welcome to the newsletter
In this week’s newsletter the Fitbit Fifty challenge gets underway, Alzheimer’s Research UK introduce the Sweaty Selfie competition, Intersport want to see our bibs, Vitality ask for our #EverydayAthlete nominations, you can have your say on the future of the UK’s beautiful parks, and I explain how our new Apricot shirts are securing the future of parkrun.
The first time I saw a parkrun 100 Club shirt I was at Bushy parkrun (then called the Bushy Park Time Trial) in the summer of 2007, and a number of the runners had these black t-shirts with a big number 100 on the back. At the time, to me at least, the concept of completing 100 parkruns seemed like something only a handful of people would ever be likely to reach.
A little over a year later I was presenting my first 50 shirt to a Woodhouse Moor parkrunner, as gradually it dawned on me that this was something anyone could achieve. What was also clear was that it took dedication and commitment, and that engaging in the process would result in the recipient gaining friendships, experiencing many highs, perhaps a few lows, and most importantly, it would give them a great sense of personal achievement. It also, rather wonderfully, resulted in a whole heap of feel-good-factor for that event’s volunteers… almost like each milestone reached is a milestone for the volunteer team as much as it’s a milestone for the individual.
Over the following years parkrun events around the world handed out 10 shirts to juniors and 50s, 100s and 250s to people of all ages. One of the world’s most meaningful forms of running recognition was born and over time it became the norm for previous non-runners to strive for their 50-shirt or elite runners to prize their parkrun club membership as highly as their ridiculously fast PBs. Most importantly, despite the massive increase in membership numbers, the achievement of reaching a parkrun milestone has never diminished.
Unfortunately, sometime around late 2014 we found ourselves in the position that the demand for these shirts was outstripping our capability to supply them, and their future looked seriously at risk. Paul Sinton-Hewitt (PSH, the Founder of parkrun) and I spent endless hours, contacting endless people, and attending endless meetings, all in an attempt to secure the future of these wonderful shirts. All to no avail.
Then, at the point when PSH and I had just about given up and were on the verge of writing to every single parkrunner with the sad news the t-shirts were no more, we met Steve Reid, the CEO and Founder of a small British clothing brand called Tribesports. As a parkrunner himself he’d become aware that we might be experiencing difficulties and had written to us to offer assistance. We agreed to meet up, and over a coffee in a London cafe we shook hands on a rather simple deal that would, in theory at least, allow us to keep the milestones alive:
Steve - It looks like you’re having problems with the milestone shirts, can we help in any way?
Me - Possibly, we need 400,000 high-quality parkrun-branded technical t-shirts, over the next five years, for free.
Steve - I think we can do that.
Me - What do you want in return?
Steve - Nothing, it’s a great thing to do.
Me - Awesome. Thanks. Another coffee?
And that was that. The wheels of industry began to turn, and within the year the first Tribesports parkrun milestone t-shirts were alive and kicking. If only everything in life was that simple.
If only it was that simple.
Those of you out there with an eye for finances and an understanding of retail will be all too aware of the challenge that Steve and I had committed to in the name of doing good things. They only had a staff of four and we were doubling in size every year; we clearly needed to do more in order to achieve something resembling a sustainable model.
So, for a whole host of reasons we decided to launch the Tribesports parkrun Apricot range of technical clothing. Partly we were responding to a long-standing demand from the parkrun community for stuff they could run in, partly we wanted to support the milestone shirts, partly we wanted to support Tribesports, and partly we wanted to support the ever-increasing running costs of delivering an ever-increasing number of free, weekly, timed parkruns.
To date, parkrun volunteers have delivered a phenomenal 17 million parkrun performances and in the next twelve months alone we’re predicting another 7.5 million. Someone joins the parkrun family every 30 seconds. One of the most frequent questions we get asked is “how can I support parkrun?”, and right now a great way to do that is to purchase some Apricot of your own. By doing so you’re helping to secure the future of the milestone t-shirts, our wonderful friends at Tribesports, and parkrun itself.
Thanks as always for your amazing parkrun passion.
Chief Operating Officer
join the Fitbit Fifty challenge!
Do you want to put all that parkrun practice to use and push yourself further than before? We’ve got just the thing.
Fitbit have partnered with fitness magazine Coach to create the Fitbit Fifty; a challenge that sees two groups of six cycle and run from Buckingham Palace to Edinburgh Castle and back again within 50 hours.
This feat is the first of its kind, and you could join the team to be a part of something amazing that’s never been attempted before.
Successful entrants will also get swag worth £2,200, including a Fitbit Surge, branded running gear and training plans from Olympian Greg Whyte.
With 50k of running and 16 hours of cycling per person, this is no small task. Think you’re up to it?
Enter on the Coach website here. There are 12 places available, and entries close on Monday 1 August.
Have you entered, or are you working on your own personal challenge? Get in touch and let us know on Twitter and Facebook. If the Fitbit Fifty isn’t quite for you but you still want other tips to reach your own fitness goals, check out our blog.
sweaty selfie competition
Summer is officially here and we want to celebrate with a competition! We know how hard you’ve been training in the hot weather and we’ve loved seeing your mid and post-run selfies coming through, so we’ve decided to reward three lucky Running Down Dementia runners for their efforts with the chance to win some fantastic prizes.
All you have to do is submit your favourite sweaty selfie to us. So the next time you’re out clocking up those all-important Running Down Dementia miles, grab your phone and capture the moment. The aim is not to look good – in fact, the sweatier the better! The selfies will be judged on creativity, inspiration and fun, so perhaps you’ve stumbled across a picturesque location on your run or maybe even bumped into someone famous!
We want to show everyone how much effort our 3,000 Running Down Dementia runners are putting in just to fundraise for us, and what better way than a snapshot mid-run?
If you’re signed up to Running Down Dementia and want to get involved in our Sweaty Selfie competition, all you have to do is post a sweaty selfie to social media (Instagram, Twitter, or the RDD Facebook group). You must include the hashtag #RDDsweatyselfie.
And most importantly, here’s a list of our winners’ tremendous prizes donated by parkrun UK’s generous partners:
1st place: Fitbit Blaze
2nd place: £75 Tribesports voucher
3rd place: £25 Tribesport voucher
The Alzheimer’s Research UK team will pick the winners, who will be contacted by email or through social media. For inspiration, here’s a picture of our Campaign Project Manager Michelle, who is rocking the sweaty look.
The competition is open from Friday 29 July and will close on Saturday 13 August, so you’ll have a chance to capture that sweaty selfie at three parkruns! We can’t wait to see your photos.
Don’t forget to read the terms and conditions before submitting your pictures.
Earlier this year Intersport supplied new high vis bibs to parkrun volunteers across the country, and it’s great to see how useful they have been in making volunteers recognisable and safe.
A few months on, it’s time to #showusyourbibs! You have all looked great in your bibs and we’d love you to share your favourite images from your local parkrun.
It is after all thanks to the volunteers and run directors that parkrun is such a success each week. From marshalling and timing to results processing, their role is vital in making parkrun happen.
Upload your pictures to Twitter @Intersport_UK #loveparkrun like @jo_manley from Wimbledon parkrun, and like us on Facebook to keep up with what’s going on and maybe you could make the newsletter next week.
Remember that you can claim 10% off all purchases at Intersport with your parkrun barcode, as an ongoing parkrun partnership price #PPP* Find your nearest store and pop in to chat to us and try on some new gear.
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.
Just over 12 months ago, Jane Platts was overweight, grieving and hardly able to walk. After her 60th birthday, she decided to turn things around...
"It was so hard trying to get my life back on track – I wasn’t sleeping, I was depressed and I had problems with both of my Achilles tendons. I was also morbidly obese. As I approached 60, I knew that if I didn’t take control I’d head into a downward spiral, running the risk of some really serious health problems."
Find out how Jane's local parkrun, and Vitality, helped her to transform her health. Read the full story here.
Are you a Vitality member like Jane and has parkrun helped you transform your health? If so we would love to hear from you.
Are you inspired by Jane’s story to get active? Follow what Vitality are doing with their #EverydayAthlete campaign, and why not nominate a parkrun #EverydayAthlete who deserves a pat on the back and you could win some great prizes!
parks inquiry – have your say
The Communities and Local Government Committee has launched 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, via a short online survey or on Twitter explaing why you value your local parks and using the hashtag #myparkmatters. parkrun UK will also be submitting a comprehensive written response.
Here are this week’s summary statistics for parkrun UK (including junior parkrun)
random stat of the week
There were 853 volunteer tourists at UK 5ks last weekend. That’s 12% of all volunteers who were helping to make the parkrun magic happen at an event that is not their home run.
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
Saturday 16 July was a special parkrun for me, as I became the first person to complete 50 parkruns at Market Harborough parkrun. I thought I might get a little mention at the start, but I got more than I bargained for! I was adorned with a 50 sash and balloon to wear all the way around and had so many fellow runners congratulating me out on the course. The day was extra special to me as my parents came to watch and were on the finish line to see me complete run number 50. Thank you to the parkrun team at Market Harborough for making my 50th run a truly memorable occasion and one that I will treasure for a very long time!
Did my first ever parkrun on Saturday. Had a lovely tail runner as I was the last. It was hard work in the heat but I blooming did it. I had a bit of a cry at the end, not out of sadness but pride that I managed it. Thanks all.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed volunteering recently at Glossop parkrun. Saturday was a beautiful and sunny day for tail-running and I ended up running with Eric Gebbett. Whilst running the classic three-and-a-bit lap course, we were greeted with a stream of support “well done, Eric”… “keep going, Eric”… it seemed that everybody knew Eric’s name – what a guy! I just hope that when I reach the 80-84 age bracket I have half the enthusiasm and drive that Eric does – an inspiration to runners of all ages and abilities. I fully recommend volunteering at parkrun to everyone who enjoys participating in the event – you meet and see an amazing bunch of people, and you get to help and support a plethora of different runners with different abilities.
parkrunner of the week
If you feel somebody at a parkrun should feature as our parkrunner of the week, please get them to fill out this handy online form - you can even apply yourself!
Name: Jim Price
Home parkrun: Basildon
Occupation: Disaster Recovery Manager
Number of runs: 29
What do you do at parkruns: I am currently running in combats and carrying a 30lb bergen, so at the moment I am going through the pain barrier every week at parkrun!
How has parkrun changed your running: I hadn’t run since being injured in the army 20 years ago and decided that I need to get fit again. I started the parkrun as it is local and the online information is really helpful keeping track of your improvement. The support you get is so helpful and everybody is friendly so I decided to go back time and time again. At first I couldn’t get round the first lap without stopping but now I have completed a half marathon and the Hadleigh Tough 10.
What do you like about parkrun: I love how friendly everybody is and how everybody, whether they are running or volunteering, encourage you to go faster. My health has improved so much since starting and parkrun has helped me advance to longer distances. Without the parkrun I wouldn't have been fit enough to raise money for ABF soldiers charity and the support I have had from organisers and runners is incredible.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: Completing the 5k for the first time without stopping was a great feeling. I have recently beaten my target of 24 minutes and now I have got a target of getting in the top 500 of all time. Hopefully running in boots and carrying weight will help me go faster once I revert back to trainers.