So Alan asked me to say a few words about parkrun. I’m love parkrun, could talk about it for hours so this is my ‘summary’…
I enjoy visiting new events – same parkrun vibe but different. To date I’ve completed 520 parkruns and have ran at 397 different events in 12 countries (furthest is USA). I’ve also volunteered 64 times at 64 different events.
I started touring to get away from the winter mud! Roundshaw Downs (my 1st and former Home parkrun) in summer is beautiful and has a superb fast downhill finish. In winter the 100% off-road, hilly course is muddy! 2 laps and the mud after been churned over by the 1st lappers would be so deep in parts that sometimes my trainers would disappear completely. It is so unpleasant to have my shoe sucked off my foot – luckily it only happened a few times! Standing & trying to balance, hoping to get it back on & not fall was harrowing!
Whilst visiting a friend in Milton Keynes I got my parkrun fix by visiting an event close by. Wowzers that opened my eyes – MK is flat, 1 lap around a lake and 100% tarmac. I then started going to other events intending to return to Roundshaw Downs summertime but I’d caught the tourist bug…
I miss the camaraderie of a home parkrun – where you know the team of volunteers and runners and loads of friends I used to see on a weekly basis. I also miss my ‘pace mates’ those who beat me one week and I beat them the next. That really helped me improve my run times. One of the negatives of running different course each week is that one can’t put into practice what has been learnt – when you’re familiar with a course you know exactly where to slow a little, speed up, skip over the rabbit hole etc.!
It’s quite fortunate that groups of parkrun tourists have formed a friendship and we try to meet at least once yearly, and join each other in smaller group to celebrate various run milestones.
Yesterday, I had intended to run in London but was scuppered by the train strikes so I opted for Cyclopark parkrun. I wore my Mote Runners Club running vest for the first time (having collected it from Caroline post Handicap run) and someone from Maidstone said is that anything to do with Mote Park – it sure is! He and his wife gave me a lift home saving me over 2 hours public transport travelling! Was most grateful and thankful I’d worn my Mote top!
Ethos – parkrun is for everyone!
Volunteer, runner, passionista (parkrunners who are so loyal to their home run that they have never run anywhere else) or tourist! I love that one can take that barcode anywhere in the world, just show up (no pre-booking) and run, or sign up to volunteer. There are voluntourists (yep peeps whose goal is to volunteer at many different events!)
Tourist Lingo & Many, Many Challenges to tackle with your barcode
I will start with an apology. What you are about to read may well prove to be somewhat of a time drain and potentially a bit of an obsession. However, if you fancy some Saturday adventures or are looking for a challenge for 2022 while still getting your weekly parkrun fix then grab a cuppa and read on.
When you first registered with parkrun, your aim may well just have been just to complete your first local 5k event in one piece. A few months or years down the line and hopefully parkrun has become a regular Saturday morning habit and you may have earned one of the coveted milestone t-shirts. If you feel ready to take your parkrunning to the next level and immerse yourself in a whole new world of challenges that parkrunners can choose to tackle, this report is for you.