What is Parkrun?

Parkrun. Photo Niki RT

Parkrun celebrated it’s 15th birthday on 2nd October 2019 and if you’re a runner you’re probably at your local event most Saturday mornings. But if you’re just starting your running journey you may be wondering what all the fuss is about?

Parkrun is a timed 5km run that takes place every Saturday morning and there’s probably one near you. Did I mention that it was free? Yep, you heard right – it’s completely free! It’s a simple idea and enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people around the world on a weekly basis.

Watch out! Photo: Niki RT

It started 15 years ago in Bushy Park, London with just 13 people running and it was a few years before it spread further afield but it now runs events in over twenty countries with the Netherlands joining the gang in 2020! Parkrun is a wonderful event, run by volunteers and has a great, supportive community.

Accessible to everyone, it’s important to point out that it’s not a race – it’s just a run. Sure, you have the speedy people at the front who run around in no time but whether you’re a marathon runner or someone who’s just started out and currently alternating walking & jogging to get round, everyone is welcome!

Introduction for new runners. Photo: Niki RT

To join, first, you have to register on their website, this will give you your free barcode which you bring with you to every run. So, you just turn up to the event, arrive a little early so you can listen to the announcements – this will be any milestone runs, birthdays, tourists and anything to watch out for on the course. Then you just follow everyone else to the start line and start walking/jogging/running when the siren sounds – easy.

When you get to the end, you’ll queue up in order (this is important so you can get the correct time), you scan your barcode (you can still run if you’ve forgotten it, you just won’t have your time registered and you’ll be very sad!) and then a few hours later you’ll have an email with your time!

The all important barcode. Photo: Niki RT

Sometimes, you’ll be chasing a PB (Personal Best), other times you’ve lost your mojo and just want to get around in one piece but however you’re feeling you will be filled with new motivation with everyone cheering each other on!

Head to your local Parkrun. Photo: Niki RT

And, you don’t have to stick to just your local Parkrun, your magic barcode will work at any of the locations so if you’re off on holiday or you just fancy a change, you can Parkrun somewhere new. So, there’s no excuse to miss your Saturday morning run and it’s just a lovely way to start the weekend, safe in the knowledge that you’ve got a run under your belt so you can have that slice of cake! Get down to your local Parkrun next Saturday!

Happy birthday Parkrun! Photo: Niki RT

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