoped to recover, keeping involved as a volunteer each week kept me motivated. Whilst I was injured I brought my daughter, who is now two and a half, along each week to introduce her to both parkrun and volunteering. I’m not sure which was worse - her hitting me with a stopwatch, strangling me with a barcode scanner or hitting me on the head and demanding raisins but she always had fun!

parkrun corner

Alister Robson

Two quite small things happened at Durham parkrun this week where I’m lucky enough to be the Event Director.

I received a lovely handmade card from a junior, Izzy Jones, which said “I love Durham parkrun” which made me swell with pride. We work hard to make parkrun a family event and children are welcomed, accompanied obviously. Some of our very best volunteers are juniors, some working towards Duke of Edinburgh awards, others just because they enjoy it (more than running?).

The second was even more surprising, if that’s possible. My work colleague Simon Baker, who I’d been badgering to come down for months and maybe even years, not only came down but brought his whole family – wife Louise, son Oliver and daughter Phoebe. They had a great time and parkrun never loses its power to surprise you in nice ways.

The week before we had a major problem with one of the scanners and nearly 80 runners (we had our second highest attendance of 334 that week) either didn’t have a time or had a wrong time. One of our core team Stephen Roberts has worked tirelessly to rectify this, poring over the video and adding users as they emailed in. I’m also really grateful to the way that those affected runners reacted, accepting that “these things happen” and being incredibly patient while we sorted out the mess.

We also welcomed back ‘our’ students; those who had run before at Durham and were returning after the summer or perhaps a year studying abroad or working in industry, as well as any students who were new to the City and to Durham parkrun.

All in a couple of weeks’ work!

Alister Robson, Event Director of Durham parkrun and parkrun UK Ambassador


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

Every parkrun event relies on volunteers and in 2013 alone over 33,000 of you came forwards and supported your local event. Volunteering is a wonderful way to make friends, feel great and have fun. If that sounds like it's for you then please contact your local event team for more details.


For cancellations please check your event’s news page for the most up to date information.

upcoming anniversaries


Ashford parkrun 25th

Finsbury Park parkrun 25th

Gunnersbury parkrun 25th

Gunpowder parkrun 25th

Lloyd parkrun 25th


Aylesbury parkrun 1st

Brighton & Hove parkrun 1st

Little Stoke parkrun 1st

Oxford parkrun 1st

Sewerby parkrun 1st

Sheringham parkrun 1st

Waterworks parkrun 1st

Whitstable parkrun 1st

Blickling parkrun 8th

Highbury Fields parkrun 8th

Larne parkrun 8th

South Manchester parkrun 8th

Tonbridge parkrun 8th

Alice Holt parkrun 15th

Lincoln parkrun 15th

children at parkrun

Children under the age of eleven must be accompanied at all times by a parent, guardian or appropriate adult of the parent's choice. It must also be ensured that children place themselves appropriately at the start so as to prevent a situation where they are being repeatedly overtaken. 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 1920s 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 40 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

VitalityHealth investing in parkrun
Health insurance that rewards you for living well.

We want you to live life well. Our health insurance makes it cheaper and easier for you to get healthy with discounts on things like gym memberships, sports shoes and bikes - and motivates you with rewards like free cinema tickets to savings on holidays. And importantly, if you do get ill - we'll always ensure you have access to the best possible medical care. Discover Vitality wellness

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