Parkrun is coming back to England on 24 July ... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Parkrun is coming back to England on 24 July Whoopie!

Dexy5 profile image

For those of you who have started running since March 2020, you will have heard about parkrun but not been able to participate. There are a group of us here who are totally addicted to this Saturday get together in our community.

I thought it might be useful to lay out a few hints and tips for beginners, which others may add to.

Most important, go to the parkrun website and register.on

You will then be able to print off a sheet of 6 personal barcodes. You will need one of these to have your time recorded. Please note that if printed on paper it could get soggy during the run and difficult to scan so it’s wise to laminate in a clear plastic or keep in a sandwich bag. If you decide you love parkrun you can purchase a plastic card or wristband with your barcode on later. I always have a small parkrun card laced onto my shoe so if I forget the big one , I’ll still get scanned . Some people keep an emergency barcode under the insole of their shoe or leave one in the car or bag.

You will be able to check out your local parkrun page online , and it will give you info on location, parking and a description of the course. It may also mention a cafe where some runners/walkers go for post run refreshments. The socialising might be a bit restrained at the moment though .

The run (in England) always starts at 09.00, but it’s worth getting there early, especially the first time . Let a volunteer or the event director know that it’s your first time. There will be a first timers briefing and then a briefing for everyone . Under the Covid rules these will be very brief to avoid everyone being close together for longer than necessary.

There is usually somewhere where you can leave a bag for water, extra layers but I always carry phone , money and key with me in a flip belt.

Remember, It is a run , not a race. You can run, walk or both. At many events you can take a dog (on a short leash) or a push chair but it might be worth trying it on your own for the first time.

I’d recommend starting near the back first time too so that you can run at your own pace and take in everything that’s going on around you. You can also judge where you are in the field for next time.

There will be volunteer marshals around the route to cheer you on, so don’t forget to thank them as you pass by. A volunteer tail walker will also follow the last person so no need to worry about being last.

At the end of the 5k you will enter a funnel and be given a finishing token, which indicates your position in the run. You then need to show this token and your barcode to a volunteer scanner - there will probably be long queues as people space out a bit more. Finishing tokens should always be returned so they can be reused the next week.

You will be sent an email to confirm your place and time later that morning. Please note that the time given will be from the hooter until you cross the finish line. In addition, I always start my watch as I cross the start line so that I know my real 5k run time. Please don’t despair if a mistake has been made. It does happen sometimes but it’s not the end of the world. The main thing is you got out and ran.

When things get back to more normal, you can do some parkrun tourism. Take your barcode to any parkrun event in the world and join in the Saturday fun.

If you are still on c25k and want to take part, it’s important to stick to your usual run on the programme. I did parkrun for the first time as my first run post graduation, and took W9R3 and Jo Whiley along with me.

I hope this is of some help. No doubt lots of other suggestions will follow. But if you have any questions just put them on here. There’s no such thing as a daft question.

Hopefully Scotland, Wales and Ireland will follow soon.

28 Replies
Windoze profile image

The return of PaRkRacE whoop whoop cant some course PB's that need a spanking 🤣🤣

Dexy5 profile image
Dexy5Graduate in reply to Windoze

Although parkrun is not a race against others it is nice to see PB against your time 😂

Windoze profile image
WindozeGraduate in reply to Dexy5

Ahhh yeah I know. I just get carried away in the moment 🤣

Coddfish profile image

Parkrun have also posted a handy guide today in anticipation

Dexy5 profile image
Dexy5Graduate in reply to Coddfish

Thanks Coddfish, i haven’t seen that yet. Great minds think alike.

For completeness, as I added this to Dexy's post on Bridge to 10k .......

As a time-served parkrun funnel manager 😜, I would add a plea to Dexy5's description of what happens at the end of the run - don't be a funnel-ducker! If you cross the finish line and pass the timekeepers, a time will be recorded for you. If you don't then stay in your place in the funnel queue (which can be quite long at busy runs) and take your finishing position token, times and positions will get out of sync and the volunteers will get a headache trying to sort things out.

If it turns out you're running short of time and have to be somewhere else, you can take a token and immediately hand it back, so avoiding the second queue for scanning. Or if you're really short of time, pull off the course just before the finish so as to avoid the funnel entirely. Obviously in either case you won't get an official time ........

For similar reasons, if you finish, get your token, and go back up the course to run in with a friend 👍, please don't cross the finish line a second time 👎 - but if you do, by mistake, please do the funnel queue again, take a second token and hand it back immediately without getting it scanned!

Thanks for taking the trouble to read this ....... 😀

Dexy5 profile image
Dexy5Graduate in reply to UpTheStanley

Thanks, run director to be.

Jogger22 profile image
Jogger22Graduate in reply to UpTheStanley

Hi UpTheStanley thanks for the tips. Please could you explain how our time is calculated. Does the finish token we are handed equate to a finish time and then by having your barcode scanned together with the finish token it allocates that time to you? So for instance you are given finish token no. 60, and that no. 60 token corresponds to a specific time?

Dexy5 profile image
Dexy5Graduate in reply to Jogger22

That is correct Jogger22

Jogger22 profile image
Jogger22Graduate in reply to Dexy5

thank you Dexy5 😀

Rumour profile image
RumourGraduate in reply to Jogger22

As you cross the line a Volunteer timekeeper will record that, you then take a token and that equates with your position on the timekeepers phone. That is why it is important to stay in the order you finish. Every few people over the line, the funnel manager, finish token volunteer or the timekeepers will check all is in sync. Hope that explains it for you.

Jogger22 profile image
Jogger22Graduate in reply to Rumour

Hi Rumour thanks so much for the explanation. Will definitely remember to keep in line in order in which I finish 🤔

To be even more techy .... there is a parkrun app which timekeepers and scanners have on their phones. A timekeeper clicks their phone each time someone crosses the line, creating a file linking positions with times. A scanner scans your barcode then your finishing token, creating another file linking positions with athletes. The two files are then uploaded and merged to produce the results sheet which is usually available by eleven o'clock or so - individual results are e-mailed automatically to individuals as soon as the merge is complete.

Jogger22 profile image
Jogger22Graduate in reply to UpTheStanley

Hi UpTheStanley thanks for the information. That's really interesting to know. I wondered how it all worked! 🤗

Alan99 profile image

Fantastic post. Thank you so much for the information.

Dexy5 profile image
Dexy5Graduate in reply to Alan99

I’m glad you found it useful. The link from Coddfish will give you the Parkrun view on it’s return too.

Kauyak profile image

Brilliant post thank you. I will be signing up for my first time.

Dexy5 profile image
Dexy5Graduate in reply to Kauyak

Have fun Kauyak

Anasta profile image

Sadly my local one doesn’t seem to be coming back 😢

Dexy5 profile image
Dexy5Graduate in reply to Anasta

That’s a shame . I hear there are a few landowners that think parkrun has grown to something they didn’t anticipate. I hope your next nearest is not too far away.

Hedgehogs123 profile image

I cannot start to tell you how excited I am!!! I registered for Parkrun last March, just as we all went into lockdown 😥 so I never got to do one. Then I did the C25K and found this brilliant forum, so Im just raring to go!!!!!

Thank you for this post, as its answered loads of my questions.


Dexy5 profile image
Dexy5Graduate in reply to Hedgehogs123

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do Hedgehogs 🦔🏃‍♀️

Hedgehogs123 profile image
Hedgehogs123Graduate in reply to Dexy5

Im sure I will!!!😀🏃‍♀️

Jogger22 profile image

Hi Dexy5 did you know when individual parkrun communities will start posting again on their social media sites to let us know whether they will be organising a parkrun on 24th July? I've emailed the 2 parkrun communities closest to where I live asking if they're hosting the event on 24th July but neither of them has replied and there are no posts on their social media sites either. I want to make sure that if I turn up for the run at 9am on Saturday 24th July there will actually be a parkrun! Both of these parks were listed on the official parkrun site has having landowner approval...

Dexy5 profile image
Dexy5Graduate in reply to Jogger22

All the Event directors will have heard officially from parkrun HQ this week and my parkrun put out a post on Facebook today . I expect that all events will have put something on by the end of the weekend. All directors are volunteers so may not have had chance yet. If the landowner’s permission has been granted I am sure that it will take place unless there are issues with gaining enough volunteers etc. Can you let me know your closest event and I will check on another site for you.

Jogger22 profile image
Jogger22Graduate in reply to Dexy5

Thanks Dexy5 my nearest event is Sunny Hill Park in London

Dexy5 profile image
Dexy5Graduate in reply to Jogger22

This link isn’t up to date yet, but when it is you can check if your parkrun has been cancelled in the first 3 weeks.

To be honest, I think the HQ staff are rushing to get everything up to date now as many landowners left it so late before they said yes.

Edit. I think it may be up to date after all. On 24th July, neither Sunny Hill or my parkrun is shown as cancelled so I think you should be ok. Polish that barcode and keep checking the local Facebook page

Jogger22 profile image
Jogger22Graduate in reply to Dexy5

Many thanks for the link Dexy5 and will definitely keep checking the facebook page! 🤗

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