Thank you, thank you, thank you

Between thunderstorms, alarms and pets, one junior parkrunday for me recently was fuelled by coffee. A lot of coffee. Getting up at 6.30am to walk the dog and then shuffle my way to my junior event seemed quite a challenge and I did ponder when I became a bit nuts to sign up to be an Event Director with mornings like this. But there's one reason I did. Not the commitment I made to parkrun (sorry PSH), nor for the love of parkrun, but because it's not just my event, it's our communities' event. The communities surrounding our park who thank us every week...

Avenham Park Community

That week two 4 year old girls stopped me in my tracks as they wanted to say "thank you". It was their first time and they had "really enjoyed it".

It occurred to me at that point that during every junior parkrun event we have held (ok we're only on our 6th!) at least one junior, or a parent had thanked me, and at times all of our volunteers.

Avenham Park junior parkrun Event 1, 31 July 2016 020

Then there's the family who thanked me as their young sons aren't confident enough to do the local 5k parkrun, so the boys love having their own event.

There was the one who rushed up to me to ask if he could come next week as, “It's all downhill, and awesome, and thank you, and bye". I'm pretty sure he didn't take a breath through his entire excited statement! (He'd also forgotten about the 1k of uphill too!)

Then the week after a shy lad, behind the legs of his mum said “Thank you very much" and ran off to play in the park with his brother.

I found myself thanking the brilliant juniors who started popping their parents names down on the volunteer board, as they said "I'm coming so mum can help".

Avenham Park junior parkrun Event 5, 4 September 2016 142

Then our first finishers thank our second and third finishers as good sportsmen and women do, and thank the volunteers, even when they are running past so fast! These thanks seem to be spreading! I then pass the thanks on to my squad of high-vis-wearing brilliant volunteers. I am also surprised when new, and experienced volunteers thank me as they enjoy themselves! These are our usual suspects...

Avenham Park junior parkrun Event 1, 31 July 2016 016

Just like parkrun, a simple thank you is free, but as I've found they can make a big difference to the volunteers on the day. Especially those fuelled on coffee. A lot of coffee.

So thank you junior parkrun for giving me a brilliant community to spend my Sunday mornings with, come rain or shine.


Alaina Chesney
Event Director
Avenham Park junior parkrun, Preston


a huge step


In this week’s newsletter, Fiona Sefton tells us how parkrun has had a significant impact on her son Adam, and we encourage you to explain why you value your local parks and open spaces. 

21-year-old Adam Sefton recently took part in a 5k race without anyone from his family running alongside him. Without knowing Adam you could be forgiven for wondering why this was such an enormous achievement, so we asked his mum Fiona to explain.

"My son Adam has a learning disability. This means he doesn’t have the same level of understanding and communication skills as other people his age. As a result he finds it harder to learn new things and needs to be told things in a simpler way. Adam needs support when travelling to most places; for example he needed training to enable him to walk the mile to college on his own. As well as his learning disability, he has speech difficulties and had a delay in walking, running and jumping. His disability is an undiagnosed syndrome but presents very similar to Cerebral Palsy.

In 2013, when Adam was 18, a friend of mine asked everyone who was attending her wedding if they would go with her to York parkrun the day before she got married. I thought it was great, and I asked Adam if he’d like to go along with me. As he was coming to the end of his schooling and wouldn’t even have PE to keep him even the tiniest bit active, I knew that we needed to find something he enjoyed. 

I don’t know how Adam felt before that first parkrun, but I was definitely intrigued to see how he would do. Adam talked to his dad and I the whole way around, and he really enjoyed it. Initially Adam was really excited to see his improvement week after week. He got a PB every week for about eight weeks!

We do parkrun together with a run/walk strategy. Being part of parkrun has had a huge effect on Adam’s confidence, and mine. He likes to go and see the friendly people we’ve met, and he still talks to me all the way around – so I know he could go faster if he wanted to and leave me well and truly behind! 

Each summer there is a local 5k race (the men’s version of Race for Life). As it is a men’s only race, I’m not allowed to take part, and his dad couldn’t run with him this year. Adam has participated twice before, but I wasn’t sure if he’d want to run on his own. However, to our surprise, Adam asked to take part. Not having anyone to talk to or support him around the course would be a huge step for someone who loves to talk/sign his way around. 

Not only did Adam complete the race and enjoy it, his pace was similar to parkrun. This meant he stuck to his run/walk intervals. The confidence Adam showed to do this was amazing and I can’t wait to see what he decides to do next.

Both parkrun and running by himself have helped Adam to develop the social skills to be able to talk to people and not be afraid to ask for help, and he has just started a course to prepare him to enter the world of work. His health and fitness are fantastic, and I am certain that’s because he wants to run. He’s not so keen on getting up early on a Saturday morning mind you, but the promise of a cup of tea when we finish usually gets him out of bed!"

Fiona Sefton


introducing the Flex 2

FitbitThe original Fitbit Flex is one of our most popular tracking devices. It's slim, simple to wear and easy to incorporate into your everyday routine. So how can we make something so good even better for you?

Introducing the Flex 2: our first swim-tracking device. Never miss logging a pool session again, as the new and improved Flex 2 lets you go from dry land to a dunk in the deep end or even the ocean.

Flex 2 has Smart Track built in –automatically track activities like running, sports and aerobic workouts, then see exercise summaries in the Fitbit app.

Plus track swimming automatically and never worry about making a splash – from bubble baths to beach days, we have it covered. Even the washing up!

And just like the original Fitbit Flex, the Flex 2 still makes monitoring your fitness goals effortless with automatic all-day activity, exercise, and sleep tracking to show how your entire day adds up, keeping you motivated.

You can also stay connected, receiving notifications of incoming texts and calls to your phone. 30% smaller than the original Flex, the Flex 2 is even more minimalist, and the range of coloured elastomer bands as well as pendants, bracelets and designer accessories make it even easier to coordinate with your lifestyle.

Sounding good? We thought so! Read more on the Flex 2 here and have a closer look on our store – it's now available for pre-order to be shipped in October.

Please note that this new product is not currently available in the parkrun discount store.

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Reigate running inspiration

Intersport: Last weekend was even more special than usual, as on top of it's fabulous parkrun, Reigate was host to the Intersport Run Reigate Half Marathon and 10K. It was fantastic to see so many parkrunners at these events, as we know that many of you used your parkrun as part of your training. 

We really enjoyed meeting lots of you at Reigate Priory parkrun, including Alex Heffer who ran the 10K on Sunday, and Run Director Paul Chandler who himself took on the half marathon (pictured above with the race director). We were also filming in Reigate so watch this space! 

There was a fantastic and inspiring atmosphere in Reigate all weekend, made even more special by the presence of Dame Kelly Holmes. Dame Kelly is a strong supporter of parkrun and was the official starter of the Half Marathon and 10K. What a true running icon she is. Our friends from Brooks Running were also with us in the race village, supporting the race. We love their “Run Happy” motto and how passionate they are about promoting a healthy, active lifestyle.

Thank you to everyone who turned up to run, cheer, support and volunteer, and congratulations to all those who crossed the finish lines at events and races all over the country last weekend.

Autumn is always a fantastic season for running and if you’re after more gear, remember that you can claim 10% off at Intersport as part of our ongoing parkrun partnership price #PPP*. Simply show your parkrun barcode in store (#DFYB!) to claim 10% off running products or use code PARKRUN10 to claim 10% off your entire order online**.

We are always on hand with plenty of expert advice, from tips about running through to gait analysis and finding your perfect shoe; find your nearest store here.

Make sure that you keep sending us your pictures via Twitter @Intersport_UK andInstagram with#loveparkrun and like us onFacebook. 

See you at your next parkrun!

*PPP valid at all participating Intersport stores; see our website for details.
** Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion.

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Running Down Dementia update 

ARUK: Yesterday was World Alzheimer’s Day and we’d love to tell you about some of the new grants Alzheimer’s Research UK is funding this year, made possible because of our generous supporters’ fundraising.

Scientists at the University of Oxford are set to benefit from a £200,000 funding boost. Out of that money, in the first ever project awarded by Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Global Clinical Trials Fund, Professor Jane Armitage at the University of Oxford will receive £155,000 to study whether aspirin or omega-3 fish oils have an effect on memory and thinking skills in people with diabetes. 

Dr Selina Wray, from University College London, has been awarded more than £400,000 to investigate how the protein tau, which builds up in the brain in Alzheimer's, causes damage to brain cells and leads to the devastating symptoms of the disease.

In Scotland, Edinburgh dementia scientists are set to benefit from more than £600,000 of new funding from Alzheimer’s Research UK. Dr Iris Oren has secured nearly £50,000 for a year-long pilot project to develop advanced molecular techniques to study how tau spreads through the brains of mice with features of Alzheimer's.

The charity has also awarded Prof Karen Horsburgh over £560,000 to lead a three-year major project examining how changes to the brain's blood supply might contribute to the symptoms of Alzheimer's and vascular dementia. 

Dementia researchers based at The University of Nottingham have been awarded £13,000 of new funding from Alzheimer’s Research UK for state-of-the-art equipment that will help scientists reveal more about the genetics of diseases like Alzheimer's. The equipment will help to extract genetic information from brain tissue generously donated by people who died with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

Finally, a research team led by Prof Chris Fox from the University of East Anglia (UEA) will benefit from a £260,000 funding boost. The research will see them shed new light on the factors driving Alzheimer’s disease together with a linked condition, delirium.

Alongside an international team from Norway, Sweden and Ireland, and investigators from King’s College London and the University of Edinburgh, UEA will study the effect of hip fractures on the rate of decline in people with dementia.

For more information about our latest funding, visit our news page.


parks consultation – have your say

The Communities and Local Government Committee is conducting an inquiry into public parks, to examine the impact of reduced local authority budgets on these open spaces and consider concerns that their existence is under threat.

The Committee wants to encourage as many people as possible to contribute to the inquiry before it closes next week.

You can have your say via a short online survey or on Twitter explaining why you value your local parks and using the hashtag #myparkmatters.

parkrun UK will also be submitting a comprehensive written response.


parkrun population

This week’s UK statistics for parkrun and junior parkrun:

97,333 parkrunners
9,698 volunteers
6,947 first-timers 
20,511 PBs


random stat of the week

13 parkruns around the world celebrated their anniversary last weekend. Late August is the most common start date, and the weekend of 26 August 2017 will see the anniversaries of 40 events.


feedback from the field

Mark Houghton

I'm a regular volunteer at Lancaster parkrun and have been Run Director a few times. I prefer to volunteer rather than run because 5k is a bit short for me.

Last weekend I did the equivalent of 27 parkruns when I ran 81 miles in three days for my local hospice and it was such a pleasure to have so many parkrun friends with me for my last day.

I love volunteering at parkruns as it's such a positive experience for everyone. And every single person there is an athlete.

Mark Houghton

Stratford upon Avon parkrun is very proud of our JM10 runner, Alex Adams, who won the Junior Great North Run earlier this month.

Back at Stratford parkrun, it's a family affair for Alex's family with mum and dad Emily and Tim, big brother Ollie and gran Cindy all regularly running and volunteering.

Alex now has a huge silver cup and was congratulated by Olympic Gold Heptathlete Denise Lewis.

Simon Teale

At Montacute parkrun this week we were joined by Cass Castleton who has run 218 parkruns in 65 different locations.

By completing Yeovil Montacute he’s now completed the full parkrun alphabet – the 24 letters in England plus Zary in Poland (there is no “X” – though it was suggested he went to our neighbours in “’Xeter”!).

He’s run parkruns in every country there is one and every region of the UK, so he’s now off to volunteer in every region too (hence he was tail runner here this week).

Last week he completed a 100k race – he had the organisers delay his start time so he could fit in Fulham Palace parkrun first. Cass we salute you!

Martin Chaffey

I did my very first parkrun with one of my boxer dogs, Henry, at Lullingstone parkrun on 10 September.

He was so excited before the start and had a brilliant time going around. We joined the Kent Canicross Group a short while ago, so haven't been doing canicross that long and I thought I would see how he would be at an event with lots of people.

All the volunteers did a great job – keep up the good work Lullingstone parkrun!

Amanda Allen-Maher

Let us know if you have an interesting parkrun story or photo to share.


a more active nation


In this week’s newsletter, Graham Evans MP tells us about his love of running, and we have news of two exciting new partnerships.

Graham Evans MP is the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Running. The purpose of the group is to encourage running as a sport nationally, support constituency running and athletics clubs, and help employers and businesses of all sizes to encourage running in the workplace. Graham tells us why he is so passionate about promoting parkrun.

“I have always been interested in running and keeping fit. When I was growing up in Poynton I would run along the beautiful Midland Way and around Lyme Park. 

I first heard about parkrun from my wife, Cheryl, and it appealed because it was something we could do together as a family. Our first parkrun was brilliant, and the whole family have been hooked ever since. I love the fact that you can just turn up to a free event aimed entirely at getting you out into the fresh air and off the sofa. It’s suitable for all ages and all abilities and there are parkruns to take part in across the country.

I spend most of the week down in London, which limits the number of times I can get out for a run. Parliament is a massive place with so many corridors, staircases and halls to cross and my Fitbit tells me I do about 16,000 steps on a normal day of running around to meetings and votes; but then I try to get at least one or two proper runs in when I’m down there. At home during the weekend, constituency work permitting, we tend to go to Bramhall parkrun as a family. My children are very proficient runners and we all really enjoy getting out in the fresh air and running together as a family.

I’m also the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Running Group, which seeks to play a part in making this a healthier, fitter country by raising the profile of running with MPs, opinion formers, and within our constituencies. Because parkrun is all about encouraging people to lead more active lifestyles, I try to promote it as much as possible. We usually take part in Bramhall parkrun, but other local events to us are Lyme Park, Wilmslow, Delamere and Marple. 

In an age when we are all concerned about the nation’s growing obesity problem, I view parkruns and running in general as a terrific way to help us all become a little less like couch potatoes! I’m also a massive fan of junior parkrun and school running projects that encourage young people to run every day and become more active. As with so many things it’s all about education, and if we can help children enjoy running and understand the benefits of it at an early age this can only help them later on in life. 

In the long term I believe that a more active nation produces a more successful one, and one that will ultimately put less strain on our NHS. Running is a wonderful way to get out in the open, get fit, and speaking from a personal point of view it offers me a period of time where I can think away from phone calls, meetings and all the pressures that go along with being an MP. 

I encourage everyone to get involved with their local parkrun – as runners, joggers, walkers and volunteers!" 

Graham Evans MP


thank you!

Intersport: Last week Intersport teamed up with ASICS to offer parkrunners a free pair of limited edition ASICS headphones to pick up in store or via Instagram #ShoeWithAView

Thank you so much to everyone who got involved – over 600 pictures were posted online in the first few days and we have enjoyed meeting lots of you in store as you’ve been popping in with your parkrun barcode to claim your exclusive pair of headphones.

We were overwhelmed with the response and despite having 10,000 pairs to give away, it meant that we unfortunately couldn’t supply headphones to everyone who visited our stores or who posted a photo. Our apologies to those who missed out.  It has however proved what a great running community parkrun is (which we obviously already knew!), with all your pictures coming in to Instagram of your ASICS #ShoeWithAView.

We’ve loved seeing your favourite running spots, from cities and beaches to woods and hills! The first 100 entrants who uploaded a photo of their running shoes tagging in and including #ShoeWithAView received a free pair of headphones in the post.  

Remember that you can claim 10% off at Intersport as part of our ongoing parkrun partnership price #PPP*. Simply show your parkrun barcode in store (#DFYB!) to claim 10% off running products or use code PARKRUN10 to claim 10% off your entire order online at**

We are always on hand with plenty of expert advice from tips about running through to gait analysis to find your perfect shoe, find your nearest store hereMake sure that you keep sending us your pictures via Twitter @Intersport_UK and Instagram with #loveparkrun and like us on Facebook.

See you at your next parkrun!

*PPP valid at all participating Intersport stores; see our website for details. ** Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion.


Running Down Dementia update 

ARUK: If you’re one of nearly 4,000 wonderful runners taking part in Running Down Dementia we’ve got a few updates for you.

Firstly, the campaign will sadly be drawing to a close on Monday 31 October. But the good news is that it means you still have over six weeks to get to your £100 and 100km targets! And better still, Running Down Dementia is going out with a bang as Alzheimer’s Research UK staff plan to join you at six selected parkruns throughout the country on Saturday 29 October as you clock up your final kilometres.

The six parkruns will be spread over the country across the following regions: London, Cambridge, Durham, Yorkshire, Scotland and the Midlands, keep your eyes on our Facebook page for more information. We’d love you all to join us at one of the parkruns in your Running Down Dementia t-shirts. If you still don’t have one you can buy one here

If you go to the Running Down Dementia website you’ll now be able to see a few changes we’ve made. The first is the new countdown clock which gives you all a reminder of how long you have left to complete the challenge.

The second thing we’ve added is our new wall of fame – The 100km Club. The 100km Club features all those who have run over 100km or are near to crossing the finishing line, along with how much they’ve raised for the challenge to date. We know how hard all of you have worked and we’d like to reward you all with some well-deserved recognition for all you’ve done to help dementia research.


so many ways to run 5k

Fitbit: 5k. Five kilometres. Five thousand metres. It sounds like a lot, right? It doesn’t have to. Despite how daunting it may sound, almost anyone can run 5k. Yes, that includes you too! And of course a parkrun is a 5k.

It can be a starting point, a way to mix up an existing routine or a harder push. A 5k can be used in so many ways, so whether you’ve never run before or are looking to give your training that extra push, here’s how you can use a 5k, whatever stage you’re at. 

Ideal for beginners: Aiming to run 5k without stopping is a great first goal for runners. By training towards this goal and slowly reaching it you’ll establish pace and breathing as well as maintaining an elevated heart rate. Pick up the pace: When you have a little more experience, try to find a track so that you can run continuously without distractions and run 3-4 ‘warm up’ laps. 

Then run a lap at almost your top speed to elevate your heart rate, then rest for the same time it took for you to run that last lap. Repeat this routine 3-4 times. Then recover fully before running a half lap and resting for the rest, and repeating again 3-4 times. This will help to build stamina and endurance for running longer distances.

Try Fartleks, ‘fartlek’ means ‘speed play’ in Swedish. These exercises allow you to experience speed without burning out - try running for 30-60 seconds at a high speed, then slow down to recover your breath, and run hard again. Mix it up with 30 second and 60 second bursts in between resting to keep the variety.

Go long: When running longer distances, aim to run for 60-80 minutes. It’s long enough to tire your large muscle groups, yet still engage the fast-twitch muscle fibres that you need to speed up. You’ll also increase your cardiovascular infrastructure which lets you process more oxygen at a faster pace, making it more efficient for your run.

So now you know! For our full blog on how a 5k can help you, click hereDon’t forget to keep track of your progress with a Fitbit – parkrunners receive an exclusive discount on devices, so take advantage of it and browse the store.

Happy running!



parkrun partners with Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre

parkrun has teamed up with sports scientists, engineers, psychologists and public health experts from Sheffield Hallam University to develop ways to improve the health and wellbeing of the UK population.

The new partnership, which was launched at Sheffield Hallam parkrun on Saturday, will enable academics at the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre to look at how parkruns are impacting on health outcomes and conduct research into the nation's physical activity levels.

Click here to read more about the partnership and to watch a short video from the launch event. 


parkrun and GoodGym join forces to help vulnerable people

parkrun and GoodGym, two of the UK’s biggest providers of free, organised physical activity and volunteering, have joined forces in an exciting new partnership to extend their positive impact. 

GoodGym is a growing movement of runners who combine exercise with helping their communities. Members stop off on runs to support isolated older people, and to do manual labour for local organisations. 

Following the partnership launch at Mile End parkrun on Saturday, a group of people ran to Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park and planted 1,500 bulbs and cleared ivy from gravestones. 

Through the partnership, parkrunners will be invited to GoodGym runs and GoodGym runners will be invited to parkrun. GoodGym runners have carried out thousands of runs to help older people in London and Bristol, and the aim is to launch in every city in the UK by 2018.

Further details will be announced shortly, and the full press release is available here.


parkrun population

This week’s UK statistics for parkrun and junior parkrun:

90,384 parkrunners
9,755 volunteers
6,329 first timers
16,051 PBs 


random stat of the week

51.7% of the quarter of a million new walkers, joggers and runners welcomed to UK parkrun events this year have been women and girls.


feedback from the field


Members of King’s Lynn parkrun gathered together on a wet Saturday to celebrate their fifth anniversary.

Having completed the normal 5k parkrun many continued the theme by launching into a 24-hour Marathon, with runners completing the parkrun course, for an hour of their choosing, until 9am on Sunday.

It proved a very successful event with more than 180 individuals taking part, running 1,288 miles collectively and raising just over £900 towards improvements to the park.

Gary Walker


I usually parkrun to chase PBs, but not this year though - I'm now eight months pregnant, and parkrun has helped me embrace a totally different approach to running.

As I've slowed, I'm running in new parts of the Hackney Marshes parkrun pack and thanks to this I've met so many new people and other new parents who've been a great source of information and inspiration, especially those women getting back into it again after giving birth.

It has been great to meet other happy, healthy, preggers and very inspiring parkrunners!

Kelly Clark

Let us know if you have an interesting parkrun story or photo to share.

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