To parkrun or not to parkrun?: As some of you... - Couch to 5K

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To parkrun or not to parkrun?

RebeccaSK profile image
28 Replies

As some of you will know, I'm planning to run my graduation run this weekend. My running recently has been a bit stagnant and unenjoyable so I'm thinking of splashing out and driving down to the coast for a lovely, flat, interesting final under-graduate run! There's a parkrun that basically goes along Hove seafront (so not in a park at all) and my question is this. Firstly, does anyone know that run or has done that run? Secondly, on parkruns generally do you can see a lot of people walking? I'm way short of 5k on my 30 minute runs - and absolutely fine with that, I'll worry about getting faster at some point in the future - so will expect to be walking some of it but if it's stupid competitive and I'm likely to be the last one across the line because I end up walking 3/4 of a KM then I'm not too sure that will do my morale too good!

28 Replies
Jenchristie profile image

I've just signed up for our local park run. It's free and can dip in and out as I want, so I'm aiming for once per month on a sat am. I'm hoping it will keep the interest for me and meet new running buddies. Plus I can take the dog so huge bonus. Sadly however I'm in Durham so no flat running for me 😓

RuthMargaret profile image
RuthMargaretGraduate in reply to Jenchristie

From what I gather, people all do it at their own pace. Some are competitive, others are just looking to complete it.

I've been asked by someone to join them on a parkrun on Saturday for my graduation run! I'm not sure about it for a few reasons.

1. I have struggled a bit this last week with aches and lead legs.

2. I'm used to running on tarmac and this is in a country park, gravel and mud paths.

3. It starts at 9am, and I'm used to running before it gets warm, at about 7am.

I REALLY want to do parkruns, but I don't want to put myself off at this stage. I'm going to do the podcast if I do go, so I'll be doing the warm up walk anyway. I'd just be interested to see how I manage. It's such a tough decision!

Shall we just go for it RebeccaSK? What could possibly go wrong...?

Wizziewood profile image

Hi, good idea, I'm sure you'll enjoy the Parkrun.

I'm not in your area so can't help you with that but I think they all follow a similar pattern.

There's generally a short briefing for first timers to explain the basics about the course etc and then you're off!

Of course there are the fast runners who are out to break records but there's also a few who practically walk the whole 5k so you'll be fine. Do your warm up walk, run at your own speed and don't get caught out by starting too fast and you'll probably surprise yourself.

Don't forget your barcode.

Very best of luck for your graduation run, well done for making it this far.

Let us know how you get on...happy running!

IannodaTruffe profile image

Go to the website for the particular parkrun, look up results and you will see the times of all competitors. You are unlikely to be the slowest and even if you are I would guarantee that you will be cheered across the line. It is a very generous thing to be means somebody else is not.

By going you will set yourself a 5k time, even if it is partly walking, for you to work on in future. You will experience the buzz of running with other people and if you talk to people you will discover that runners are a friendly bunch of all ages, sizes, shapes and abilities, who will welcome you aboard.

Parkrun is just about the best example of people power that you will find all for free. If you are not quite ready, why not go and watch it, then do your run afterwards.......I bet you will be hooked. Don't forget to register your club as NHS C25k online and print your barcode before you go.


runlikeagirl profile image

My park run webpage has last run stats, so if the Hove one does you'll see if people walk or not and the range of speeds.

My Iocal one seems to range from 16minutes (good grief!!) to about 55 minutes with 250 runners mainly in the 30-35 minutes category, so apart from a few walk/runs it's not really walkers that attend at mine.

runlikeagirl profile image

Personally, for the graduation run, I'd make it my own. Have a good nights sleep, choose nice weather and home in on that 30 minutes. A nice and fun no pressure 'it ain't so hard' kind of run. Then if park run suits it's yet another bonus but if not it won't taint your graduation run. Just my thoughts x

SueKen profile image

Hmm, I'm torn on what advice to give. On the one hand you want your graduation run to go well, and not be upset by external pressures such as other runners, and worrying about being too slow. On the other hand, at both park runs I have attended so far, there has been a really warm supportive feeling, very much like this forum. Either way, just go for it, and celebrate what you have achieved 😊

runlikeagirl profile image

Hope this link works

RebeccaSK profile image
RebeccaSKGraduate in reply to runlikeagirl

It does - thank you - but that's one of the other (much hillier) Brighton runs. The one I'm looking at is this one

runlikeagirl profile image
runlikeagirlGraduate in reply to RebeccaSK

Brighton is pretty hilly as I recall! (grew up around there). Hopefully it gives you a clearer picture of what to expect and will inform your choice. Best of luck whatever you choose 🤞

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeMentor in reply to RebeccaSK

They obviously have some very patient tail runners......the last person in took 1hr13 mins

Looks like a good option, but don't feel pressured by us.

Have a great run, whatever you decide.

RebeccaSK profile image
RebeccaSKGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

I'm going to do it! I've just spoken with two of the GPs I work with (both live in Brighton, both are runners) and they both say it's a really great parkrun to do. They've both been so supportive of my foray into running and are very encouraging. Thank you so much for your support and wise words IannodaTruffe

johnboy62 profile image

Hi Rebecca, I'd go ahead , turn up and do it if I were you. Don't worry about your times or walking parts of it . Parkrun is a wonderful, all inclusive, all embracing experience. There'll be other first timers there feeling in a similar way to you. There'll be the fast folk at 'the sharp end' but it's all about you and the sense of achievement you'll undoubtedly have when you finish . I run Parkrun in Lancaster and marshall sometimes. The welcome to first timers and 'visitors' is lovely. It's a fantastic movement across the country. I'm sure you'll love it and want more ! Just do it. :-)

Bazza1234 profile image

Their last parkrun had 263 runners and walkers and the slowest home took 1 hour 13 minutes. I started parkrunning at age 67 when I was on Week 2 of C25K - I just ran/walked one of the weeks C25K days every week of the 9 weeks - including the 5 mins warmup and cooldown walks) I loved it - and have only recently down my 101st parkrun :) You CAN do it!

davidhwynn profile image

For what it's worth, my vote would be to go to Parkrun. I'm still amongst the slowest group on my local one, we have some people who walk all the way (I used to but don't any more), all the volunteer marshalls encourage everyone on, always loads of people to cheer me through when I (eventually) reach the end. Always at least one tailrunner at the very back so you are never last. I've even one week had an early finisher come running round on an extra lap and run with a little group of us slowcoaches! Parkrun is in my opinion WONDERFUL. I'm part of a local beginners running club group as well - we use Parkrun as our "graduation" run at the end of the beginners' course.

aliboo70 profile image

I did my graduation run at parkrun and it made it even more special, go for it i'm sure you'll love it! :)

AnneDroid profile image

Excited to hear you've decided to go for it RebeccaSK

I'm looking forward to reading your report about it afterwards. :)

Just don't get tempted to set off like a speeding bullet just because other people are. Take it nice and slowly!

RebeccaSK profile image
RebeccaSKGraduate in reply to AnneDroid

Slow and Steady as Oldfloss would say! It was my two GPs that finally convinced me - one of them said that because it's on the promenade and there's loads of people anyway (not related to the parkrun) if I do have to walk then I will blend in with them so no reason to feel self conscious. Brighton is such an amazing, inclusive city - and apparently all the Brighton parkruns are really great!

AnneDroid profile image
AnneDroidGraduate in reply to RebeccaSK

I've only been to Brighton once and got a speeding ticket. Clearly this was for driving. There is no danger I will ever get charged with running too fast!

I love the idea of you blending in with the pedestrians. I like running where there are people walking - like through the town - as it gives me the experience of what it must be like to be one of those runners who can actually overtake people. :)

RebeccaSK profile image
RebeccaSKGraduate in reply to AnneDroid

Overtaking? What's that? ;-)

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to RebeccaSK

Go you!!! Flat!!!!

RebeccaSK profile image
RebeccaSKGraduate in reply to Oldfloss

As a pancake. Unlike my stomach which I can still feel jiggling about when I run - although it is much reduced since starting this programme!

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to RebeccaSK

Oooo! So will have a great time! Cannot wait for your post! maybe a pikkie too? x

RebeccaSK profile image
RebeccaSKGraduate in reply to Oldfloss

I'll see what I can do!

Oldfloss profile image
OldflossAdministrator in reply to RebeccaSK


Jcab profile image

Hove? I think every other person in Hove is a runner so I would have thought you'd have plenty of company. And what company? I'm sure it will be brilliant with the added bonus of being flat. Enjoy 😊

Cliff_H profile image

I did my graduation run a few weeks ago at the Tooting parkrun. I was a bit nervous about it but really shouldn't have been, it had people of all ages and abilities and you're just one of the crowd, there was lots of support and 'high fives' from the Marshals and volunteers. I liked it so much I did the first run parkrun ever to be held at my local country park. I'd advise to just go for it, you'll love it.

scoop17 profile image

Hallo - this is a late night reply from a woman who did 5k three weeks ago after going to 6 Saturday morning classes ( dedicated to getting people from 0 to 5 k ) , running outside that only 3 times. So... I didnt think I could do it; there was a 3k option on the day that I nearly went for but decided to press on; I was the 2nd slowest in group (dont know why I mention that); but I ran without stopping. I did it. After three weeks no exercise and a late night out , I have just agreed to go to a running club (with good people! who really run!) early tomorrow. So .. just go for it! Don't think about it! You can do it!

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