Couch to 5K


I'm going to be back in the UK over the Easter long weekend with family, and thought I'd try my hand at a parkrun. The last time I ran in any sort of organised event was at primary school sports day full of "everyone's a winner" and "coming last is better than not taking part" platitudes. What can I expect at a parkrun? What time do I need to arrive, and what sort of pre- and post-run formalities are there? I've looked at the times on their website, and my 5k performance so far should not lead to any embarrassment, but I don't want to turn up late or make a faux-pas. I assume park runs will take place on the Saturday of the Easter weekend as usual?

3 Replies

Parkrun is all about enjoying the run - and the "platitudes" that you mention are very much also a part of Parkrun. There are the "front runners" -- but people like me ( and maybe you? ) never ever see them except at the finish when I am crossing the line and they are all leaving the car park :) I don't even see them at the start - because they are all at the front of the pack , while I am somewhere down the back. At my Parkrun, there is a BIG lady who usually comes in dead last - 10 minutes after the second last runner. She is usually accompanied by the volunteer marshals who have been picking up the flags . She gets more encouragement to cross the finish line than anyone else and she is very proud to have transported her body on foot for 5 klms . :)

The only requirement is that you need to be registered with Parkrun and take your barcode to get an official time for your run , you should get there in sufficient time to find somewhere to park your car :) and all Parkruns that I have been to have a short "first timers" briefing before the start, where answers to questions like "Which way do we have to run?', etc are answered.

Just do it -- and stop sweating until you are actually on the track!!! :)


Thanks for the confirmation. Assuming my 5k times that I have achieved on my usual run-around-the-neighbourhood is representative, I should be about 3/4 of the way down the results table, which suits me fine. I have registered and and printed off a barcode (I had to cheat because the registration expects a UK address, which I don't have, but I used my brother's). I was just concerned that there might be something like a pre-run scanning of barcodes that if I turned up just in time for starting I might miss.

My caustic comments about platitudes was specifically relating to their use in compulsory school sports, where I had no choice about participation and where social status was strongly linked to athletic ability, which I lacked. I certainly think in a purely voluntary atmosphere such as a parkrun, the situation is quite different.


You only need the barcode after the run - and if I ever forget my barcode ( which I have) , I just do the run as per normal but don't go through the finish line.


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