I had never heard about parkrun until earlier this year, even though at the time there were TWO events on every Saturday morning local to us – My husband and I also take part in Race for Life and the Worcester 10K’s so we are ‘into’ our running!
So what is parkrun?
parkrun is a free, weekly, 5km run (or walk!) You can find your nearest parkrun online here there are hundreds of different locations around the world.
parkrun UK was started by Paul Sinton-Hewitt on 2nd October 2004 in Bushy park, Teddington and just 2 years later it started to expand first to Wimbledon and there are now more than 2,000 weekly runs in 23 countries across five continents.
We were down childfree for my husbands birthday so we packed our trainers and running gear and off we went to do our first parkrun! (You will need to register and print your barcode here before your first event – it’s FREE)
It was daunting when we arrived for the first time but everyone was so welcoming! parkrun is completely run with the help from local volunteers who give up their Saturday mornings to marshall, organise, set up and time so that you can take part, again for free!
This was my first ‘run’ in quite some time and I did it in a respectable 41:10 and from then I was hooked, my Saturday mornings haven’t been the same since.
Even when I found out I was pregnant in May it didn’t stop me taking part, as you don’t need to run, walkers are welcome too! So once running became too much, I swapped to being in charge of the jogger with Holly and the girls and we walked the course, it is a great way to stay active.
Children under 11 need to be with an adult at all times but they can have a barcode too once they are 4 years old. Dogs on leads are also welcome so you can get the whole family involved 🙂
This soon lead to volunteering as a the tail walker – I was pretty much last anyway so why not help out? I had to make sure no-one got left behind and everyone finished, no matter how long they took!
I’ve met ladies recovering from cancer, new mums and those with illnesses who still want to get out and active but don’t feel confident enough to hit the gym. Everyone is welcome in the parkrun family, no matter what your reason!
If you are on my Facebook you’ll see I volunteer most weeks now in roles from marshalling, time keeping and even managing the finish line funnel at Chasewater parkrun (Find out more here) – if you don’t feel like running new volunteers are always welcome too 🙂
I also find it really helpful for my state of mind – for those few hours every Saturday morning whether running or volunteering, it really clears my head. For that little bit I don’t think about work, or whatever dramas we have going on at home, no-one knows who I am or what I do, the runners are just thankful we are there to allow them to join in each week and when I am a runner I am thankful to everyone who has given up their Saturday morning to help out
So if you’ve never heard of it before, or maybe you have and thought oh no I can’t do that I don’t run – take a look and find your local one here. I promise it will be the start of something amazing for not only your health but your head too!
Feel free to tag me and let me know if you do join in!
I now also volunteer at the junior parkrun events – Find out more about Junior parkruns on a Sunday mornings here
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