Co-Vid 19 Weekly update from HQ

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

Dear all, 

I’m pleased to say we have now spoken with just under 1,000 event teams and ambassadors from all 22 parkrun countries, and that project has now formally concluded. As always however, should event teams and volunteers wish to speak with us that opportunity remains available and I’d urge them to get in touch if that is the case. We are now taking time to review our notes from those conversations and will be reporting back in due course.

It also feels like we’re entering a new phase of consideration with regard to restarting parkrun, at least in some parts of the world. Restrictions are beginning to ease in many countries in which we operate, and every day the news shows society taking small steps toward reopening. Each update to a country’s future plans are scrutinised, and although none have yet presented clear parkrun-friendly guidelines many are moving closer to that point.

At this moment in time, it feels like we’ve been without parkrun forever and it’s understandable that many of us will feel a sense of emotional fatigue, or even hopelessness, from time to time. However, I would like to reassure you that we are moving forward, we are focused on reopening as soon as appropriate, and we do believe that that time will come. Until then, we continue to ask parkrun communities around the world not to arrange gatherings at their local venues, and thank them all for being so brilliant to date.

Finally, we recently spoke to Laura Penhaul, who was part of the first ever all-female crew to row across the Pacific, a feat that was documented in the brilliant film Losing Sight of Shore. You can listen to our conversation with her over on the parkrun YouTube channel and, like me, I hope you can draw many parallels with what we’re all going through right now.

We may ourselves have lost sight of shore for the moment, but we are moving forward, and will see it again.

 

Co-Vid 19 Update from HQ

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

Dear all, 

It is now eight weeks since we first closed all parkrun events across the world, and we know that parkrunners everywhere, alongside their local communities, are facing their own unique challenges, and would love to enjoy parkrun again. Please know that we are thinking of you all right now and remain fully committed that no-one will be forgotten as and when we reopen.

We also know that some of you will be wondering how parkrun can ever return, at least until there is some kind of vaccine or treatment available. Whilst we cannot predict the future or make any promises, we do feel that an opportunity to reopen, in an appropriate and safe manner, may arise earlier than that. And whilst the precise timing of that moment is beyond our control, our commitment to the parkrun family is that we will continue developing our understanding such that we are able to make the right decisions at the right time.

As part of that work, I’m pleased to let you know that, at the time of writing, we have now spoken directly to 908 event teams and ambassadors, representing all 22 parkrun countries. Whilst the opportunity to speak to us in person is always open to our volunteers, we will close this formal consultation on Sunday 17 May, so that we can carefully review and reflect on those calls. If you are an event director or ambassador and would still like to schedule a call (or have changed your mind since previously declining) please do get in touch.

Thank you all for your continued trust, support, and patience.

We will get through this, together

 

Meet Roding Valley parkrun #15 – Paul Goodhew

When did you take part in your first parkrun event at Roding Valley?
 
27/10/18
 
What made you come along that very first time? How did you hear about parkrun? Did someone encourage you to come along?
 
For my general longer distance training I needed to do some speed work (and still do!), and my running coach recommended I look up my local PR. I’m glad I did 
 
Please complete the following: I love parkrun because...
 
it’s so inclusive and friendly. It attracts all sorts of people and they all seem pleased to be there. Most runners appear from nowhere within 10 minutes to go before the start which I find
funny!
 
Which is your favourite volunteer role and why?
 
I was the Tail Walker on the 3 year anniversary recently and that was fun. I also have handed out the finishing tokens and it’s great to encourage people as they are finishing their run, and see the looks of determination, plus their smiles and grimaces!
 
If you could change anything about Roding Valley parkrun what would it be?
 
More mud! More hills!
No - I’d change nothing. It’s great we have an alternate course being so close to the River Roding too. Part tarmac, part grass works very well also.
 
Anything else? Such as who you come along with, favourite Roding Valley parkrun memory, favourite part of the course, milestone memories, fun facts about you...
 
My kids run it, plus my sister and her family. My Dad has run/walked it twice too.
 
The Bog of Doom next to the playground was fun to run through this winter when it was safe to do so!
 
The bridge crossings keep the concentration up, especially when wet.
 
All the volunteers are great, and Pam at Pam’s corner is especially encouraging
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Meet Roding Valley parkrun #14 – Lesley Harber

When did you take part in your first parkrun event at Roding Valley?
 
22 April 2017 (I’ve just received a happy anniversary wish from Park Run)
 
What made you come along that very first time? How did you hear about parkrun? Did someone encourage you to come along?
 
I had heard about parkrun from Paula Fairlamb. She told me that you didn’t have to run all the way if you didn't want to or couldn’t - just go at your own pace and walk if necessary. I needed to start getting a bit fitter so decided to give it a go. I initially ran a few times but soon after (and with a back problem), I decided to volunteer as a marshal and haven’t done a Saturday park run since. I do now run the course fairly regularly on my own - though still not very fast.
 
Please complete the following: I love parkrun because...
 
I have met so many lovely people at parkrun and look forward to seeing their happy faces every Saturday morning come rain or shine. Just lately, it’s been mostly rain and lots of mud. And yet the atmosphere is still so great. I get a real kick out of the runners calling out my name as they run past.
 
Which is your favourite volunteer role and why?
 
Obviously marshaling on ‘my bridge’. I have done tail walking a few times but marshaling on the course means I get to see everyone .... twice.
 
If you could change anything about Roding Valley parkrun what would it be?
 
The mud of course!
 
Anything else? Such as who you come along with, favourite Roding Valley parkrun memory, favourite part of the course, milestone memories, fun facts about you...
 
I came along on my own but soon found myself included in conversations, throwing balls for the four legged runners and feeling part of the community. Memories include meeting up with Nat and Peter who I worked with in Redbridge, Janet and Pip’s lovely get togethers and meeting runner, Julie Barclay in Andalucia last year. But absolutely best of all is becoming friends with the lovely Pam Lucas, my little buddy, who has looked after me from the start.
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Meet Roding Valley parkrun #13 – Paula Fairlamb

When did you take part in your first parkrun event at Roding Valley?
 
4th January 2014! I went along to Gunpowder parkrun with two of my brothers. But it wasn't until January 2016 that it became a regular thing, partly because I got a bad injury to my foot that meant I couldn't run properly for about 18 months.
 
What made you come along that very first time? How did you hear about parkrun? Did someone encourage you to come along?
 
My brothers had been going and encouraged me to join them. I'd been a runner on and off for years, but always stopped once I had got a race out of the way. Then I would book a race, start running again, do the race, and stop again. It was a vicious cycle. As parkrun is there every week it gave me something to aim towards. I need that sort of motivation.
 
Please complete the following: I love parkrun because...
 
No matter what your background or ability, everyone is welcome. There is a strong community ethos and commitment from parkrun to help people live healthy lives, both mentally and physically. I love searching for a nearby parkrun when I go on holiday. I love discovering new places through parkrun tourism. And most of all, I love the friends that I have made through parkun.
 
Which is your favourite volunteer role and why?
 
I love being Run Director and really miss it since handing the reins over last year. It gives you a unique opportunity to talk to loads of different people and encourage those newcomers who hang around on the edges of the crowd looking nervous. Besides that I really enjoy doing the first timers briefing. It might be the first interaction a person has with the event and it is a chance to make a lasting and welcoming impression on them.
 
If you could change anything about Roding Valley parkrun what would it be?
 
It is such a lovely event. When we set it up I never dreamed it would create the amazing community that it has. The only thing I would ever want to change is the flooding of the river. Thankfully there are alternatives to the route, but those floods were another level of crazy this year!
 
Anything else? Such as who you come along with, favourite Roding Valley parkrun memory, favourite part of the course, milestone memories, fun facts about you...
 
So much to say here...
 
One thing I was most proud of was the introduction of Roding Valley junior parkrun. Seeing Chris Chapman develop over the months as he started to run with us, and then watching his determination to get the juniors set up was just lovely. Their core team is made up mainly of RV parkrun regulars, so it's nice to think that we might have inspired them a little to get it off the ground. And what a lovely event it is!
 
Fun fact about me? I have completed 14 different parkrun events. The hardest I have ever done was Lanhydrock parkrun in Cornwall. That is a seriously tough route! The furthest away is Greenpoint parkrun all the way in South Africa. Mr Glasgow will be sad to hear I haven't seen a single episode of TOWIE and met one of the people from the show once in Nu Bar and didn't have a clue who she was. I am one of 6 children and all of us run. Having spent much of last year injured I am currently trying to get fast enough again to beat my mother in a race!
 
Favourite memory is a hard one! So many to choose from. There are big things like anniversaries, and events where we encourage people to stay and socialise after with tea and cake. They are always lovely and allow us to get to know everyone a little better. But one small memory that always stands out for me was when Lesley (from 'Lesley's bridge' fame) came for the first time. I saw her coming towards me as I was speaking to Peter Spelman, and she looked so happy. Turns out they used to work together for years and parkrun reunited them. Not only that, but I believe Natalie Crane also used to work with her. I know it seems really small and an odd thing to remember, but it just sums up parkrun for me, bringing people together, new friends and old.
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