Persuading you to Parkrun!

Hey! Now I may have only been to Parkrun twice, but I love it! And I hope that other people might share my enthusiasm.

I love the fact that Parkruns are free- compared to a lot of timed runs/ races which can be really expensive (they are not officially races, just timed runs), and they have a great community feel. To join all you have to do it go to the Parkrun website, register, and print out your personal barcode. Then you turn up at whichever one you want to go to (they mostly seem to be 9am on a Saturday), making sure you bring your barcode with you (you need it after you have finished so if someone comes to watch they can hold it for you, but it is only small so fits in a pocket). This morning I picked up my brother, and parked up at about ten to 9. We walked up to the start line (along with nearly 200 other runners!) and the person starting the race went through the route, congratulated people who had anniversaries (it was hard to hear as I was near the back)- we all gave them a round of applause anyway. The bells on the local church began to chime for 9 o’clock, and then we were off!

I didn’t think I would be as fast as last time, as my Dad was a pretty great pacer, plus I have missed 2 weeks due to going on holiday so don’t think I am quite back to normal. But after the first half a mile I glanced down and noticed the pace began with an 8. What??? The weather was perfect- cool and overcast. I had opted for capris and a vest, although a lot of people had jumpers or jackets. A little later the sun came out and it suddenly got very warm. I glanced down again and saw I was still going at 8 something minute miles. A little later (running into the wind, which was not that strong) I noticed a 9 which was what I expected more- I knew I was slowing. After 2 miles my brother caught up with me, and I told him I was slowing down whereas he told me he was speeding up! I told him I would see him at the finish line, and off he went. The St Albans route goes along a path, around a small lake 3 times, and then back along the path again. It is pretty flat, but when you leave the lake there is a short but quite steep section to get back up to the path, and I found that tough. My brother told me he tries to speed up on the final lap of the lake and then take the hill a little slower. Anyway, at that point I saw my watch was on 24 mins, and the first time I ran it, my time was 27.12. I could see the finish but I was not sure how far it was. I decided to go flat out to try and get as close to my last time as possible. My brother was just ahead of me and I went past him, and then I heard someone thundering past me- I thought it was him but it was a girl who got there a split second ahead of me! When you reach the finish you go through a little “chute”, someone has a timer, and someone else hands you a little plastic chip with a barcode on it. It is a very clever system. My brother was seconds behind me, and I think the first thing I said was “I feel sick”- I really did, although as I wait until after for breakfast I told myself I would not be. I had pushed myself hard though. Anyway, after a minute I was fine. Then we joined the queue, and this is when you need your paper barcode. You hand that and the little plastic chip to some other volunteers, and they scan them. By then it was raining a little, and I was getting cold, so we headed back to the car (I had left my jumper in there), but there were lots of people cheering in the runners- it is all very encouraging.

The other thing that I love is the email (although mine doesn’t seem to come through, which does not matter as you also get sent your links which you can click on to see the results, in fact I think you can just look for them for any Parkrun if you know people running them/ just feel nosy!)- it lists all the people who took part, their time, their pb, age grading, overall position and gender position. I could go on for hours about that! Today there were 197 people running (crazy!)- the first person finished in 17.34, and the last finisher was 40.16. There were children, serious club runners, older people; a huge mixture really. I was the 130th person to finish, and the 26th girl out of 71. Not bad really!

Also I love it that they are all over the place. Next weekend we are going to Dorset for the weekend, and I was quite tempted by the idea of going to Poole Parkrun, although we are staying in a different hotel on the Friday night so I am not sure if it will be practical. But my Dad did the Wimbledon one when he was working there for the tennis and I am sure a lot of people go to different ones. I think you would have to look on a map at the route just to check you know it, but there are marshals (volunteers- they do ask you do help out at a couple of runs per year if you can) on the routes too.

So, if you are tempted I say go for it! I probably won’t go every week as I do prefer to do my long run on Saturday morning, and it is too far for me to run there and combine it with a long run. But I think once a month or so will be good. I think I got really into the plodding along on longer runs, and I think a short sharp run is good for me too.

I looked on my Garmin when I got home and my miles were 8.46, 8.54, 8.56 (slowing all the way!) and then 8.08 for the last little bit- I did try to sprint! Not bad, but I looked back at my last one and I sped up each mile for that one- I think that is the better way to go.

After that I dropped my brother off and headed home for shower and breakfast.

Yummy! Mango coconut water, some mango, pineapple and melon, and a bowl of muesli and puffins (we bought them on holiday- we tried them in the summer and both loved them!). Delicious (and I have just found they are on i-herb too, I might be tempted…).

I have a lot of work to do this weekend, so I did some of that (partly why the Parkrun is so good is because I was home and out the shower by 10am so had a lot of the morning left), did some cleaning, had some lunch and then popped out to the shops for a break.

I needed a few bits in Boots, and saw the Naked hair conditioner (I think I have seen this on a couple of blogs) so decided to give it a go. Debenhams were having a sale so I picked up a bargain top (£6!) and that summery peachy/ pink cardi.I treated myself to an ice chai latte (in my cup- saved 25p!!) and then got myself and my Mum some flowers in Waitrose. Also, the free paper this weekend has a voucher for the posh Twinings tea- I have had my eye on the Gingersnap peach tea for ages, so I am going to use the voucher for that- I love a good freebie!

Then I popped to see my Mum, and then came home for more cleaning, and more work. I am making a chickpea stew for dinner, which can cook while I do my work (ahem, this is a little brain break for me!).

I feel like it has been a productive and enjoyable Saturday 🙂

Would you be tempted to go to a Parkrun? Or if you go already what do you love about it? Did you have a good Saturday?

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20 thoughts on “Persuading you to Parkrun!”

  1. I would love to do one, but the Glasgow one is on the other side of the city from where I am, and I am really not a morning person. I’d have to get up really early to get there and since I’m just getting back to running, I feel I’d be the last person running. 🙁 Maybe once I’ve run some more I will try it out. 🙂

    1. I think running on your own is good to boost confidence, but I would say that they are really welcoming events. There were people run/walking it too.

  2. I am so tempted with Parkruns. Especially now I’ve joined the running club and they all do it. I think I’ll try one ins few weeks time as I have a 10k coming up in 2 weeks but the after that I’m definitely going to go and do one. I hear they’re just such good fun with great atmosphere. And especially with the weather gettng better now!
    Well done on your times!

    1. I am sure you would love them! A good chance to run in a sort of race atmosphere (but not quite), plus no stopping for traffic or anything so you get more of a proper time.

  3. My local parkrun is St Albans, yay! I have actually registered but thus far haven’t given it a whirl. Your description was really helpful, perhaps I’ll pluck up the courage to go soon 🙂

    1. Aha maybe I will see you there on Saturday then! My local park is really Welwyn, but they don’t have one (I could run to and from that as it is about 1.5 miles away), but St Albans is close enough and really good. I was pretty nervous the first time but going with my Dad and brother really helped as I didn’t need to work out which car park to park in/ where the route went etc.

  4. Congrats on your time 😀

    Parkruns aren’t for me because I’m just not a 5K enthusiast, plus I tend to reserve the ‘big crowds’ for races that are longer. The parkrun nearest to me is always utterly packed and even if I ran down and then ran home I think it would be too much for me in terms of anxiety! I might go if I had someone I knew there to protect me though 😉


    1. Well if you are ever down this way we could go together, and I could eat your dust! I can see how it would be daunting- I think some of them are much smaller, but the first one I did was on a stinky day (really strong winds, hard rain, cold) and it still had over 100 people. Although after the first 2 mins everyone was pretty spread out- the paths can be pretty narrow but there was no congestion at all.
      I think I am better at the middle distance races, as I have time to get into a swing, and the running while gasping is not so easy, but I think it is good for me to do the shorter sharper ones.

    1. I looked on the map and they have some in Denmark randomly, and they are starting up in America and other countries too.

  5. I cover my barcode in sellotape and stick it in my back pocket. Dan tucks his into his sock! The sellotape stops the paper becoming all bitty in your pocket. I love all the stats you can look through on the Parkrun website too. We’ve signed up so that we get texted our results as soon as they are available as well as the email, so that if we’re out on Saturday nights we know straight away if we got new PBs! Well done on your 8-something-minute-miles! One of the things I love most is that if I go back to my parents or we go away for a weekend I can try a new Parkrun…for free and still get all of these stats. Everybody at both Parkruns I’ve been to have been so supportive and encouraging – I hope to volunteer soon. I’m doing my best to spread the word about Parkrun too! 🙂

    1. Good plan with the tape! I have mine in a very high- tec sandwich bag, which I then put in one of those annoying arm pouch things (I had to have that for my car key as none of my clothes had zipped pockets). I’ll have to look up the text thing as I like the sound of that!

  6. Wow, amazing job on the Parkrun! It was great to hear your recap, even though it is a three mile race I swear some of my Parkruns have been harder than longer races! The Bristol one is half up a very steep hill, then half down it! Sounds like you’ve had a great day 🙂

    1. I think 5k’s are really tough because you have to really push out of your comfort zone- I hate that feeling of gasping for breath whereas when I am running further it is still hard, but manageable I think.

    1. There are new ones all the time popping up- I think they are perfect because the distance is relatively short so it can appeal to beginners/ people who don’t want to spend much time running etc.

    1. A benefit of not working at the weekends- hope you enjoy it if you give one a go (I am sure you will) 🙂

  7. We’ve just volunteered at our local Parkrun and it was good to see the other side of this popular event. I’ve printed my parkrun barcode on pink paper and my husband’s on blue and then laminated them – works for us!!!

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