Let me tell you about Parkrun… you might have heard of it… I have mentioned it here a number of times, but never really talked about what it is or why I love it… and given that in the back in May I crossed my second list item connected to parkrun off and since then I have also celebrated at Gardiners Creek parkrun for my little brother, my mum and stepdad’s first parkruns and friend’s 50th parkrun in Coburg… I thought it was time. Plus I am in a winter park running slump, so I am hoping this might help me fix my attitude…
So what is parkrun? Parkrun is a free, weekly, 5km timed run which probably takes place at a park near you… the are runs happen all around the world. They are open to everyone, they are free, safe and easy to take part in… it’s that simple… And why do I love it? Well there are lots of reasons, but for today, I have packaged it all up nicely into the top 5 things I love about parkrun right here:
1. It makes me move
It’s no secret that I need encouragement to exercise, the fit pig is a perfect example of that… but once I am out of bed on a saturday morning (which lets face it, is the hardest part of the whole thing) I have a reason to exercise. And while I often whinge the whole way to parkrun, at the end I am always glad at the finish line, that not only have I finished parkrun, but I have also achieved a 5km walk/run and I don’t have to think about exercise for the rest of the day.
2. It’s addictive
Not only does parkrun organise all of these events, but they time you and keep your stats all connected with a very handy barcode… at the end of every parkrun you are sent an email which gives you the results for the event at which you participated… you can see where you came, and in what time… but also how that compared to others at the same event, your gender, age group or your running club. This means that if you are at all competetive… you can race against yourself, people the same age as you… the whole community of parkrun… or a random runner you pick from the list that you think you can catch… I find these numbers incredibly addictive… I love stats… but to get the stats I have to run… or volunteer… otherwise you get nothing (other than a fun 5km run in a beautiful park).
Parkrun also encourage you to keep coming back by giving rewarding you with a free running top when you meet certain milestones, so that you can boast every parkrun about how far you have come… you get a t-shirt for 50, 100, 250 & 500… you also get a t-shirt for volunteering milestones… and nothing makes you get out of bed like a free gift getting closer.
I don’t know if it’s because they get up early… the endorphins from running? or something else… but parkrunners are nice, they are encouraging and supportive regardless of how fast or slow you are moving… They celebrate all the wins… big and small, and if you are really lucky you will find a parkrun that finds a reason to dress up every now and again just for the fun of it.
For me, it’s also given me a sub-parkrun community of friends and family that also parkrun… we might not be at the same event, but we share milestones and special events with each other and they have become a big part of the reason I run between parkrun and why I get up and go to parkrun even when its 5degrees outside.
4. Being outside
It’s a well known fact that being outside is good for your soul.. nautre is important and when you work inside sometimes you don’t go outside unless you have a reason. Before I startefd parkrunning, my weekends were not much different. It was always too hot, too cold, too hard to spend time outside, but parkrun gives me a reason to be out there… even when it’s hot, cold, raining or somewhere in between. I know I shouldn’t need a reason to go outside, but having one certainly help. Plus my local parkrun and in fact most parkruns takes place in beautiful parks… so not only are you outside but it’s beautiful.
5. There’s no catch
Seriously… there is no catch… its free, for everyone, forever… that’s their slogan… you can go when you want and where you want… just take your barcode and run… or walk… or volunteer. Nothing else is required…
So there you go, that’s why I love parkrun… well some of the reasons anyway… you should try one… if you want to find your closest course you can check out their website: http://www.parkrun.com, and if you decided to go, let me know… I’m always up for trying a new parkrun! Oh and my list items… were no. 9 ‘Do my 50th parkrun’ (completed 06/04) and no. 44 ‘Volunteer at parkrun’ (completed 04/05).