Slowly I am getting back into running and I figured that nothing would be more perfect than for me to go for my first ever parkrun. In 2004 13 other runners got together on a blustery day in Bushey Park, Teddington UK. Now the family is international and has over half a million runners (plus me!)
Parkrun is a very simple concept: every Saturday morning run a 5k or a 2k if you are a junior. Time doesn’t matter, and clothes don’t matter. All that matters is the running with your local community. And maybe that’s why I loved my first parkrun event so much – I knew no one and only spoke to three people but I belonged to this massive, running family. I belonged even though I probably won’t recognise them if I passed them on the High Street (and they me).
It’s because parkrun wasn’t to be so inclusive that the maximum distance is always 5k. Everyone can run, jog, walk a 5k on a Saturday morning. parkrun have also made it incredibly easy to take part. You register one, get given a unique barcode and then can turn up and run whenever you want without having to do nothing other than bring the barcode with you.
In 2004 a group of people created a really safe and fun way to run in public, open spaces. I hate even writing this because I wish it wasn’t a concern but when running I am very aware of my own personal safety when running alone. I don’t run in parks or secluded areas: it’s always safer to run in more populated areas even if you spend a lot of the time people dodging. But with parkrun on Saturday I ran in the most beautiful park, surrounded by loads of other people and had the best time.
And I wasn’t the only one who had the best time. There was so much diversity with who came out to run and I absolutely loved that. As parkrun is free cost wasn’t a barrier to entry and I saw people I wouldn’t normally see in other organised (and very expensive) runs.
I am definitely going to try and go to my local one every Saturday. And if you have one close by, definitely check it out!