1st parkrun!!

Well I went to my first parkrun today. I set out at 08:10 and walked the half mile to the start line. It was pouring with rain and I was soaked to the skin. There was no-one around and I was feeling a bit worried. Eventually a chap turns up with fluorescent trainers, and stands under shelter.

"You here for the parkrun"

"No mate - I'm waiting for my GF"

"OH ok"

"They probably postponed it in this weather"

"Oh OK"

I walks away embarrassed, and head back to the car park. I see a guy get out of his car and go to the boot, again fluorescent trainers and headphones - he must be a runner.

"You here for the parkrun"

"Yeah - gotta warm up" - goes jogging off across the field

It's still raining, I'm soaked and cold and feeling very sorry for myself. I walk home.

NO. I/m being stupid. I didn't get up at stupid o'clock to get soaked and walk back home with my tail between my legs.

I get a dry jacket and drive back this time. The race has just started so I watch about 100 people from 6 to 70 start jogging round the lake. I chatted to the guys at the start and they told me how to join, and gave me some encouragement to join in. I then went to the lake and watched the leaders come round after the first lap, then the rest of the field.

I left before the end and went back to my car to drive home. I was a bit surprised when I heard the chap who started parkrun on the radio. He was saying why he started it and how he set it up etc. I was astonished at the coincidence of me watching my first parkrun and him on the radio talking about it. good omen.

When I got back home and had a nice hot cup of coffee I realized I had forgotten to ask about dogs. The main thing that has stopped me from doing this c25k in the past is that I'm phobic about dogs, and doing a parkrun terrifies me. I was going to ask if there was any problem with dogs on the run, But now I realize that running in a pack will probably be OK. I'll be able to hide behind other people when I come across a dog, and anyway the dog owners will know to keep their charges under control.

So that was my first experience of parkrun. I'm not that impressed to be honest, but I still feel that after completing c25k, doing a parkrun successfully will be my graduation run. And I still want to complete 5K in less than 30 minutes. I suspect that I'll stay in the gym rather than do parkrun every week, but i need to do at least the one to graduate.


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14 Replies

  • Probably not a good first time experience of parkrun - but now it can only get better!! :)

    I introduced my next door neighbour to parkrun yesterday - his first run happened to coincide with the local parkrun's largest turnout of runners ever - 265!!! He was blown away - he used to run in his teens but hadn't been able to get past 3.9 klm recently -- but the crowd dragged him along and he did the whole 5K in his first parkrun in 27 minutes - not bad for somebody who started running only about a month ago!! :) - and he is 39.

  • That's not good. I guess you have to appreciate that Parkrun is a voluntary thing and no doubt the organization can be a bit haphazard in places. There are plenty of well organized Events out there. I recommend a look at runbritain.com (assuming you're in the UK of course) and marvel at the sheer number of things going on. I've had a really very good experience with an outfit called The Race Organiser who know how to put a race on. Typically there's an entry fee, but in my experience, what that fee buys you is organisation, confidence and safety. Not to mention a nice shiny medal....

    Don't let this hiccough put you off. After being uncertain, I found running with a big group of people is really exciting! You just need to find something you feel comfortable with.

  • Parkrun is well organised free has changed peoples lives .

  • As I said, there are some very well run events out there. Just not this particular one on this particular day apparently. Running is a peculiar thing. It's an indivdual activity, but when done in a group it can be incredible. I'm not anti park-run, but I'm always disappointed in anything where the newcomer isn't welcomed and shown what to do. Let's face it, that's likely to include nearly everyone passing through this site. They are going to feel nervous about running with others for the first time and will need a little encouragement. If your Parkrun did that for you, then it was doing a great job and if it's anywhere near my neck of the woods, I'd gladly join in.

  • I agree Rob.

  • I have recently graduated and heard the radio interview too, it was very inspirational, and spurred me on to keep running. Perhaps a Park Run in better weather will be best for us all !

  • I went on my first ParkRun yesterday. The weather nearly put me off with gales, sleet and snow, but I'm really glad I went. The crew were so supportive and encouraging, especially at the end.

    Well done for getting up and out there. Now you've seen the event, and you've spoken to one of the crew you know a bit about what to expect. Like Bazza says, it will be better next time.

    Don't give up. It's different experience to running at the gym and well worth it.

  • Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience. I have been doing parkruns for a while now. Yes they can be a bit intimidating especially if you turn up alone but you soon get to know the regulars. It's a great way to bring down your times and can get a bit addictive, trying to beat the person who piped you on the line last week.

  • Great positive post Parkrun is fantastic way to start the weekend

  • It's nice to read both sides though too. I'm incredibly nervous about doing a Park Run but am hoping to one day. They aren't all positive experiences as we've read on here before but lots enjoy them. If I don't like my first, I'll just carry on running alone...me and my headphones and Lily,my youngest Labrador. I quite like solitude anyway as is seen by my business...dog walking. I'm not mad keen on big groups of humans :)

  • My journey on C25K was featured this week on our company intranet site, and you'd be amazed (or maybe not) at how many people have come out of the woodwork and admitted that they're doing it too, and just as many trying to get me down to our local Parkrun. By all accounts it's very well run and very friendly so I'll give it a go in a couple of weeks I think. Sorry your experience wasn't brilliant, hoping my first time will be better. Keep the faith!

  • Parkrun is a terrific free event. It helps, encourages and motivates so many people in so many ways.

    A first parkrun can be a little intimidating in that you don't know what to expect. You have the young elite athletes in their running gear limbering up. A lot of the others are talking about running, times, distances etc which can also be intimidating as you wonder if you are out of your depth. But it is a family that normally only meet once a week who have a common goal of running, so naturally the main topic is running. Whether you are old or young, fast or slow, male or female, slim or overweight it is a free event that has helped so many people to keep running on a regular basis. If you have a 5k goal time then the best way to achieve it will be park running as you will consistently run faster than when you run on your own. If you don't get hooked the first time try it a couple more times before passing judgement.

    Funnily enough i am uncomfortable around dogs although i sometimes do a parkrun with my daughters dog. Yesterdays parkrun i had a dog run across in front of me causing me to take avoiding action. The dog was friendly but its owner just happened to be walking it in the park at that time. Normally any dogs are really not interested in the runners.

  • Sorry if I implied anything negative about the parkrun event or it's organisation. I didn't mean to criticise. I wanted to go along to see what to expect, whether there were dogs around, and to see what people wore for the occasion. And the one chap I spoke to was a serious runner. I probably interrupted him during his preparations.

    It went wrong from the start because of the weather, but when I went back the two chaps I met at the start were both encouraging and helpful. Watching the race was amazing because of all the different types of people there, from the chap in the lead who shot off like a rocket to the lady in the middle running with her young son, to some of the back markers many of whom were older/bigger than me and doing the run, whereas I was standing watching. In all probability I won't do it every weekend mainly because of the dogs issue, but I will do a parkrun at least once, and I do appreciate all the volunteers who make it possible.

  • I did my 9th parkrun on Saturday and I love them! They are a little scary at first but once you have done one it's all good. Good luck!

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