welcome to the newsletter
In this month’s newsletter, no one is picking favorites, we go for a run somewhere over the rainbow, the first ever parkrun book goes on sale, and so much more. Read on!
Growing up, my two sisters and I were often competing with each other: who swam the fastest, who got the best grades, who could have the biggest hair (it was the 80’s, so don’t judge). It never seemed to end. During those few peaceful moments when we could bask alone in our mother’s love or while reading a bedtime story together, we all would invariably pose the same question on a fairly regular basis: Am I your favorite? And to her credit, my mother never wavered from her statement that she loved us all equally, and she never actually admitted it was me. But how could it not be?!
In a rather odd way, I look at this newsletter like my mother may have regarded my sisters and me. While I recognize that it may not quite be the same as parental affinity, it would still feel disloyal to hold one of the regular features in higher regard than the others. Readers, without the same loyalties that I am bound by, may choose their favorites and skip whole sections to get to what they deem to be the best part. But I give all of my sections equal attention and could never pick a favorite. Never. Never would I dote on the introduction. Never would the parkrunner of the month section get all of my affections. And certainly never would “what in the parkrun world…?” get the biggest piece of cake at dessert.
That said, there is one section – I swear I’m not calling it my favorite! – that has something unique that causes it to rise above, much like my oldest sister’s hair in 1989. That section is “feedback from the field”, and that special something is thankfulness. With Thanksgiving not even one week behind us, I’m still dwelling on gratitude and those things in my life that I’m grateful for. Life frequently seems overrun with problems and complaints and challenges. Diving into a pile of parkrun feedback, however, is the perfect antidote to all that noise.
Take last week’s parkrun UK newsletter, for instance. There are letters of gratitude for time spent with family and friends and for a community that supports effort over results. Gratitude that parkrun’s inclusivity helps runners of all abilities to take part, and that it offers a place for healing through exertion and social connections. There’s gratitude for faster times and slimmer waistlines, and gratitude for an excuse to slow down and smell the flowers in a far-flung parkrun on the other side of the world.
It’s not just the UK that are thankful for their parkruns. The Aussies, Irish, us here in the US (check it out below), and Polish are all glad to have an excuse to roll out of bed on a Saturday morning and do something that makes their own lives that little bit better while, perhaps unknowingly, contributing a dusting of happiness to each other’s Saturday morning parkrun experience. So keep running, keep volunteering, keep hanging out at the finish line to cheer in every last runner, and keep telling us what parkrun means to you.
Julie from parkrun USA (get in touch)
parkrun USA in numbers – November 2014
Number of runners - 370
Number of first timers - 94
Number of PRs - 77
Number of volunteers - 66
what in the parkrun world…?
This section of the newsletter features an introduction to one of the more than 400 parkruns around the world. This week, we look at Ardgillan parkrun at Ardgillan Castle and Demesne, Balbriggan, County Dublin.
Just 20 miles up the east coast of Ireland from Dublin, Ardgillan Castle is set within 200 acres on the Irish Sea and is within 25 miles of nine other parkruns. With a late sunrise in the winter months, Ardgillan start at 9:30 every Saturday. The course snakes through the grounds and keeps mostly to paths. It starts with an optimist-sounding downhill first kilometer, but we all know that going downhill generally means having to go back up that same hill later; the course description confirms this with the ominous words “follow the path all the way up to the finish”. It sounds like hard work!
Hard work it may be, but 876 runners have finished the course since it was first run on February 8, 2014. Through the end of November, they’ve run 42 parkruns with an average of 74.3 runners per week. Finishers have crossed the line 3,122 times, seeing 945 personal records. Their biggest attendance was 190 runners. Course records are held by Sonya Reilly (21:00), Kieron Peters (17:20), and Gerry O’Connell (79.91% age graded record). Check out the Ardgillan parkrun page for more run results, photos, and details.
in case of bad weather
The weather outside can turn frightful at any time of year. Please be sure to check your local event’s Facebook page or get in touch by email using the address on your event’s parkrun page to double-check whether a run will be going ahead in the event of inclement weather. Event directors will make every effort to alert runners to cancellations as early as possible.
parkrun: much more than just a run in the park book on sale at Wiggle.com
Debra Bourne, event director of a parkrun in the London suburb of Croydon, has put aside her writing day job to compile a book documenting how parkrun started with 13 friends in a park and developed into the worldwide, inclusive, and much loved running community it has become. Read about people’s own parkrun stories and the many ways that a simple concept in running came to resonate so deeply with so many people.
Also available through our online store is the limited edition commemorative tee-shirt marking the 10th anniversary of parkrun. All profits go back into parkrun to support our growth. Wear one and be parkrun proud!
parkrun partners with Strava
Last week, parkrun announced a new partnership with Strava, an online network that connects athletes around the world and in local communities. The parkrun website will allow parkrunners to connect their Strava account with their parkrun profile and help them find fellow Strava athletes by way of a badge next to their names in the parkrun results table. Linking your parkrun profile and Strava account is completely optional, and you can choose to revoke it at any time. Interested? Click here to learn more.
Clermont Waterfront parkrun
January 1 – New Year’s Day parkrun (7:30 at Waterfront Park)
December 6 – Santa Fun Run Rotary 5K (8:30 at Waterfront Park)
Durham NC parkrun
January 1 – New Year’s Day parkrun (8:00 at Southern Boundaries Park)
On November 15, Livonia parkrun hosted the Woodcreek Elementary School Run Club from Farmington Hills, MI. Coach Charlie Garnett brought a strong showing of nearly 40 kids and parents from Woodcreek to add some young blood to Livonia’s event.
If you haven’t visited Livonia’s Facebook page to see the pictures, then log on (www.facebook.com), search for “Livonia parkrun”, then like them and check out the photos from this and all of their runs. Clermont and Durham also have photos and more on their Facebook pages, or check Flickr for a veritable cornucopia of Clermont pics!
feedback from the field
Thank you for welcoming us! – Dawn Smith, a Woodcreek Elementary School teacher, on Livonia’s Facebook page
I try to make it out for the Durham, NC parkrun every Saturday morning if I'm in town. A free, timed, weekly 5K with a very supportive group of friendly people, it's made a great addition to my running routine by having a softly scheduled weekly activity to keep me engaged and active. It’s a great way to move for about 3 miles and get my exercise out of the way before a lot of people even get out of bed! – Bill Harris on Durham, NC’s Facebook page
Thanks for another warm welcome at Clermont parkrun. Hopefully, we will be back some time next year and I will be aiming for that PB! – Kim Holmes on Clermont’s Facebook page
I really enjoyed the run this morning! Hope to see you all again soon! – Deborah Beckett on Durham’s Facebook page
parkrun! We had a great time at Durham parkrun this morning.- Adam Gimbert (aka The Selfie King) from Australia on Facebook after he and four friends made a post-NYC marathon stop in Durham as part of their great American road trip
Drop us an email if you have an interesting parkrun related fact, happening or comment that you would like to share with all parkrunners.
parkrunner of the month
Name: Melinda Beaver
Home parkrun: Durham, NC
Occupation: Air quality scientist
Number of runs: 29
Favourite volunteer role: My favorite volunteer role is barcode scanning. It's a great way to learn/practice the names of fellow parkrunners.
What do you do at parkruns: My general approach is to start in the back, forget to start my watch timer, enjoy the notes/jokes that Gordon the chalker leaves on the course, wonder what my pace is, and celebrate when the last hill is complete!
How has parkrun changed your running: parkrun has helped me become less of a 'fair-weather runner'. I know parkrun and its volunteers will be there no matter the weather, and I've gotten better at leaving the house in less than ideal conditions. Also, I ran my fastest half-marathon last fall, and I'm sure that challenging myself at the 5k distance during my training led to this improvement.
What do you like about parkrun: I think parkrun is a great way to start the weekend - an opportunity to run a few miles, chat with parkrun friends, and fuel up with coffee and a grits bowl!
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: I really enjoyed Durham's one-year anniversary run. It was great to see so many runners come out to celebrate and support a growing local tradition.