I had heard of parkrun but didn’t really know that it was such a national (and now global) phenomenon. After my advent running experience in December I wanted something to add to my 3 runs a week and parkrunning seemed perfect as it is just 5k and is held on Saturday mornings at 9am – so wouldn’t take up too much of the precious weekend.
After a Twitter contact mentioned that there was a local parkrun nearby in Chipping Sodbury I decided to give it a go. Dave was willing to join me so a few weeks ago we attended our very first event.
parkrun is free to all – you just have to register and print off a barcode to take with you. The barcode is used at the end of the run to give you your time. The event is run by volunteers and is really well organised. We have decided that after we have done 10 runs we will volunteer to be volunteers and I’m looking forward to that very much. I love to give encouragement to fellow runners and it means I will get a rest!!
Our first run was wet and cold but there were still 264 attendees, from seasoned runners to newbies, runners with buggies, dog walkers and children. It was very friendly and welcoming and before the run there was a briefing with applause and appreciation for new runners, runners who have reached a milestone (10, 25, 50, 100 runs), tourists (those who are parkrunners from another part of the country) and the volunteers.
I managed 31 mins 10 and I was extremely chuffed with that – probably one of my fastest runs ever. For me, parkrun is basically a sprint and is different from my other regular runs because having people around me helps me to run faster and there is no chance for a quick rest. The 5k distance means I can keep quite a good pace going – of course the whole point of parkrun is that anyone can take part regardless of age or ability, and you don’t have to run the whole way – but it seems to have brought out the competitive streak in me.
This week (my third parkrun) I found that I was getting frustrated because I wanted to run faster and people were in my way! Grrr!! Despite that I still got a PB time of 30 mins and 23 seconds – which I am very proud of but of course it means that I have to aim for a faster time next week….
Have a look at the Chipping Sodbury parkrun course.
Update: April 29th 2016 – I have now run 12 times, including once in Paris – I was true to my word and after 10 runs I volunteered and thoroughly enjoyed it! I have also now recorded a PB of 29 mins and 47 seconds and am very chuffed with that.