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1st Park run Tomorrow - tips needed

Okay, so I graduated in July. Around about the same time I sustained a knee injury, so for the next few weeks my running was somewhat sporadic.

However, in the last couple of week I have been putting together consistent runs, have improved my PB and now feel ready to attempt a park run.

Besides a few runs with my ten year-old during the early weeks of c25k, I have not run with another person, let alone loads of people before, so I have mixed emotions.

Although I know other who do undertake the parkruns, I have chosen to go by myself to a parkrun, where I know no one as I want to experience it for myself first. The problem that gives is as a first timer I am unsure of a few things. Like where is the best place to start/ I have a barcode so assume I need to flash at the start and end - does this slow things down for timing purposes? Just general stuff like that really. So, if you have any tips for new starters please share.

8 Replies

Well done you, this is great, you should be very proud of yourself. Ok, there is always a 'first-timers' briefing, this is for all newbies and 'tourists' , it usually happens about 10 minutes before the start and there will be a shout out for it - I can almost guarantee you won't be the only first timer....

If you're not sure just ask anyone in a parkrun hi vis, or the run director in the white and blue vest, or in fact any other parkrunner.

Take your barcode, you need it at the end. When you come into the finish you'll be given a numbered token, this is your finishing position, it also has a barcode on it. Take your personal barcode and your finish token to the people who are barcode scanning, they will scan your personal barcode then the finish position barcode, return the finish position barcode - at ours they have numbered buckets to put them in, other places have a board with numbered hooks, don't worry the briefing will tell you what to do, and anyone will help you. Keep hold of your personal barcode, you'll need it for next time! 😄

The finish number will correspond to the timers (its real clever you see!) and then a bit later you'll get your result emailed to you.

As for where to start, entirely up to you, ours has some finish time posters, just as a guide, but you don't have to go by them, you could also start with the tailwalker and see how you feel.

Go along, be brave, join in and above all have fun, it's not a test, you'll be surprised at the variety of ages and abilities, and not least the range of sizes and shapes runners come in!

I really hope you enjoy it, I'm actually a parkrun addict - did my 100th last week.......I think it's the best invention ever!

Oh and don't forget to come back here and report on your experience.




Oh it is really simple. Get there at least 10 minutes early to listen to the Race Directors welcome/ briefing, there may be a short specific one for first timers too.

Start towards the back of the crowd so that you don't get carried away/ put off by the speed of the fast guys. When they give the start.......go. You can do your 5 minute walk as part of the 5 k or before the run, entirely up to you.

Barcode:...... only needed at the end. You will run through the finish line and funnel, where a time keeper will click his timer. You will be given a token (by the token handler not the time keeper), which corresponds to your time.This you take to the guys who scan your barcode and the token....which puts your registration number/ name against that recorded time.

So run, finish, collect token, scan barcode and token. That's it.

Run or walk as much as you like. Talk to people or not, entirely up to you but I warn you those runners and volunteers are a friendly lot.

After the race join other finishers for coffee or do your own thing.

But main tip is...ENJOY!


Hi Whatsapp

Well done on getting this far:)

Some Parkrun tips for you:

1. Depending on the size of your Parkrun they may have an introduction for first timers & vistors. Some Parkruns do it all together, some it's 15 mins or so early. So no harm being early anyway. (I've been at both!)

2. Don't go to the front! That's for all the speedy boys & girls, who really do go very fast! But it really doesn't matter where you start, as it pretty much evens out after a few minutes. You might prefer to be further back, as it's not great fun having loads of people passing you. Don't be tempted to start too fast! (Another reason for starting further back!)

3. Probably keep to the left of the path.

4. You will need your barcode only at the end. When you cross the finish "line" a timer will press your time, you will go into a funnel, where you must keep in order & then you'll be given a finish token. Take your finish tokens to the scanners, let them scan your barcode first & then the token, which they will take off you. (Again the size of the funnel etc is dependent on the number of runners / walkers)

5. Enjoy it! You can do it, you're ready

6. Thank the volunteers!!!

7. Report back here😀


Parkrun's brilliant! I also like running solo a lot but nice to get with others once a week.. and it's only for about an hour, but good motivation to run or walk some if need be..

The ladies have said it all really. Maybe be best as a first timer to start near the back of the pack, but as you do more Parkruns it may pay you to start near the front which could give you a slightly better time, and you can also get your result texted to your phone if want, which can be activated on your Parkrun profile/account. Have a good one!😊


Our wonderful ladies have given you the low down..Do it your way in your own time and enjoy!.

1 like

Just to say good luck for tomorrow.

The other replies tell you all you need to know. You'll be absolutely fine and by the time you get home you'll be planning to run again next Saturday.

Let us know how you get on.

Good luck ... Go for it!

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I'll be doing my second, Whatsapp. The first was great fun, before I graduated. Everything was explained when I got there. Do own up to being a first timer and then you will get to hear the special briefing for them.

Most of all, enjoy it and take it as easily as you need to. You won't be last.

1 like

Did the park run this morning. Not alone in the end as my daughter ran with me for the first half, then left me to do the return leg. She's a good pacer as it turns out.

I really enjoyed it. It is a completely different experience from running alone. I will put on a separate post about but I wanted say to everyone who replied: Thanks all for your words of advice. I didn't feel so daunted as I would have done without them. You have a convert in me 😀


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