York parkrun is cancelled on 2021-04-17 – COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Exercise, Mental Health and Lockdown – By Ellie Griffin


At a time when we are facing a global crisis, it is important not to forget our mental health. There is a focus at the moment on physical wellbeing, how the virus affects physical health and keeping physically fit during lockdown.

But it’s just as important to focus on mental health and the impacts the pandemic is having on mental and psychological wellbeing. Many people right now are going through some of the toughest times in their lives, for a variety of reasons, and it is important to recognise the mental impact this can have. Mental health is just as important as physical health and the two have a direct impact on each other. It is important to acknowledge that many people are struggling, in many different ways and for a wide variety of reasons.


In this article I’m going to specifically talk about my experience with anxiety - which is just one of many mental health conditions - and exercise, especially during lockdown.

I was diagnosed with anxiety about five years ago. At the start of this year things were finally starting to come together. After graduating from university last July and struggling to find a job I was doing work experience at a great company, I became a Run Director at parkrun, I was part way through a recruitment process for a graduate job…. And then lockdown hit. Recruitment stopped, no one was hiring, the economy went into freefall and life changed for everyone.

At first, I found it quite hard to deal with as my future was on hold indefinitely. I really felt like I had no purpose. I had a few bad days at the beginning when everything would seem really overwhelming, and I felt like I couldn’t cope. I struggled to see the point of everything, having nothing to do and my future plans being uncertain. I felt like I was in limbo, missing my university days that were filled with fun and friends and routine.

Slowly I started to do things to make my days more productive. I made a list of things I’d been meaning to do for a while, such as finishing off a scrapbook. I also started volunteering – pre-lockdown I had really enjoyed volunteering at parkrun, the camaraderie and good feelings it brought. I have been a volunteer with GoodGym for a few years now but during lockdown they have switched their focus to providing shopping ‘missions’ and prescription deliveries to people self-isolating. The feeling I had after completing my first shopping mission was amazing. The sense of purpose I felt helped to reduce my anxiety. I have been doing a similar thing with another charity called Move the Masses, who mainly focus on prescription deliveries. The ability to sign up as and when you’re available means there’s no pressure to do a certain amount or do it every week.


By throwing myself into volunteering I have managed to get a sense of purpose back, helping others, even in a really small way, has helped me to help myself.

Sport has also been a big thing for me during lockdown. I have been a competitive swimmer for many years now, training up to 7 times a week. Swimming is my main tool for combatting my anxiety and generally looking after my mental health. With lockdown swimming hasn’t been possible, so I have had to look elsewhere for my sporting fix. I have always been a bit of a runner and an occasional cyclist so doing more running and cycling wasn’t too much of an issue for me. I have also been participating in a virtual running race league which has helped me more than expected. It has helped to replace the competitive drive I got from swimming and motivated me to push myself and get out and exercise regularly, as well as giving me some structure to my training, like I used to have in the pool. It also provides a connection to other, like-minded people and is a positive and encouraging group.


In these uncertain times it’s important to find routine where you can, stay connected and talk to others. I try to take everything one day at a time and talk to friends and family about how I feel: chances are they feel the same way, as everyone is going through the same situation right now.

I find I can put too much pressure on myself to be productive. But it’s okay to watch Netflix, have a lazy lie-in or read a book. It’s okay not to participate in every single zoom call with family and friends. (I find I feel under pressure to always do these sorts of things as I can no longer say ‘I’m busy’) It’s okay, and in fact, healthy to take time to yourself, especially if you are isolating with others and working from home etc. We all need our own space and I’ve found it can sometimes be difficult to remember that. It’s nice sometimes to take a walk on your own, or a read a book in your room and just generally have some ‘you’ time.

Anxiety isn’t something that is curable. It does reoccur and there are bad days. You don’t have to let it control what you do, and you don’t have to be afraid of it. I’ve come to accept it as something that makes me who I am. Yes, it makes me over-worry about the simplest of things that others may not even think about, and it makes me stressed and nervous in certain situations. But it also makes me very empathetic and caring and attentive. There are two sides to every coin.


It is important in times like these that we all look out for each other and check in. You never know what someone is going through right now and even the simplest “Hi, how are you doing?” message could help someone hugely. We all deal with things in different ways and having our own way of processing the changes that have been happening lately.

In the words of Henry James: “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”


York parkrun #372 (report no.2) – By Linda Ethell

Last Saturday, parkruns all over the world were joining the celebrations for International Women’s Day by encouraging as many women as possible to participate and by asking as many park runners as possible to bring a female friend along. In partnership with the This Girl Can campaign, parkrun hopes to break down some of the barriers to taking part in sports that women in particular face and encourage them to come along to their first parkrun.

This week saw me completing my 120th parkrun and volunteering for the 8th time.  I began back in July 2016, when a female friend invited me to join her. I had run before, but not for several years, so was both excited and nervous about doing it again. Like many others, I had reservations because I didn’t really know what to expect – would I be too slow, too fat, wearing the wrong clothes, would I get lost, what should I do with my barcode?  But after my first parkrun, I knew I would be back. Once I had completed my 50th run, I decided that I would also volunteer from time to time.  This too is a wonderful experience.  It takes a team of around 30 dedicated volunteers to make York parkrun happen each week.  Please consider joining them sometime, there are lots of different roles available to suit everyone.  Not only is volunteering rewarding and fun, but it also provides a valuable insight into how parkrun works and makes you appreciate the hard work which goes into providing our free, weekly and timed event every Saturday.

Having been introduced myself by a female friend, I decided to do the same. I asked my daughter Jodie if she would like to come with me for her first ever parkrun and to my immense surprise she said yes. She is not a runner and I know she felt self-conscious and a bit out of place initially, but there she was at the start with me - and her lovely dog Tyrion. It was a lovely feeling to participate with her.  We walked much of it, ran when we wanted, chatted to each other and others and enjoyed the lovely sunny weather and unusually dry conditions. It was a fantastic experience for me to be further back than usual and to witness the cameraderie of the walkers and slower runners. How lovely that those people who lapped us also waved, greeted or even encouraged those of us still on our first lap. That is the true spirit, support and inclusiveness of parkrun in action, and what keeps us coming back week after week.


Despite the fact that we were gutted to finish after all of the biscuits had gone, we had a great time taking part.  Tyrion made so many friends whilst waiting at the start.  He was so excited to take part that, had it not been for his (short) lead he would have completed the course in a quarter of the time that we did.  Jodie did well to hold on to him and as such may now be the only person to wake up the day after her first parkrun with her shoulders aching more than her legs!

The results for this week show that 44 people completed their first ever Parkrun at York, of whom 29 were women. Well done to all of you! I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did and that you will be back again.


York parkrun #372 by Liz Piper

Saturday 7th March 2020

As befits the day before International Women’s Day 581 runners, walkers and joggers gathered on York Knavesmire course, many clad in purple, for the start of the 372nd Knavesmire parkrun.

Last week the Knavesmire was underwater and parkrun cancelled whilst seagulls, porpoises, whales and sharks (NB minor exaggeration) sported in the deep.  This week, under a cloudless, blue sky, the land had emerged once more and was open to running - all bar a section where gulls gathered mutinously around a small and receding puddle at the far end.

parkrun can be likened to a journey - and I’m not just referring to the 5k here!  I began my first parkrun reluctantly and with great trepidation (ie all those new people, and can I possibly run THAT far) five years ago.  As our run director asked the question it was heartening to see that almost everyone had begun with the same fears.

For the past four years I have volunteered as a run / walk pacer.  This role is to encourage new runners and help them to reach their potential.  Whilst running and walking, we chat and it’s great getting to know some most amazing and inspirational people.  Let me share some of their stories.

It’s never too late to start running:

Hats off to a couple of people in their 70s, who have recently started running - they wanted to ‘Get fit’.  And they have!  They thought they might be too old to begin and have truly proved that age is just a number.

‘I’ll never be able to run that far’

You don’t have to.  Take it one step at a time.  Take it easy.  Three cheers for the person who told me that she wouldn’t ever be able to run round the course.  Now, a year later, she is running marathons - and enjoying it!  Others have branched out and taken part in: triathlons, fun runs, muddy obstacle courses and fancy dress races.....  Have faith, we are here to encourage you as you go around the course.

‘I don’t know anyone’

It is amazing how many people find friends along the course.  my congratulations go to the small group of new runners who have banded together in a group and meet up to run together (and share a coffee from the coffee van afterwards).  Parkrunners are a friendly, chatty crowd and there is always someone to cheer you on.

What shall I do with my children

No probs.  They will probably beat you round the course!  One of our runners was dragged down to parkrun by her daughter (I use her words!) about a month ago.  She now comes every week, has improved her speed by 10 minutes and made new friends in the process.

‘I’ve never run in my life’

A runner this week made just that comment.  She has now run once in her life and has gone home resolving to print out her bar code and come regularly.  Quote: ‘That was easier that I expected!’  An inspirational woman!

So, whether you are the speediest thing on two legs with total focus on being the first one in, or content to jog around and chat, or you’re only just starting out, you are all doing something that thousands of others haven’t even tried.  Parkrunners you are amazing!

And now, to keep with tradition, some random stats and comments.  

Firstly many thanks to our wonderful volunteers who included:


Well done, without your help there would be no parkrun.  You deserve a round of applause.

If you would like to join our band of happy volunteers - there are plenty of opportunities to help out and we are always pleased to see new recruits.  Just take a look at our park run web page and send us an email at york@parkrun.com.  See you next Saturday!


  • Cheers today were in order for Kevin McCaffery celebrating his 200th run, for Emma Davidson celebrating her 50th run and the 43 people completing their first ever parkrun.  First timers, you know who you are and should be proud of your achievement.  Hope to see you all again next week!
  • Cheers also to the 77 runners who gained a new PB.  Congratulations and well done!

Random stats

  • Today was the 7th, and in 7th place was Jan-Philipp PFLÜGL in a time of 18min 1.
  • March is the 3rd month.  Chris Poulton was 3rd runner back in a time of 16mins 49.
  • And as we are in 2020, in 20th female place was Lily Seach.

Well done all of you.  For full results go to: https://www.parkrun.org.uk/york/results/latestresults/

And finally - please don’t think you have to be another Roger Bannister or Kelly Holmes to join us.  This week we had pacers for all paces and, whatever your speed or ability, you are welcome to join us.  You will never be the last person in - we have a tail walker who takes that position - and there is usually the coffee van at the end for a warming drink.

Whether you walk, run or jog, you deserve a round of applause for taking part and finishing this 5k course.  Because for mast of us Parkrun is not so much about racing and winning, but a warm and welcoming social event with a run or walk thrown in for good measure.  So come along and try us out!  We look forward to seeing you again next Saturday.


York parkrun number 371 by Jennifer Roberts

Another windy weekend for York parkrun. The Knavesmire has been a lake for most of the week but as Saturday approached, the water receded to puddles and mud allowing 458 people to run, jog and walk for the event number 371 aided by 25 brilliant windswept volunteers.

Congratulations to Terence Forrest, a Cairngorm runner and first timer to York, who was our first finisher and Monika Smutek who was first over the line for the ladies.

A few milestones to mention: Mike Smith on 250, Nicholas Jones, Peter Quinn and Matthew Johnson reached 100. Well done.

The early morning rain eased and the sun came out for the start. From my marshalling position by Cherry Lane, I had great views of the parkrunners, dogs and buggies starting the weekend in the best way possible. This was my 25th volunteer and marshalling has to be my favourite role. It’s wonderful seeing so many people of so many different abilities: the determined, the competitors, the social runners, the family groups, the health conscious and the forced-by-their-friend participants coming together, united for a short space of time, usually with a smile on their face. The power of parkrun.

If you have never volunteered before, come and see what parkrun is like from the other side. It will make you love it more. If you have never run before, watching other runners may just inspire you to take those first steps to a 5k. However you take part, I hope you now refer to Saturdays as parkrun day and continue to enjoy it as much as I do. Have a great weekend and see you next week for the 29th February leap year parkrun! Not to be repeated until 2048 so don’t miss out.

This week 458 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 86 were first timers and 30 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 59 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 25 volunteers.

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the York parkrun Results Page.

The female record is held by Laura WEIGHTMAN who recorded a time of 16:12 on 12th March 2016 (event number 190).
The male record is held by Graham RUSH who recorded a time of 14:37 on 19th August 2017 (event number 253).
The Age Grade course record is held by Angela OLDHAM who recorded 97.59% (21:25) on 17th November 2018 (event number 308).

York parkrun started on 14th January 2012. Since then 22,285 participants have completed 140,918 parkruns covering a total distance of 704,590 km, including 22,647 new Personal Bests. A total of 1,066 individuals have volunteered 8,610 times.


York parkrun #369 – By Varrie Wardrope

Since we have a leap year, it’s possible to do 5 parkrun’s in February 2020. Therefore it seemed only right to do an epic parkrun journey.  So....as English fans headed north and flocked across the border to Edinburgh for the six nations rugby tournament, a group of hardy runners left their stable in Dunfermline Fife, at the ungodly hour of 4.00am to travel in the opposite direction. It’s now possible  to catch a Trans Pennine Express train from  Edinburgh Waverley station at 5.14am to arrive in York at 8.02. All in the name of parkrun and to add a Y to their alphabet challenge.


Nicola, Laurie and Varrie were joined by Hazel and an anticipated short trot to York racecourse turned into a taxi journey as the train arrived late, however they arrived just in time to warm up.

WOW, the sight of a magnificent racecourse and a welcoming crowd did nothing to settle their pre parkrun nerves. The sun crept out, the sky was blue, the wind subsided, the odds looked good - a perfect morning for their own grand national day.

RD Ellie gave the welcome briefing and the going was good, there were no handicaps,  614 athletes, buggies and four legged friends lined up at the start, they were counted down, 3, 2, 1 and then off along the flat furlongs.

The Fife fillies enjoyed their flat 1.66 gallop round the Knavesmire - compared to the steeplechase of their local course Dunfermline, the fillies were on top form!!  Their coaches, Christine and Dyanne at Jogscotland would be proud.

There were no rucks, scrums or mauls as they were cheered and encouraged all the way by a group of enthusiastic supporters and friendly volunteers.

Rob Byers and Chris Poulton dominated early on as the front runners, the pace and conditions were good, there was even a sprint finish. The fillies were joined by the glamorously dressed Elswick runners who travelled from Newcastle for a hen weekend, where the bride-to-be was also celebrating her 50th parkrun. Dave and Catherine who are new to parkrun ran the course for the first time without walking by following a pacer which is great news.

At the finish funnel the Fife maidens were panting and sweaty but they had all remembered their bar code, tokens scanned, and cosy blankets on, they trotted off to the Knavesmire paddock for a full fry up - what no haggis or tattie scones??? A great wee pub at the heart of the community, served with a friendly smile by Rachel. Much banter was had, results were processed and Red Rum, Seabiscuit, and even Black Beauty were spotted downing a rewarding post run beverage ... or was that just sleep deprivation kicking in?


Thank you team York. What a great start to the rest of the day.

Then with a few hours to enjoy the peels of York Minster, some retail therapy in The Shambles then coffee and biscuits at The Grand Old Duke - elated but tired,  they boarded the train north just in time to hear the skirl of the bagpipes as another great sporting event kicked off - The Calcutta Cup, Scotland v England at Murrayfield.  You are either a winner or loser at rugby, but with parkrun everyone is a winner, and no one gets the wooden spoon!


  • Today’s parkrun was number 369.
  • 614 people ran/jogged/walked the course.
  • 112 first timers - look forward to seeing you all return next week.
  • The milder conditions gave 108 runners personal bests.
  • Representatives from 57 different clubs took part.
  • Including visitors who came from Newcastle, Dunfermline, Chichester, Harrogate, Leeds, Cockermouth and Reading to name a few.
  • The Fife fillies travelled a total distance of 470 miles - not quite 500!!
  • FEMALE record: Laura WEIGHTMAN - 16:12, 12th March 2016 (event 190).
  • MALE record: Graham RUSH - 14:37, 19th August 2017 (event 253).
  • AGE GRADE course record: Angela OLDHAM - recorded 97.59% (21:25) on 17th November 2018 (event 308).
  • York parkrun started on 14 January 2012.
  • Since then 22,121 participants have completed 140,004 parkruns.
  • With a total distance of 700,020 km being run, jogged or walked.
  • That includes 22,560 new Personal Bests.
  • A total of 1,045 individuals have volunteered 8,570 times.

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the York parkrun Results Page.

York parkrun is entirely run by volunteers and a great core team. Please consider volunteering to help occasionally - the event survives only because of volunteers. Please visit the volunteer page for more information.

This week could only go ahead because of volunteers:

Neil LAWSON • Jane LAWSON • Jane Victoria MARSHALL • Mark HARNEY • David BANNISTER • Nick GRIFFIN • Adrian STIPETIC • Deirdre SOUCH • Stuart LESLIE • Barbara GRIFFIN • Ellie GRIFFIN • Tim GIBSON • Adam SEFTON • Caitlin CLARK • Julia GAVIN • Anna MARSHALL • Ian JENKINSON • Jeannie E. SNELLING • Rachel GILLESPIE • Alan WILKINSON • Ellie PAGE • Robert MCDERMOTT • Terry BROMFIELD • Angela NORTON • Peter NORTON • Andrew CLARK • Matt BROWN • Louise STRINGER • Diane HARNEY • Judi WATSON • Sally MINSKIP • Toni JENKINSON • Varrie WARDROPE • Ruth MALONE • Stuart MASHEDER • Danny EVANS • Ruth BUCKLEY

If you would like to help at future parkrun’s please email york@parkrun.com

Thanks for reading and see you all next week.

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