I am a big believer in competing in races to keep motivation high and to ensure that you push yourself when running. Competing gives you something to aim for, something to reflect on and a great sense of acheivement. However, it’s hard to race on a regular basis – races often require a fair bit of travel to and from the venue, they can be expensive and, especially for the longer races, you need time to recover from them. So, it seems that it’s not possible to get all the benefits of racing without the negatives. That’s where parkrun comes in.
Parkrun is a free, weekly 5km timed run which takes place in local parks around the world. The runs are timed and results texted and emailed to you. You get feedback after each run you complete and you can view your progress online.They even track your performance accross a season if you are getting competitive.
Getting involved in this is easy:
- Find your local run on their website.
- sign up.
- Print off a barcode (this gets scanned at the end of the run and gives you your time).
- Turn up at 9am on Saturday and run.
- You will then get results sent to you.
Because of the local nature of parkrun you will find that the atmosphere is very friendly, they are really well organised and they are not too busy. My local run normally has around 100 runners of various abilities and after many of the runners go for a coffee together. If you go regularly and enjoy parkrun then you will be asked to volunteer to run the event a couple of times a year, this keeps parkrun going and ensures that it can be free.
In my view this is what running is all about, parkrun is just a fantastic idea. I hope you will find it as good as I do.