Tamworth parkrun

I wonder how many of you have heard of, or participated in a parkrun event. I kept seeing comments on Facebook from people asking who was going to this or that Parkrun. I have to say, the green-eyed monster comes out to play a bit when I see so many great events available for people who live in the bigger cities.

This time though, I decided to do something about it. I contacted parkrun and got all the information about the requirements for getting one started here in Tamworth.

They put me in touch with another lady who’d contacted them recently. We met for coffee a few months ago and this week we’re having our first official meeting to get this up and running – if you’ll pardon the pun. We’ll be looking at sources for funding and potential 5km courses.

I also contacted one of the “contacts” for a parkrun in another town to pick their brains a bit before launching into it.

The only “advertising” I’ve done (and I use the word loosely) is to mention on Facebook what we’re hoping to do. So, I have a bunch of people I’ve never met coming to my place on Thursday night and I’m pretty excited.

I’m looking forward to meeting other non-serious runners and the chance to be part of something like this. I’d like to see a parkrun event established in Tamworth and to see it become a self-sustaining, fun and important part of the community. I’d love to see people of all ages, backgrounds, gender, and social status being able to participate in the weekly, timed, non-competitive, and free, 5km run/walk. It would operate in a family-friendly environment, promoting healthy lifestyles and inclusivity through social interaction. And the best bit? Because it is free, noone is excluded.

Because it is non-competitive, fitness level is not an issue. However, individuals are still able to challenge themselves against their own times if they want to. There are a lot of statistics available. Look at this example (taken as a screenshot from www.parkrun.com.au) today 26th August 2013:

parkrun

I’m hoping to get a group together to travel down to Newcastle and do one of their parkruns one weekend soon so I can see how it all works and comes together.

Speaking of travel, I’m very seriously considering putting a late entry in for the 10km event at the Forster Running Festival in a couple of weeks. I’m a bit disappointed that I allowed myself to walk as much as I did in the Tamworth Ten and would like to “redeem myself”. Who needs an excuse to go to the beach anyway???

So what is your experience with parkrun? Have you done it? Do you know others who have? And if you’re local and want to be part of the organising group – please feel free to contact me!

I love this (also captured on their home page tonight):

parkrun2

For more reading about parkrun, I suggest reading some of these recent posts by other bloggers:

http://fromsnickerstomarathon.com/2013/08/26/parkrun/

http://unsportywomencanrun.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/parkrun-volunteer-being-a-pom-pom-girl/

http://markdieselforster.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/when-saturday-comes/

http://mawilrunningforcharity.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/parkrun-24-08-13/

http://thefatgirlsguidetorunning.com/2013/08/24/10-easy-ways-to-start-running/

http://sitereport.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/a-trip-to-bournemouth-parkrun-for-their-inaugural-event/

http://canibringivy.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/a-park-and-a-run-parkrun/

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17 responses »

  1. Hi I just wanted to say how fantastic it is that you are setting up a park run. The thing that I like about it is that you get all standards of runners there, it’s welcoming and people ‘spark’ off each other in all kinds of ways.
    How to get publicity though?
    I had read about Parkrun in a running magazine and googled it, so that’s how I found my local Parkrun which is about 10 miles away. That was about a year ago. This weekend I was thinking about should I join a running club and googled (again) some of the local running clubs. That was how I found out that someone had set up a new park run nearer to my home! I don’t know how I would have found out otherwise as I wouldn’t have googled Parkrun again having found my nearest one.
    I wonder if one approach to publicising your Parkrun is to let local running clubs know about it? Surely all those runners will be looking for a free , timed, 5k race? That way you will get enough people knowing about it to generate word of mouth to people who are too new or shy to join a running club? And you will have a mix of runners.
    Good luck, julie

    • Hi Julie. We will be certainly be contacting other running groups and emphasising that we are hoping to co-exist, not compete with them. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    • Thank you! I was thinking of you today. My PT decided to introduce weights for the first time so I was doing deadlifts and squats thinking how much more your photos mean to me now that I’ve tried it with barely any weight on the bar!

  2. Hi! I regularly read your blog and am the Event Director of Southampton parkrun in the UK. It’s one of the largest parkruns in the world, with a record attendance of over 500 that was set in July at our one year anniversary event. Obviously, I’m not local, but if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with me (southamptonoffice@parkrun.com).

    It’s really helpful to have a team of people who are willing to volunteer every week. As well as having people from a local running club helping out, I also have volunteers from the local scout group and people who are volunteering as part of their Duke of Edinburgh award. I’ve recently advertised on a national volunteering network – I’m guessing something similar for you would be: http://govolunteer.com.au/

    I was fortunate enough to stumble upon parkrun three years ago at the start of my running journey, and became a Run Director at Eastleigh parkrun, before Run Directing at Netley Abbey and then Southampton. The first two events were quite small, so I learned the ropes before taking on something larger.

    When I started running, I was hoping that I would be able to complete 5k without walking… parkrun inspired me to join a running club and build on that. I’m now ladies captain of Lordshill Road Runners and will be doing my 4th marathon in two weeks’ time. Hopefully, your parkrun will do the same for your local community 🙂

    • Thanks Tamsyn (sorry it took me so long to reply!). Absolutely everyone involved with parkrun that I’ve had contact with has been so encouraging and helpful. I’m really looking forward to it. I meet with a fellow from council this week to discuss it further. One day I will head down to Newy parkrun and actually participate and get a feel for how it works in reality. Good luck with your marathon – what an achievement. Congratulations. And thanks.

  3. Hi. I am one of the Run Directors at Newy parkrun. Did you end up coming to visit?
    A bunch of us would like to come and visit for the Tamworth launch and were wondering when it may be happening. We hear a rumour that it was January 2014…
    parkrun is fabulous for the community. We had nearly 1,400 runners at our 6 locations on Saturday. The more locations we get started up, the more runners we are attracting in the region. That can’t be a bad thing!
    Hoping all the set up is going well and you’ll be up and ‘running’ soon.

    • Hi Kara,

      I didn’t end up getting there – I couldn’t face the traffic. That, and I had a few late nights before each of the recent runs. Getting up very early to make the drive wouldn’t have been smart.

      I will probably drive down from Tamworth sometime soon with some of the others in our group.

      We don’t have a launch date yet because we are still trying to source the funding. We have a few grant applications in at the moment and are waiting to hear the result.

      We have council approval – in principle – pending fundraising. 🙂

      Looking forward to joining the parkrun community. Thanks for your support!
      Heather

      • Heather, have you spoken with Tim Oberg from parkrun Australia regarding funding? We have only had two local sponsors come on board this year. If you can see my email address, we can chat more that way. I can also put you in touch with our regions hero, Dave Robertson, who brought parkrun to the Newcastle region. He is the one of the guys you hear on ‘The parkrun Show’, also a good friend of mine. We are happy to share any information to help you get started. Please come and visit and have a look at what we do. Newy is regularly the biggest event in Australia each weekend – its extraordinary how much a free event has changed some people’s lives. Kara

      • Thanks Kara,
        I’ve been in touch with Dave a while back. He shared some documentation with us for one of our submissions. Still trying to work out how I can get to Newy for a test run sometime soon.

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