As anyone who knows me knows, I've already got a mild Park Run obsession. Last month I broke outside my normal routine of my local Park Run to go to a few other local runs, as well a volunteering at others, and it increased my love even more. So I thought I'd spread the love here.
Lining up at the start of my local parkrun
Firstly, what is Park Run? For those who I haven't already bored with the details, Park Run is a series of free 5k timed runs that take place in parks across the UK (in fact, now globally) at 9am every Saturday morning.
How to take part - All you have to do to take part is register on their website, print off your own personalised barcode from the link you'll get and (remember to!) take it along with you to hand in at the end of your run. Simples!
Why it's so great - where to start!
- There's a great community feel - any new runners get a big welcome clap each week and there's often social events around the runs. I volunteered at a few Park Runs last month and it really brought it home to me the impact that the event has on all those who take part.
- It's for runners (and aspiring runners) of all levels - there's people sprinting round to try and finish first alongside people doing their first timed run event who walk-run round with a massive smile on their face when they realise they've completed it.
- It's great for tracking your progress, the distance is the same (although each Park Run can have quiet a different feel and terrain), whether your focus is setting a new PB (personal best) or just being reassured that you are making progress, it's always exciting when the emaill comes through with your results and how it compares to previous weeks.
- It's great training - many more advanced runners think 'if its less than 10k it's not worth it' but being able to push yourself for 5k at a higher speed than you would normally run can be great training (for both the body and mind) and see you make some real improvements in your run speed.
- Equality! Park Run use age graded scores so you can compare your personal performance with others of a different age or gender. Age graded scores are based on the world record time for your sex and age, meaning in the Park Run results we all start off equal.
- There's a Junior Park run - which is really growing and encouraging kids up and down the country to get out running.
- It's free and it gets you out of bed on a Saturday morning - I know that I often end up putting off a run session, especially when the weather is less than appealing, but knowing I need to be there on time makes sure I get out and run. You can always combine it with a longer run there and back or after if you want to do your long run that day.