weekly newsletter 14 July 2016

welcome to the newsletter


In this week’s newsletter we find out more about Alzheimer’s Research UK, Intersport has new season kit for us, Fitbit inspire us, the Great British Tennis Weekend is served up, we get an update on the HALO running study, and Lucy Frankenburg shares a special memory.

This is a photo of my Dad, my husband and I at the Burgess parkrun start line on 11 July 2015 – one year ago last weekend.

It's not the most flattering photo (and we looked even worse at the finish line!), but it means so much to me, as it was my first parkrun post-baby and my dad's first after starting cancer treatment. Sadly, it was also his last, as he died in the autumn.

A couple of years before this photo was taken, I was doing absolutely no exercise, despite my best intentions. My dad and husband were both keen runners, and over the years I attempted many, many times to get into it. But as soon as it got difficult (which was about three minutes in because I was so unfit) I would lose motivation and give up.

Then one Saturday morning, determined to try my new, optimistically purchased sports bra, I dragged my bewildered husband out of bed and to Burgess parkrun.

The next 36 minutes were among the most horrendous of my life. Having subsequently had a baby, I can say that childbirth was worse only because it took longer. Usually I would never have endured such hardship, but because it was organised, because there was a finish line, and I was going to get an official time, I kept going. I was the last person to cross the finish line, and yet I felt elated and overwhelmed by the support at the end. My legs were so stiff I was hobbling for a week, but I took great joy in announcing to everyone I met that I had run 5k.

A few weeks later, we were visiting my parents in Nottingham and I surprised my Dad by suggesting we run Rushcliffe parkrun together. I had thought my second parkrun would be easier, but disappointingly I was wrong. However, when my time came through, I was astonished to see that it was one minute faster. And just like that, I was hooked.

Over the next year, entirely motivated by the buzz of parkrun, I became a runner. I discovered that Burgess Park was a beautiful oasis amongst the tower blocks of south London. I started running midweek, sometimes with my husband, sometimes on my own. I ran up all the hills and did circuits round the lake. I knocked 14 minutes off my PB. And just the once, I was first female finisher at Burgess. What a journey from that first parkrun.

I ran through my pregnancy and when my baby was new and I felt like my body was no longer my own, running gave me a sense of myself back. I ran to deal with the stress of my dad's melanoma diagnosis. I ran through the grief when he died 20 months later.

There are still days when I don't feel like running. It's easy to make excuses when you've got a baby keeping you awake during the night and are busy, busy, busy during the day. But there's something about parkrun that keeps me running, when all my life I've been a quitter. I don't know quite what it is – the buzz of chasing PBs? The cheers at the finish line? The friendships forged over post-parkrun breakfasts and coffees?

It's all of those things and more. parkrun has completely changed my life, and my next challenge is to establish a local junior parkrun. I am especially thankful for the memories of running with my dad, and for the fact that my daughter will grow up seeing exercise as fun and sociable and part of normal life.

Lucy Frankenburg
A472316

about Alzheimer’s Research UK


In this week’s newsletter we’d like to tell you all a bit more about Alzheimer’s Research UK and what we do. We are thrilled to see that so many of you signed up to Running Down Dementia, but many of you will not be aware of the fantastic research we are funding with your generous support.

What is Alzheimer’s Research UK?
It is the UK’s leading dementia research charity. The charity powers world class studies that give the best chance of beating dementia sooner. Its scientists’ ground-breaking work focuses on prevention, treatment and cure.

How many people in the UK have dementia?
More than 850,000 people in the UK are currently living with dementia. Worldwide the figure stands at more than 44 million. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for around two thirds of cases in the elderly.

How is dementia currently treated?
While some treatments can help people to live with their symptoms a little better, there are no treatments that slow or stop diseases like Alzheimer’s. This means that the diseases will continue to get worse over time unless new treatments can be found quickly. Alzheimer’s Research UK is leading the charge to find these treatments and preventions.

How is Alzheimer’s Research UK helping?
Last year supporters’ donations helped to fund 62 new projects and pioneering initiatives. Alzheimer’s Research UK is currently supporting dementia research projects worth more than £33 million in leading Universities across the UK. The charity has also launched its Drug Discovery Alliance, a £30m network of Drug Discovery Institutes in Cambridge, Oxford and London, working to translate promising research into much needed new treatments.

How can I help?
Because Alzheimer’s Research UK receives no government funding, the charity is completely dependent on the generosity of supporters to fund its research programme. You can help in a number of ways, such as getting sponsored to do a sporting or fundraising event (including Running Down Dementia), holding a fundraiser at your school or workplace, volunteering to do collections, joining or setting up a support group, or you can always become one of our media volunteers. To get more ideas visit our website.

new season kit for you


As a proud partner of parkrun, we like to know that you’re all looking and feeling your best as you complete your weekly runs. We’ve always believed that the more you enjoy doing something, the more you do it – and having the right kit can really put a spring in your step and enhance performance.

With this in mind we have lots of new season running gear in store this month, from all the brands. Whether you’re looking for new running shoes, a technical t-shirt or the latest capri tights, we have a great selection.

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 try on some new season gear. We’ll be on hand with plenty of advice about running and always love to hear your parkrun stories. Just don’t forget your barcode! #DFYB

Keep the pictures coming on Twitter @Intersport_UK #loveparkrun and make sure you like us on Facebook to keep up with what’s going on.

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.

overcoming adversity


We all know the feeling of “I just can’t do it”. Whether it’s a running injury or you’re running low on motivation, it can be hard to accept an obstacle and move on.

One man who knows that more than anyone is regular Crosby parkrunner, Andy Grant. Andy was injured when he served in Afghanistan and lost his leg. Despite this life-altering event, Andy saw it as a challenge instead of a set back.

Andy has been training to beat the 10K running world record for below the knee single amputee, and is well on his way to achieving it armed with his Fitbit Surge.

So how does he find the energy to push on in the face of adversity?

As well as setting small, manageable goals, Andy believes one of the most important things is to maintain a positive attitude and change your perspective. He says:

“Remember that life is only 10% of the situation you’re currently in, and 90% what you choose to do about it!”

Read Andy’s inspiring blog in full, here. His record attempt is this week, so stay tuned with Fitbit on Facebook and Twitter to see how he gets on.

You can also get a Fitbit with an exclusive parkrun discount to track your progress as you keep pushing forwards. Shop here!

great british tennis weekend


Get outdoors and play tennis for free this weekend at a Great British Tennis Weekend. Thousands of free events will be taking place across the country at parks and clubs that will offer fun activities and games for the whole family.

Rackets and balls will be provided and absolutely anyone can get involved. Whether you’ve never picked up a racket before or are a seasoned regular – we’d love to have you along. There will even be a special promotion on offer by the venue on the day. All ability levels are welcome so book your session today.

HALO study running research


More than 2,500 parkrunners have now taken part in the HALO Study, a project conducted by researchers at the University of Nottingham. It was launched in 2015 and aims to identify the effects of running on joint function, symptoms and health. Everyone aged over 18 – regardless of running ability or whether or not you have joint problems – is invited to take part.

It is fantastic that so many people have kindly taken the time to provide the information needed. The aim is to ensure that everyone can enjoy running throughout their lives, and hopefully the research will contribute towards this goal.

Further details of the HALO Study can be found on the Centre website.

The questionnaire can be found here and a paper version is also available. If you wish to contact the research team, you can do so by email.

Richard Leech
PhD Researcher, University of Nottingham

parkrun population


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

84,077 parkrunners
8,847 volunteers
6,044 first-timers
14,323 PBs

random stat of the week


25,246 of the walks, jogs and runs at UK parkruns last weekend took place away from the participant’s home event. Find us here in the UK and further afield. Your barcode really is your passport to parkrun!

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


‘Just 1k to go’ – the joy of being the tail runner. Michael, Event Director at Moira junior parkrun on a rather miserable day, ensuring that everyone gets to the finish.
Michael Snoddy


I had the pleasure of attending Cwmbran parkrun in Wales on 9 July. The location is very easy to find and has plenty of parking, which is always a concern when being a tourist. I was immediately made to feel very welcome by Tim, who explained the course to me. And what a course! Lovely, running alongside a river with the birds singing, even the rain could not stop my enjoyment, it was a real tonic. The great thing is that this run was the fourth parkrun organised in Cwmbran and you would never have known it was so new because it was so professionally run. The volunteers were brilliant and the local runners were so very supportive too. Thanks, I will definitely be returning.
Mick Miles


I'd like to thank the Dunfermline parkrun team and congratulate them on their first anniversary. It was my younger daughter's first parkrun and she laughed all the way around as I pushed her in the buggy, especially when the volunteers were blowing bubbles at us. We also enjoyed the cakes at the finish – thanks Dunfermline!
Neil Anderson


I recently completed my tour of all 22 parkruns in Northern Ireland. They were all brilliant. What did I love most? The one-lap courses - Citypark, Enniskillen. The scenery - Larne, Antrim, Ballymena. The hills - Falls Park, Wallace Park and, the top test, Colin Glen. The historic settings - Stormont, Derry City, Armagh. The food afterwards - Bangor, Queen’s. The numerous corners - Carrickfergus. The fast courses - Victoria, Ormeau. The friendly welcome - all of them, especially Comber and Cookstown. The smaller crowds - Limavady. The wonderful volunteers - all of them but especially Waterworks and Valley. And, to cap it all, the beach at Portrush. What a place to finish my tour. I enjoyed them all. This tour made a 75-year-old feel young again. Thank you everyone!
Thomas Fee


Thanks so much to Lowestoft parkrun. The family and I are normally found at Chelmsford parkrun and recently we were parkrun tourists at Lowestoft. We had a lovely welcome from the run director and marshalls and were made to feel part of the Lowestoft parkrun family with a mention in the run brief and 'hi-fiving the person next to you!' Thank you to core teams and marshals everywhere – you are all awesome!
Apryl Hammett


Ruth Benzimra from Wolverhampton and the 100 Marathon Club completed her 250th parkrun with us at Peter Pan parkrun. This was after being involved in the #seaofhull. We had other parkrunners and some volunteers who also took part in this amazing event. Well done from us all at Peter Pan! It was definitely a great way to celebrate 250 runs after being included in our city of culture photo shoot.
David Bell

parkrunner of the week


Name:  Olivia Deacon

Club:  Notts Women Runners

Age:  45

Home parkrun:  Gedling

Occupation:  Homemaker and logistics coordinator for five children and a husband

Number of runs:  33

Favourite volunteer role:  Tail runner

What do you do at parkruns:  Many roles including marshal, tail runner, timekeeper, barcode scanner and recently run directing for the juniors

How has parkrun changed your running:  It has enabled me to gain confidence around other like-minded runners and push myself to have a go at being involved in regular social running and volunteering, which seemed a really daunting prospect at first but I love it!

What do you like about parkrun:  The friendly faces each week, the amazing support, the personal achievement, the diversity and inclusiveness of people who meet up on a Saturday, the social aspect of running, and the ‘come and have a go at something new attitude of volunteering’!

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment:  My most memorable moment was my first time run directing for Gedling junior parkrun. I was so nervous that I had written notes to make sure I covered everything, planned where the volunteers and all the signs would be before my debut, and checked all the kit was present and correct! All went well, and a few weeks later I repeated the experience feeling a little more relaxed. I'm starting to feel like I am getting the hang of it, and allowing myself to enjoy the role with further weeks planned on the roster in the run director shoes.

reminders

the parkrun store

barcode reminder

barcode

Printed barcodes are used at all parkrun events to record your result. No barcode, no time, no exception. To retrieve and print your barcode, click here. To order a barcode wristband, which can also include your name, emergency contact details, and any medical conditions, please follow this link.
Don't forget your barcode #dfyb

children at parkrun

We welcome children at parkrun. Please note that those under the age of 11 must be within arm's reach of a parent, guardian or designated adult of the parents' choice whilst attending 5k parkrun events. Children aged 4 to 14 can run unaccompanied at our junior parkrun events.

You can read the latest junior parkrun newsletter here.

volunteering at parkrun

Every event relies on volunteers and in 2015 alone more than 68,000 of you came forward to support the parkrun community. Volunteering is a wonderful way to make friends, feel great and have fun. If that sounds like it's for you please contact your local event team and get involved.

cancellations

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

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.

official charity partner

Alzheimer's Research UK

our sponsors

Vitality investing in parkrun
Changing health and life insurance for good.

Vitality is insurance that rewards you for being healthy. It's there to protect you when things go wrong unexpectedly but it's also there to help you lead a healthier life - meaning you don't have to claim to be able to benefit. If you keep well, then you're less likely to claim. That means it costs us less to look after you. We think that if we're saving money, you should benefit from that. So as you get healthier, we offer you discounts to encourage you to be healthy, rewards to keep you motivated and to help you rest and relax, and cashback so you've got more money to spend on doing things you love. Find out more about Vitality

Intersport. Sport to the people
Sport to the people

parkrun has been a key player in promoting running as an accessible participation sport to the expanding community of runners. The parkrun model of local volunteers delivering weekly runs to people of all ages and abilities in their local community fits perfectly with the Intersport philosophy of bringing sport to the people. Together we look forward to encouraging more people to get their running shoes on. Find out more about Intersport

Fitbit Blaze

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


Duke of Edinburgh's Award supporting parkrun
The world’s leading achievement award for young people

For more information on The Duke of Edinburgh's Award please visit dofe.org


 

weekly newsletter 30 June 2016

welcome to the newsletter


In this week’s newsletter Intersport offers a parkrunner discount, Fitbit has 5 steps to 5k, we meet an outstanding Alzheimer’s Research UK fundraiser, you can volunteer for the London 2017 World Athletics Championships, our founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt writes about the joy of running, and Cath Shellswell invites us to be part of National Meadows Day this Saturday.

I started running, like most people, because I wanted to get fitter (and need to be in shape for work) and love being outside. My job involves surveying grassland and farms during the summer. However, lunchtime runs were a little dull until I discovered a parkrun starting down the road at Longrun Meadow in Somerset.

I joined the community of more than 200 runners and walkers, and with a relatively flat course it left lots of time to look around and enjoy the landscape. The park is well used by lots of people; dog-walkers, children playing games, and the river is often used by kayakers. Longrun is a wildlife haven in the centre of the town, and I was amazed at the number of different bird songs that I could hear. I have even spotted water voles and otters. Through my involvement with parkrun, the local community group found out that I work with wildflowers and asked me to help create a wildflower meadow. Last year we sowed yellow rattle, a plant that parastises grasses, with the hope to sow more wildflowers in a few years time to increase the pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects.

Many parkruns take place through meadows. Lullingstone parkrun in Kent passes through spectacular wildflower meadows where training courses take place as part of the national Save our Magnificent Meadows project. Penrhyn parkrun near Bangor in Wales has had donor seed taken from a Coronation Meadow and spread near the castle in the middle of the running course. Coastal strips and road verges are also places where wildflowers will thrive.

Save Our Magnificent Meadows is the UK’s largest partnership project, transforming the fortunes of vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife. Led by Plantlife, the partnership is made up of 11 organisations and is primarily funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The aim of the partnership is to give people all over the UK the chance to visit, enjoy and learn about our wildflower meadows and grasslands, to raise awareness of their desperate plight and to equip communities with the knowledge and skills to reverse their decline.

National Meadows Day is this Saturday, 2 July, and more than 60 events are taking place across the UK. It is all about celebrating our meadow wildlife, so if you still have some breath left after your parkrun, check out the events in your local area.

Cath Shellswell
A681839

enjoy 10% off at Intersport


What a month June has been! It was fantastic to see so many parkrunners at our Intersport stores across the country, making the most of your 20% parkrun offer and chatting to us about your running goals and achievements. We hope that you are enjoying your new pieces of kit at your weekly parkruns.

As we head into July we are delighted to confirm that parkrunners can continue to claim 10% off as an ongoing community offer #PPP (parkrun partnership price*). Simply show your parkrun barcode in store any time you need some new running gear.

You’re allowed to take a few hours off to watch Wimbledon, of course – and be smug that the likes of Andy Murray have got where they are thanks to plenty of running and fitness training. Something as runners we’ve known all along, of course!

As always, we are here to help with kit and advice about all things running. Pop into your local store for a chat (click here to find your nearest store) – and don’t forget your barcode #DFYB.

Remember to keep the pictures coming on Twitter @Intersport_UK #loveparkrun and make sure you like us on Facebook to keep up with what’s going on.

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.

Fitbit’s 5 steps to 5K


We know that working out is good for us, but maybe not where to start or what we should be doing. Running is a great way to exercise as almost anyone can do it almost anywhere!

5k is a great first target to work towards. That’s why we work with parkrun as they build a running community to spread the word. Here are five things to expect along the way:

* Running will help to build your stamina.
* The ‘wall’ is real. Both veteran and new runners have moments where they think they can’t go on, so you may too. But as long as you’re not hurting yourself very often, all you’ll need is an encouraging word with yourself to push through it.
* Take the good with the bad. One day you could run for hours, the next you struggle with a stitch by the 2k mark. Don’t stress out – it happens to all of us, and you’re still lapping everyone sitting on the sofa.
* Don’t worry what others think. Some people don’t run because they worry what they look like. Trust us – no-one notices!
* You CAN do it. No matter what you think, you can run 5k. parkrun is open to all ages and abilities so no matter if you walk, jog or sprint – you can complete the course your way.

Don’t forget to reach at least 10,000 steps a day for the Fitbit and parkrun challenge for a chance to win a Fitbit Blaze! If you haven’t joined in yet it’s not too late – click here for more information and to sign up.

100km in 10 days


Matthew Deller has completed Running Down Dementia’s 100k in just 10 days. The runner, who is local to Sittingbourne parkrun in Kent, made it his mission to run 10k every day for 10 days as a personal challenge while completing Running Down Dementia.

While juggling being a father-of-two, his marketing job in London, and supporting his father in looking after his mother, who has Alzheimer’s, Matthew has completed 100k by running on his lunch breaks and tagging 5k onto the end of his parkrun each week.

Matthew said: “I do go running quite a bit and take part in parkrun most weeks, so I thought, why not challenge myself by doing more? In I went with both feet, literally. It was a spur of the moment decision but I’m so glad I did it. Other people got behind me, and in all 10 days I only did one run by myself. The hard bit was having little recovery time, but that’s what I love about Running Down Dementia, that it’s asking people to push themselves.

“My mum was diagnosed two-and-a-half years ago, but she had Alzheimer’s for a while before that. It’s been a massive change in lifestyle for my mum, and it’s had a huge impact on my father who is her primary carer.

“I think more research needs to be done to fight dementia, and that’s why I signed up to the challenge. I’ve already seen so many people get involved with it, it’s wonderful. I’d urge anyone else considering it to sign up.”

There’s still plenty of time to get involved with Running Down Dementia. You can sign up online, and if you’re already taking part, why not get your friends and family involved? It’s always more fun in groups, and you can start a team of your own.

Don’t forget to keep on updating us with pictures of your runs using the hashtag #RunningDownDementia.

London 2017 ‘runners’ wanted


This week, organisers of the London 2017 World Athletics Championships announced details of their volunteer programme. They are looking for 4,000 volunteers – to be known as ‘Runners’ – to be at the heart of the Championships.

Thousands of volunteers make parkrun and junior parkrun happen up and down the UK each week and whether you’ve volunteered or not before at a major event, anyone can be a London 2017 ‘Runner’.

Dina Asher-Smith volunteered at the London 2012 Olympic Games and was a ‘kit carrier’ in The Stadium for a number of top athletes. She said: “I volunteered at the London Olympic Games and it was an amazing experience. It was magical to be part of the whole occasion. I would say to everyone that they should get involved in London 2017 because it will be one of the most amazing experiences of your life.”

You can register your interest now to be part of this once in a lifetime experience.

The IAAF World Championships and World ParaAthletics Championships take place next summer at The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Further details can be found here.

like the wind magazine


parkrun Founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt provides a fascinating insight into what he refers to as ‘the joy of running’ in the latest edition of Like The Wind magazine. Paul’s journey takes us from his time in boarding school in South Africa to his discovery of running, and with it the beginning of life-long friendships.

Paul’s article is available to read online, and parkrunners who wish to purchase the full magazine receive an exclusive £2 discount on single copies (including this copy and all back issues). The discount is available using the code ‘parkrun’ in the cart at checkout.

parkrun population


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

87,178 parkrunners
8,926 volunteers
6,301 first-timers
16,259 PBs

random stat of the week


Amongst the 87,178 people voting with their feet for parkrun last weekend, were 1,540 Davids, 745 Michaels, 284 Georges, 189 Nigels, 95 Jeremys and three named Boris!

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


I would like to say a massive thank you to Bolton parkrun and to everyone who turned up to celebrate my 50th parkrun. I had a great day and I hope everyone enjoyed themselves and enjoyed the cakes after the run, which were provided by some amazing people. I didn't just celebrate my 50th parkrun, I also got to meet fellow brain injury survivors, which without parkrun I would never have met (they are with me in the photo). I would also like to say a massive thanks to everyone who came and volunteered, and those who volunteer each week at Bolton parkrun, because without you parkrun wouldn't be able to take place.
Siobhan Pimlott


I had a double knee replacement in December 2003 aged 54, following years of overactivity and too many operations, which left me unable to run – but I still manage to cycle and ski. As a former PE teacher, I've always loved the idea of collective sports events and was immediately attracted to parkrun. I have been volunteering at my local parkrun in Ashford, Kent since last year as timekeeper. Earlier this year my wife and I visited New Zealand and I contacted the parkrun team in Christchurch, and the day before we came home I did some timekeeping in Hagley Park. Great experience, wonderful team and friendly participants as always. Can't wait to volunteer at other away days in the future.
Pete Rowley


On a beautiful sunny morning Wycombe District Council Chairman, Mahboob Hussain, congratulated Wycombe Rye parkrun on reaching our 200th run. He praised parkrun for all that it is doing to encourage people into health and fitness and hoped that one day rather than 400 people running around the Rye there would be 1,000. He was particularly impressed by the twenty volunteers each week who gave their Saturday mornings to allow other people to run. Five run directors – Alistair France, Norman Lockhart, Phil Burridge, Nick Sendall and Lyndsay Markham – presented Counsellor Hussain with a certificate celebrating his role as our honorary starter for our 200th run.
Alistair France


I would like to tell you of my parkrun challenge that I have set myself. Starting last Saturday at Dulwich, I will run all the events in Greater London. I will be writing a blog about my experiences, and I am really looking forward to running new events and in the process making friends along the way.
Mark Layzell


When the floods hit Cumbria late last year, Fell Foot parkrun (held on the banks of Lake Windermere) had to temporarily shut down for a few weeks. This meant we weren't able to provide our runners with a Christmas parkrun in 2015. Undeterred, we decided to delay the festivities – by six months precisely! So on Saturday 25 June we held our very own 'Christmas and a Half' parkrun and encouraged Fell Footers to turn up dressed in Christmas outfits with a summery twist. Among others we had Santa in a Hawaiian shirt, Rudolf in Bermuda shorts and a penguin in sunglasses. It was a great example of our parkrunners getting into the spirit of the day. We loved it!
David McGuigan

parkrunner of the week


Name:  Heather Harper

Club:  Enniskillen Running Club

Age:  58

Home parkrun:  Enniskillen

Occupation:  6th Form Study Supervisor

Number of runs:  6

Favourite volunteer role:  Marshal

What do you do at parkruns:  My heart is in volunteering. My husband and I try to arrive early, giving us time to chat with other runners and volunteers before parkrun gets under way. I have volunteered as timekeeper, giving out finish tokens, tail runner and marshal. As a marshal, it's great to see everyone who is running that day, and to give them ALL encouragement. We have some fast guys, some slower runners/walkers and a lot in between – everyone deserves encouragement. They have all made the effort to be there. We recently purchased some cowbells and I enjoy ringing them as encouragement!

How has parkrun changed your running:  parkrun inspired me to begin running. I first came into the parkrun family as a volunteer. My husband began running just over two years ago, and he then discovered that we had a local parkrun, Enniskillen, and began to run it every Saturday. Last autumn I came on board as a volunteer, and loved it. As time went on I began to look at the runners and thought maybe I could do this. So, I signed up for a C25K, and in March I RAN in my first parkrun!

What do you like about parkrun:  parkrun is a family – one I never ever thought I would join! But everyone has been so welcoming and encouraging and it is wonderful to be able to return those sentiments to visitors and other runners every week. I have met so many new people who I would never have come across before I started running. parkrun inspired me to do C25K, and that in turn inspired me to be part of a relay team entered in the 2016 Belfast City Marathon. parkrun has a lot to answer for, and gives us all a common topic for conversation. Thank you!

Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment:  Two things come to mind – on 2 April this year I ran at Portrush parkrun with my husband and two sons – a lovely parkrun along the beach and back. Then on 21 May our daughter registered with parkrun, and I was able to run at Enniskillen with her. It’s wonderful to now have all of our family as parkrunners! The next big challenge is to have us all together at the same parkrun as our daughter lives in Liverpool, one son lives in Southampton and runs there, and our eldest son lives in Belfast.

reminders

the parkrun store

barcode reminder

barcode

Printed barcodes are used at all parkrun events to record your result. No barcode, no time, no exception. To retrieve and print your barcode, click here. To order a barcode wristband, which can also include your name, emergency contact details, and any medical conditions, please follow this link.

Don't forget your barcode #dfyb

children at parkrun

We welcome children at parkrun. Please note that those under the age of 11 must be within arm's reach of a parent, guardian or designated adult of the parents' choice whilst attending 5k parkrun events. Children aged 4 to 14 can run unaccompanied at our junior parkrun events.

You can read the latest junior parkrun newsletter here.

volunteering at parkrun

Every event relies on volunteers and in 2015 alone more than 68,000 of you came forward to support the parkrun community. Volunteering is a wonderful way to make friends, feel great and have fun. If that sounds like it's for you please contact your local event team and get involved.

cancellations

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

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.

official charity partner

Alzheimer's Research UK

our sponsors

Vitality investing in parkrun
Changing health and life insurance for good.

Vitality is insurance that rewards you for being healthy. It's there to protect you when things go wrong unexpectedly but it's also there to help you lead a healthier life - meaning you don't have to claim to be able to benefit. If you keep well, then you're less likely to claim. That means it costs us less to look after you. We think that if we're saving money, you should benefit from that. So as you get healthier, we offer you discounts to encourage you to be healthy, rewards to keep you motivated and to help you rest and relax, and cashback so you've got more money to spend on doing things you love. Find out more about Vitality

Intersport. Sport to the people
Sport to the people

parkrun has been a key player in promoting running as an accessible participation sport to the expanding community of runners. The parkrun model of local volunteers delivering weekly runs to people of all ages and abilities in their local community fits perfectly with the Intersport philosophy of bringing sport to the people. Together we look forward to encouraging more people to get their running shoes on. Find out more about Intersport

Fitbit Blaze

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


Duke of Edinburgh's Award supporting parkrun
The world’s leading achievement award for young people

For more information on The Duke of Edinburgh's Award please visit dofe.org


 

weekly newsletter 23 June 2016

welcome to the newsletter


 

When I was 14 years old I had two dreams – to join the Army, and to be the 1500 metre Olympic champion.

I started running in secondary school and was really lucky to have a PE teacher who believed in me and encouraged me to concentrate on the one talent I had – running. I believe it only takes one person to tell you that you can be good at something, to give you a purpose and the confidence to strive for your dreams.

I was easily distracted in the classroom because I wanted to be outside. When I was running I felt free, competitive, and motivated to succeed. Sebastian Coe was my hero, and watching him win a gold medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics gave me goosebumps.

As a junior athlete I represented Great Britain, and for some of that time I worked behind the till in a local sweet shop where I’d done a paper round from when I was younger. I was also a nursing assistant for people with various disabilities and mental health issues, which was one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had.

Two years after leaving school, when I was 18, I joined the Army in the hope of becoming a physical training instructor. Having watched a video at school a few years earlier, I knew that was the career for me. I was attracted to the independence, the chance to develop life experience, and the opportunity to meet other people. Things didn’t turn out quite the way I planned though, and I spent my first three years in the Army as a HGV driver before later becoming a physical training instructor.

I started running for the Army and in 1993 I joined Middlesex Ladies Athletics Club (now Ealing, Southall and Middlesex AC), going onto become National Champion and being selected to run for Great Britain. Learning to balance my career and sport was a wonderful lesson in time management. Life is all about juggling balls – some drop, but mostly it’s important to realise how much we can actually achieve if we put our minds to something. The Army taught me that discipline and respecting yourself and other people is the key to moving through life in a positive way. I learned that hard work and self-drive are very important to success.

1994 was my big breakthrough year. In one Army race I took nine seconds off my 1500m PB, catapulting me into the world athletics scene. I went on to win gold at the Commonwealth Games, which allowed me to focus my attention on striving for the Olympics. It certainly wasn’t an easy road, and it took many years of hard work, setbacks and frustration, but winning double Olympic gold in Athens was quite literally a dream come true.

I first heard about parkrun earlier this year on social media when I was training to run the London Marathon. As a retired middle distance athlete I was finding the long distance training hard to get used to, and some of my training runs were a bit boring to be perfectly honest!

Discovering parkun was a revelation, and it’s no exaggeration to say that parkrun is the reason that I got through my marathon training. Visiting new places, meeting new people, and exchanging banter on social media was exactly what I needed. I love how it brings so many people together from the local community, regardless of age or ability.

With the marathon now over, I still intend to run at parkun whenever I have the chance. A concept that brings people together without any barriers and is welcoming and happy is a magical thing, and I feel privileged to be part of it.

Happy running,

Dame Kelly Holmes
A2181727

Dame Kelly was interviewed about parkrun as part of the BBC coverage of our one millionth UK participant in May.

our grand runner


This week we’d like to introduce you to Nuala Smyth who has just become the first person to raise more than £1,000 through Running Down Dementia.

Nuala, who has currently raised £1,048.96, is taking part in memory of her dad Hugh McNally, who passed away at the age of 81 with dementia on 6 August 2015. Nuala aimed to raise £810, £10 for every year of her father’s life, but has already smashed the target, and run 75 kilometres.

Nuala said: “I'm aiming to complete my challenge by 6 August. No pressure! In May I agreed to run a 10K with my friend. I hadn’t been running in a couple of years and don’t consider myself that good but practice makes perfect. I joined Stormont parkrun and from there I’ve been gradually improving.

"One morning while reading through the parkrun newsletter I came across the Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Running Down Dementia campaign. As this was so close to my heart I just immediately made a mental note of it and signed up the morning registrations opened.

“I’m shocked to be top of the leaderboard, but others are certainly giving me a run for my money so I’ll have to keep it up!”

If you’d like to follow in Nuala’s footsteps but haven’t signed up yet then you can do so here.

By next week, we predict there’ll be 2,500 of you taking on the challenge – and our aim is to get to 5,000.

If each of our participants can ask just one friend or relative who is not already signed up to get involved, then Running Down Dementia will raise a whopping £500,000, which will go to our scientists’ pioneering research to find preventions for dementia.

All you have to do is send them the link and get them to sign up and make the pledge – it’s as simple as that.

And remember to tell us all about the friend who’ll be joining you on social media using the hashtag #RunningDownDementia.

last chance – 20% off at Intersport!


We’re not quite sure where the month has gone, but there is only one week left to receive your exclusive 20% parkrun offer at Intersport.

Having just celebrated the longest day, we’re loving being able to get out and run first thing in the morning or late into the evening. It’s a fantastic time of year to be a runner and we’re so pleased to have seen so many parkrunners making the most of it. Many of you have popped into our stores these past few weeks to pick out new pieces of kit for your weekly parkruns and weekday training. You deserve it!

Don’t miss your chance – you have until 30 June to claim your parkrun partnership price (PPP)* at Intersport, simply by showing your parkrun barcode.

We’re happy to confirm that after June, parkrunners can continue to claim 10% off their running gear as an ongoing community offer #PPP.

As always we are here to help with kit and advice about all things running. Pop into your local store for a chat (find your nearest store here – and don’t forget your barcode! #DFYB

Remember to keep the pictures coming on Twitter @Intersport_UK #loveparkrun and make sure you like us on Facebook to keep up with what’s going on.

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.

win prizes with your steps


Get ready, set, STEP! Our parkrun and Fitbit challenge starts this Saturday – do you have what it takes?

Take on parkrun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt and see who tallies up more steps on average – Paul or the parkrun community. By taking part you’ll be helping to raise £5,000 to fund new parkrun events, and you can win a Fitbit for you and a friend too!

It’s easy to join in. All you have to do is click here to register your device and aim to take at least 10,000 steps a day over the course of the eight day challenge.

No Fitbit? No problem. You can use your smartphone to track your steps for free with our Fitbit app. Or you can take advantage of our exclusive parkrun discount and order a Fitbit device here.

Good luck – get stepping!

we are hiring


From quiet beginnings, parkrun has grown to be a major force in grassroots physical activity and community engagement. In order to support our growth, we are seeking to appoint a dazzling Marketing Executive to join the team in London. Are you passionate about parkrun? Fanatical about finding solutions? Made to manage multiple projects at once? We want to hear from you!

The successful applicant will enjoy working in a fast-paced environment alongside a supportive and fun team, and will play a key role in helping parkrun create a healthier and happier planet.

If you are interested in applying, please visit our website.

parkrun population


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

90,909 parkrunners
9,107 volunteers
6,803 first-timers
19,479 PBs

random stat of the week


944 new volunteers helped deliver UK events last weekend. That's around two people at each parkrun event finding out how simple, fun and rewarding volunteering can be.

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


Having been overweight and unfit all my life, I competed the couch-to-5k programme and then started parkrun two years ago in order to help lose the final stone of a six stone total loss. It had the desired effect, but what surprised me most was the amazing effect it has had on my little girls. They are all desperate to be a 'runner' like Mummy. So it was with huge pride that my eldest, aged just four, completed her first parkrun this week at my home parkrun, Frimley Lodge. She had a great time and beamed with the joy of being a parkrunner all day. Thank you parkrun for not only helping me get fit, but also be a better role model to my girls.
Ruth Batchelar


My nine-year-old son Alex quickly established himself as much faster than me at 5k, which left me searching for willing adults to accompany him at Guildford parkrun. I needn't have worried, as our parkrun friends have willingly obliged as his times have improved. Very many thanks to Jane, Patrick, David, Keith and Susanna who have encouraged him and offered some top tips on pacing and form and enabled him to knock minutes at a time off his PB. His confidence in his running and himself continues to build and he has his parkrun friends to thank for that. I hope he returns the favour and is pacer for the adults when he is 11+!
Jen Duke


I just wanted to say a big thank you to all the parkrun venues I've visited with my six-year-old son, James, and especially our home event Colwick parkrun for making him so welcome over the past few years. Here is a picture of him on the day he reached the magical milestone of 100 parkruns, and to add to the special occasion there was cake and a new PB.
Iain Hickman


Saturday 18 June was my 40th birthday. What better way to celebrate than running to and round all five parkruns in Sheffield? We met at 4am at Hallam and off we went. After completing that we headed to Hillsborough, up to Concord, across to Castle then up to Graves, getting there in time for the briefing. In total it was just over 32 miles, and I couldn't have done it without Ben Heller, Martyn Goldsack, Alastair Lawson and Keith Jackson. We were joined at the beginning by John Rawlinson and the final 12 miles Ollie Hart and Jason Brannan who pushed us to the end. Another way parkrun can bring people together and help others achieve. Here’s my daughter Heather and I finishing it off at Graves parkrun.
Matt Rimmer


Last weekend my daughter Eden completed her first parkrun with me at the Bath Skyline parkrun. At only four years old, she ran hand in hand with me and managed it in 40 minutes. I asked her what she wanted to do to celebrate. Her response? "I really want some jelly beans, Daddy!"
David Richardson

parkrunner of the week


Name:  Lawrence Cummings

Club:  None

Age:  75

Home parkrun:  Sedgefield

Occupation:  Retired – I run almost every day

Number of runs:  58

Favourite volunteer role:  Marshal

What do you do at parkruns:  I like to run and encourage other people, and I also marshal the odd run.

How has parkrun changed your running:  Since starting parkrun, I decided that I would try to break my age category records (70-74 and 75-79) at venues around the country, and since Christmas Day 2015 I have broken 11 parkrun age category records.

What do you like about parkrun:  The friendship shown at each venue, no matter where you are from.

reminders

the parkrun store

barcode reminder

barcode

Printed barcodes are used at all parkrun events to record your result. No barcode, no time, no exception. To retrieve and print your barcode, click here. To order a barcode wristband, which can also include your name, emergency contact details, and any medical conditions, please follow this link.

Don't forget your barcode #dfyb

children at parkrun

We welcome children at parkrun. Please note that those under the age of 11 must be within arm's reach of a parent, guardian or designated adult of the parents' choice whilst attending 5k parkrun events. Children aged 4 to 14 can run unaccompanied at our junior parkrun events.

You can read the latest junior parkrun newsletter here.

volunteering at parkrun

Every event relies on volunteers and in 2015 alone more than 68,000 of you came forward to support the parkrun community. Volunteering is a wonderful way to make friends, feel great and have fun. If that sounds like it's for you please contact your local event team and get involved.

cancellations

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

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.

official charity partner

Alzheimer's Research UK

our sponsors

Vitality investing in parkrun
Changing health and life insurance for good.

Vitality is insurance that rewards you for being healthy. It's there to protect you when things go wrong unexpectedly but it's also there to help you lead a healthier life - meaning you don't have to claim to be able to benefit. If you keep well, then you're less likely to claim. That means it costs us less to look after you. We think that if we're saving money, you should benefit from that. So as you get healthier, we offer you discounts to encourage you to be healthy, rewards to keep you motivated and to help you rest and relax, and cashback so you've got more money to spend on doing things you love. Find out more about Vitality

Intersport. Sport to the people
Sport to the people

parkrun has been a key player in promoting running as an accessible participation sport to the expanding community of runners. The parkrun model of local volunteers delivering weekly runs to people of all ages and abilities in their local community fits perfectly with the Intersport philosophy of bringing sport to the people. Together we look forward to encouraging more people to get their running shoes on. Find out more about Intersport

Fitbit Blaze

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


Duke of Edinburgh's Award supporting parkrun
The world’s leading achievement award for young people

For more information on The Duke of Edinburgh's Award please visit dofe.org


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