Business & Investment

Parkruns are perfect for your pocket … and soul, says Lee Voice

I start with two clichés: First, sometimes, the best of life is free. Infrequently, but occasionally. Second, absence is truly caressing.

A good example is parkrun. Every Saturday morning, people meet in different parts of the UK just before 9am to chat, make friends and run 5km together with different expertise.

Last weekend, the event was allowed to take place in the UK for the first time since the pandemic began. Events in Scotland and Wales will start next month and events in Northern Ireland will resume last month.

Back in the ditch: Parkrun kicked off in England last Saturday-it’s a great event and it’s even better, it’s free

I have a love / hate relationship with running. I hate the gym, but I often find comfort that helps keep me (and my dad’s weight) moving by running 3 miles.

Sometimes I can go for weeks or months enjoying a light run every other day.

You can also go for weeks or months without having to tie the trainer and keep it going, which can be demoralizing.

However, parkruns can often be the shock needed to return to that thickness. You can participate for free in about 700 locations in the UK. Basically, an army of talented volunteers can make you enthusiastic and join runners or non-runners of all levels.

This week, Consumer Trends will look at Parkrun data and how it has grown over the last 17 years to become one of the best and largest exercise classes in the UK.

Average execution time is slow

Parkrun was born in 2004 at the initiative of Paul Simon-Hewitt. The first event at Bushy Park in London was attended by 13 runners and was set as a way for Paul to spend more time with his friends.

Since then, with more than 2 million participants in the UK, Parkrun has 20 offices around the world.

It is also now a registered charity, given the potential health benefits it may bring.

Typical members performed 15 parkruns-some stick to the locals, but friends recently told me about someone who knows they perform parkrun A-to-Z Was … twice.

That is, head to different parts of the country and around the world to check alphabetically where parkruns are held. “It’s a good way to plan a trip,” was a used quote I was given.

Sightseeing in Parkrun is really important.

With over 300,000 volunteers, one of the incredibly exciting statistics that a spokesperson is telling me is:

“Over the years, our average end time will be slower-reflecting our commitment to attract people of all abilities.

In 2005, the average end time to complete a 5k park run was 22:17. It was 32:30 in 2020. “

This is important because many people think it is a club for good level runners and can be postponed. It’s not.

You get a small barcode that you bring with you to keep track of your time, but it’s important to participate.

That said, I’d like to do my best personally to see if I’m improving, because I’m competing with myself when it comes to sports.

I also often come across old friends at my local parkrun. Once upon a time, I saw someone in the year before me approaching the finish line. I rushed into the sprint just to beat her … that was the motivation needed to get the current PB.

Parkrun Goal: Get a free T-shirt after completing 50, 100, 250 and 500 runs

Parkrun Goal: Get a free T-shirt after completing 50, 100, 250 and 500 runs

It’s a great way to start your weekend

One of the main reasons I like parkruns is the fact that they are ready for Saturday. If you complete by 9:30 am and know that you have exercised, you can safely work on the rest of the day.

Young people can also participate in the Junior Park Run, which takes place on Sundays between the ages of 4 and 14. Maybe they were inspired by the Olympics – especially athletics.

Paul Simon-Hewitt CBE, founder of Parkrun, said:

“But there’s still work to be done. We won’t stop until the parkruns are back everywhere.

“It’s never been more important for people to be physically active and sociable with the local community in the great outdoors.”

I love being a free event. That is, it is well organized, volunteers are always friendly and will support you when you want to stop. And the club that freely seduces the adoption of the masses is great in my book.

It’s also a great way to meet the locals. You don’t have to be afraid to stand up alone. In many cases, you can build friendships in the ideal parkrun after a pandemic. Signing up is also incredibly easy.

In addition, I like the fact that you are timed, and it’s all put into a database that you can access to see your own profile, and the time is loaded.

Runners who complete 50, 100, 250, or 500 runs will receive a free T-shirt.

Great for kids: Junior Parkrun is Sunday-Will it help inspire the next Paula Radcliffe or morpher?

Great for kids: Junior Parkrun is Sunday-Will it help inspire the next Paula Radcliffe or morpher?

Weekend opening

On Saturday, with the support of more than 13,000 volunteers, approximately 100,000 pedestrians, jogging and runners participated in 5k parkruns across the UK.

Many may have embarked on a popular 5k program through lockdown supported by the NHS.

Some of these could have been one of the first timers to exceed 6,500. Parkruns aren’t races, but they recorded 11,873 personal bests across the UK over the weekend. However, if this is your first timer, PB is guaranteed.

I can’t wait to come back this weekend. By the time you read this, I’ll probably finish my local 5k parkrun. It’s in a beautiful forest and I feel pretty self-righteous about it.

I don’t expect to beat my (quite slow) PB-unless there’s another old school face to beat-but of course, participation is important.

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Parkruns are perfect for your pocket … and soul, says Lee Voice

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