I think I've become a tourist

Once upon a time, I had a real hang up about Parkrun. You see, running for me is personal. It's "mine", my own, my precious..... So the thought of running with a group of people where I might be a stand-out-like-a-sore-thumb outsider mad me feel queasy..... Until I Turned up one week with my bar code and did it and of course I was completely wrong.

I'll never join a running club because that just doesn't appeal to me, but what I appear to have stumbled upon suits me down to the ground. This morning I ran my sixth Parkrun. My first was back in April, so I'm not a regular, but instead I incorporate them into my training plan for big events that i run (more or less one a month). Living in Essex and only a few miles from the M25 means that I have some real choice when it comes to parkruns. My local event is completely off road, hilly and very difficult, but I don't have to look very far to find something very different. It may have been only my sixth Parkrun today, but it was my fourth different venue. I chose Raphael Park in Romford because it's a largely flat run that is reasonably similar to the venue of a 10k I'm running next weekend. I went round in 29:21, my best 5k in over a year and consequently I have some real confidence going into next week.

Some folks love the familiar, some the camaraderie, but for me, spending half an hour on a Friday evening looking at course descriptions, choosing something that takes my fancy and then turning up on a Saturday for a leap into the unknown has become a completely unexpected pleasure!

The only decision I must make real soon is where to go and volunteer. It's the right thing to do after all.

19 Replies

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  • Brilliant ! Well done Rob xxx

  • Interesting way of doing it. And good for you, planning to do the right thing there, too. For me (and assuming I'm allowed to go back to running some day) if I went touring I'd have to go quite a long way to find something substantially different to the one I've done here. If I go up the coast, there's Umhlanga Rocks -- along a beachfront. If I go down the coast, there's Amanzimtoti - a beachfront. Inland, there's Shongweni, up in the hills, but after that the distances start to stretch to 100's of km. Still, it's an interesting concept - Parkrun tourism. Try to run somewhere different every week.

    One day you'll have to go over to France and add another English name to the English parkrun in France. (Doesn't look like your neighbours have really taken to it, yet.)

    (And my apologies to anyone Irish, Scots, Welsh, or Cornish for not properly tribalising my description of the parkrun invaders of France).

  • Thanks for the info, I didn't realise there was PR in France. It looks like it's just started, what fun to be in at the beginning like that! It's too far from me, but maybe one day there'll be one close by. Albi would be great!

  • You should contact them and see if you can start your local one. That way, even if the first event is poorly attended, you might even be the first one in. :-) Glory! Just think..

  • There are no parks around here! I'm pretty much the only runner, although people do come in to get some hill training!

  • It would probably be hard to get some farmer to allow the mob to come and trample his crops in a non-running district, so I suppose your local Parkrun is not to be. If you came across runners not too far away, though, it might be something worth considering. The three of you could take turns at being the first one in, and guarantee your places in the record books. But that requires a park or something like it, the said other runners, and a viable distance ... So even that possibility is probably too faint. But keep your ear to the ground. You never know. Maybe somewhere not far away, there are already 3 runners, and they're already plotting and scheming about how they're going to divvy up the first 100 first places.

  • It would indeed be fab! I think the problem is the French don't really do parks as such, small ornate gardens yes, but not large open spaces.... maybe in big cities like Paris. Never mind, I'll be back in UK soon, I'll do my local Cambridge PR then!

  • Can't find any park runs in my region, just the odd organized run for charity. I'm keeping my eyes peeled.

  • If you're in the UK, that's quite strange. To look at the map on the Parkrun website, you'd think there was one in any village that still had memories of once having had a shop. Again, why not start one? As long as there are maybe a dozen runners, that's probably enough.

  • I'm in the South of France. Park runs haven't started here yet..

  • Yes, I see there's only one in the whole of France, near Bordeaux, I think. And if you look at their results sheet you'll see that the participants are all Islanders at the moment. It's no surprise that out in the colonies the idea took off rapidly (including that rebel colony out West), but I seem to recall that in parts of continental Europe some countries have really taken to it. Denmark, I think?

    Now all that's needed is for c25k to take over the world, and you'll have a British Empire of sorts again.

  • I think I'd consider myself as a parkrun tourist now, as well. I've done 20 parkruns to date, but at 9 different venues. I have my home run (very convenient because I can warm up by running down through the woods from home and be at the start line within 15 minutes). I enjoy going out to different venues though. Most of the runs have been within 15 miles of home, but I did manage to "bag" the Singapore run when out there on holiday.

  • Volunteering at a parkrun is fab - so rewarding and great to see everyone else enjoy running! I have volunteered a couple of times and the runners really appreciate it - makes your day to do something so lovely for others and yet also spurs you on with your own running!

  • I'm still 'thinking about doing a park run' but your post might have nudged me along a bit! I'm still not quite at 5k (4.5k so I know I can do it!) maybe it's time to have a go? I'm worried about the terrain, being surrounded by fast runners, being last of course.....!

  • Hello, I did my first parkrun yesterday and a mate from work who is an experienced parkrunner came along for support although we didn't run together. I was apprehensive as there were some clearly younger and fit looking runners but there were others too who were there for the first time. I did okay and plan to do it again next weekend. Let's face it, you are only competing against yourself and as my mate shouted across to me at the start "have fun!".

  • Haha join the club ! I am worried as well but will try to do my first Parkrun this Saturday.

  • Wish I could do likewise! Well done for your sub-30 5k, awesome!

  • Fantastic you! 29.21 for 5 = πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

    For me Running is "me" time. I like to be on my own, however I have done a Funrun a few weeks back and stayed at the the back and then further back.... further back.... So really within a few hundred metres I was on my own. I did find the whole thing great. Before the run, I felt part of a community. They are great people. It was good. At the end it was the same. Belonging was a good feeling.

    It is the advantage of running, you can be social, or on your own. It just fits in well together.

  • Hiya Rob, just trying to catch up on here, so apologies for a late comment! Well done on your parkrun time. Its great that you have a choice of parkruns, I love golng somewhere different now and again, but must admit most of my 61 runs have been at my local home ground! I can recommend volunteering, its lovely to see everything from a different angle and it takes the pressure off of your own run for a bit! x :-)

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