ParkRun Reconnaissance Report

There have been some brilliant posts on here recently by people who are either seasoned or rookie Park Runners or volunteers.

I'd vowed that I'd finish C25K before considering having a go.

However, davelinks got me thinking yesterday, that it might be good to do one now.

Obviously that caused an onslaught of gremlins, but I decided to do a scouting mission, just in case I change my mind.

Actually, I started procrastinating so much about going, I got there just after the run started.

I wasn't familiar with the park layout, so I told the steward at the entrance what I was up to.

He pointed me in the direction of the start, as I'd requested. It turns out that the course is actually just a big loop round the main pathway.

Suddenly out of nowhere, boom! 400 runners were sprinting head-on at me, down a 6-ft wide path, fenced in on both sides.

I had to press myself against the railings pretty quick to avoid getting trampled!

It was great to get involved so quickly :)

So, I took a vantage point over the finish zone, and soaked up the atmosphere- which was fantastic.

I don't think any of the runners today bothered with pacing- everybody was just going hell for leather as they flew past me, about 200 metres from the start.

A few random observations (which you will have already seen on here before):

There was such a massive variety of people there- young, old, skinny, fat, rookies, walkers, club veterans. It was inspiring to see such a spectrum of people get together and run.

And some of the fat people left some thin people for dead, kids seem to be able to outrun all but the elite, older runners outrun younger ones- really cool to watch.

After the first lap, the field settled down. I noticed that one of the first two to finish (time of about 17/18 minutes) could hardly walk afterwards, for a bit.

Mothers with pushchairs- there were quite a few- I imagined they'd be doing a genteel stroll- of course not! - all of them were flying around the track :)

No-one gets dropped- the pacers were all really supportive. Several of the early finishers went round the course again to offer support to people at the back of the field.

Friendly support- everyone congregates at the finish zone and gives great encouragement to people still running/walking.

Photo finish dashes- everyone, and I mean everyone, does a mad dash towards the finish line, regardless of fitness or ability. :)

What I liked the most, is that there were loads of people who I consider to be of a similar fitness level to me (ie. noob) and plenty who I thought weren't quite as fit (ie. me a few weeks ago)- and it really didn't matter that they were walking much more of the course than they ran.

I was keen to have a bash at a Park Run, but I thought (gremlins again) that it would be frowned upon if you end up having to take breaks or start walking, or go really slowly. Not at all- the opposite is true- very friendly atmosphere.

TL;DR - It's all very inclusive and supportive to people of all abilities.

I'm seriously thinking about having a go before (hopeful) graduation :)


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28 Replies

  • Watch out for the children. They will always run faster than you, even if they are half your height...

  • Don't think, do ! No reason not to now ☺

    Your report absolutely sums up parkrun whatever age or ability 😊

  • I was of the same opinion but asked a seasoned Park Runner for advice and she said to sign up straightaway. I am heartened to read your post even though I am only at Wk3R1, I'm going to sign up and start next week if possible.

  • What a great report! Really makes me want to try it. Go on finchy, you know you want to and you've been marching through the programme, no trouble at all.

  • He he. Yeah that just about sums thing up:

    Two things that you said ring most true for me:

    1) Most new parkrunners have a 10 year-old nemesis.

    2) Most parkrunners start off waaaay too fast.

  • Mine was a tiny 8 year old girl who bounced past me at the 3 mile mark as if she had just stepped out of the car! Swishy ponytail and everything!

    And you are right - many of them start too fast - I don't but I pass quite a few as I go round the course at my nice gentle pace because they have no energy left from speeding!!

  • Great timing for your post. I graduated 8th April but am braving my first parkrun with sister-in-law and niece next week. I keep on hearing they are positive events, I really hope their one is too!

    I watched our local half marathon for a short while this year- cheering on a friend- and the assortment of age/shape/size amazed me.

    Quite a few have graduated at a park run. I ran on to a sneaky non-stop 5k in week 7, just go with how you feel x

  • Go for it!

  • That's a great report. And there's always a little one who comes from nowhere and beats you over the finish line 😊

  • Do it!!!! ☺☺☺

  • Your experience sums up most parkruns, l believe. Over the last three years on this forum, l can only think of a handful of negative experiences of parkrun being reported. The vast majority of people have a brilliant time and find the support superb.

    Let's hope your next report is of your first run.

  • Excellent and very informative post, thank you.

    Doing the local Park Run is/was a plan of mine for after graduation and it's comforting to know all shapes, sizes and fitness are represented. Still feel apprehensive about going before I know I'm capable of running the full 5k.

    Like your idea of a sneak preview and know if I did do that I'd wish I was running. I'm just a coward at heart.

  • Yesterday, doing a Park Run at our stage of c25k seemed like a mountain to climb.

    From what I saw today, Pushing60 , it is doable.

    Go and have a look, it's a nice 40 minutes in the fresh air, and you get to see all sorts of different runners.

  • You don't have to be capable of running the full 5k, that's one of the beauties of it!😊

  • Thanks for posting this. I'm reluctant to do a Parkrun because I think the courses look a bit complicated or I want to avoid running in the scrum but it actually sounds fun. I think I will follow your lead and go for a reccy. :-)

  • The course at my local (Walsall) is very simple- I'm sure that the organisers explain what's what to first-timers.

    (As I say, I arrived later than planned 😢)

    And because no-one paces themselves, the scrum disappears after a few minutes :)

  • First timers are briefed at the beginning😊

  • The courses are explained at the briefing and are marked out and marshalled at designated positions, so shouldn't be too difficult to follow😊

  • Finchy that's a brilliant report back - love that you've out doing this kind of investigative research for the rest of us - thanks so much. It sounds so reassuring - i reckon you'll have a few under your belt before Graduation 😉👍👍

  • Fab post Finchy !

    I was very nervous when I first went , but now I don't give it a second thought . I get beaten by 8 year olds most of the time when I do one :-) Little cherubs !

    Have you got your barcode ? :-) xxx

  • I have, and I'm not afraid to use it :)

  • Use it! And if you go into any intersport shop with it in June you can get 20% discount on kit

  • Ha ha , Go Finchy ! :-) xxx

  • Thank you for your report finchley. I am hoping to have a go at my local park run next Saturday but was worried about all sorts of stupid things, most of which your post has put to bed. Now to take that step....

  • I'm sure you'll like it TheHack. You can always just turn up, and decide on the day if you want to take the plunge :)

  • if you still haven't completely convinced yourself, have a trial run of the course by yourself then you know you can do it regardless of the procrastination gremlins telling you to maybe wait a bit longer...I really had to make myself go to my first one, a flat course and it was fine, inadvertently ran my pb over 5k ,on the actual run , start out steady and near the back, then you don't get lots of people passing you, and when the speedy starters begin to flag it gives a little boost to be passing them! My second one was hilly so I did a trial run there so I knew I could manage it and that shut the gremlins up on the day!

  • My first Parkrun was walking and running, but I got hooked. But now I'm able to run all the way. I've made friends there and the encouragement is brilliant. To have a go will be a decision you definitely won't regret 😊

  • Thanks for leaving a comment on mine. Interesting observations about parkrun - though I am a long way off that at the moment.

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