PARKRUN - A company set it 10 years ago with a simple aim to get people running. Park run started in North London October 2014 in Bushy Park. It is totally free and run on the generosity of volunteers. London is packed with Park runs and I love it. Even when I am not in London I am still park running.
So I like Parkrun, that has clearly been established the main reason for this post is I am a convert. I love it and have been spreading the magic of Parkrun to all those who listen. I wanted to list 3 reasons why I love park run.
- It is FREE. I have just hit up my credit card to buy some of my 2015 races and it is hurting. Running can turn into an expensive hobby very quickly, and while I love and am looking forward to racing I have a poor student budget. Park run asks no money of me as a participant. While I recognise it does take money to set up and keep Parkrun going I appreciate that these costs are not totally passed on to me.Having said that there is an option to donate, as I said there is a cost to running this and while it is great we runners do not bear the brunt of it, someone must.
- Competition. Go and run as fast as you can right now on your own for 3.1 miles. I can guarantee that whatever time you post you can better if you run with someone faster or even just as fast as you. I once heard a quote by Miranda CarfraeIt is not who runs fastest but who slows down the least who wins Ironman.The reason I like that quote is two fold. At the point end, that the pros are running at everyone is blisteringly fast. Everyone might be able to hit a 4.30min/mile pace but how long can you hold it? How much will you slow down whilst trying to hold it over the distance? There are two answers to both those questions. If after a minute you slow down to 9min/miles but your competitors slow to 9.20min/miles then you can still win. If you can hold that faster pace for longer but slow down more dramatically you can also still win
I am not going to go into the precise mechanisms of how that would work but in a race there are two challenges, beating yourself and beating the competition. Parkrun is brilliant because it gives you the training to handle both. It is great to be able to reel people in and then keep pushing yourself. The fact it is not billed as a race makes this less intimidating and in a way easier. It is training in the truest sense of the word for an area that for the average Jo is hard to come by.
- Routine. Saturday morning 9am I know where I should be and what I should be doing. I like that. If I am to achieve half of my goals then I need to regularly be training. Talk is cheap and running is hard but results last forever.
Every week after the race you get an email with your results, and I love that. Even when I have been ill or busy when I can I get down to Parkrun. The distance is not so long that it is impossible and it is a nice measure of just how strong or weak I am feeling. A week after having my teeth extracted and I was in quite a bit of pain, ran 2 minutes slower than all other times. Another week and I am nearly 3 minutes up on that time. Comparisons between these times are made easier by the fact it is the same route.
The upside is the social aspect makes it much easier to keep going. The atmosphere is friendly and you can strike up a conversation easily with almost anyone there. You clearly have a shared interest just by standing in that field.
So there are just three reasons I love Parkrun. I am on my way to the first badge of 10 and figure I can get the 50 by 2016. In the mean time: