welcome to the newsletter
In this month’s newsletter, we head back to English class, get our hands on those neat tee-shirts that all the parkrun tourists wear, and visit a parkrun Down Under.
As a lifelong language pedant and a former English-language teacher, this daughter of a linguist knows a thing or two about grammar and syntax. Ask Ms. McKown who the best was at diagramming sentences in eighth-grade English class. Ask my beloved whose editing skills helped the brilliance in his reports to shine like the low, eastern sun early in the morning. Ask my friends on Facebook who won’t quit pointing out when they’ve used “your” instead of “you’re”. Now, ask who has insisted that Microsoft not ignore my spelling of “parkrun” but, rather, add it to the dictionary.
Spelling mistakes from this keyboard are rare as hen’s teeth, so I assure you that “parkrun” really is all one word and all lower case. It is not park run, nor is it Park Run. As a word, and as a concept, parkrun is small, simple, accessible, and uncomplicated. It’s about putting together two little words with gigantic themes into one little space on the page: parkrun.
Still not convinced? Let’s examine this compound noun’s constituent parts. First, we have “park”. To me, parks are about community. They’re about open, shared spaces where the flora and fauna can simply be flora and fauna and where we humans can go to stand amongst the bits and pieces of nature and feel a bit of peace in our otherwise hectic lives.
Next, there’s the “run”. It’s such a little word that escapes with the tiniest of breaths, although it requires quite a lot of gasping and huffing and puffing to actually perform. For some, it’s a goal; others see it as a way to reach a goal. For many of us, it’s a pendulum that swings wildly towards pain and away from pleasure before it goes reeling back in the other direction.
These are the little words that got put together, and now they mean something else. For some folks, this compound noun means no more sleeping in on Saturdays. For others, it means friendships. For some parkrunners I’ve met, it means a path to fitness, a way to stay strong during chemo, or a preemptive excuse for that impending cinnamon bun. But all of that is too much to say when you’re trying to do a 5k, so let’s just call it – and spell it – parkrun.
Julie from parkrun USA (get in touch)
parkrun milestone club tee-shirts to be available worldwide
For those of you who missed the big announcement that came by email on New Year’s Day: parkrun tee-shirts are coming! These are not ordinary tee-shirts, like the kind you get for entering a race or buy in a shop. These are parkrun club tee-shirts that can only be earned by turning up and running. Again, and again, and again. Until you hit 50 parkruns. Then you do it again until you hit 100 runs. Then you keep on running some more till you reach 250 runs. Junior runners (those under 18) are eligible for a tee-shirt after completing 10 runs.
Up until now, this has been something that each country has arranged for itself. Now, we can all access these wonderful tokens of our perseverance, thanks to the sportswear brand Tribesports. Distributed through parkrun’s Wiggle site, you’ll be able to order your tee-shirt free of charge.
Here’s how it will work: When you reach one of these clubs, you will be alerted via the regular results email, or find the link to Wiggle on your private profile page. The tee-shirt will ship to your address within a few days. Please note that you will need to pay shipping and handling, which is completely understandable when considering that Tribesports expect to give away approximately 300,000 tee-shirts worldwide in the next five years.
And that’s not all! (I’m sorry to sound like an infomercial.) In addition to the 10, 50, 100, and 250 clubs, Tribesports are adding a 500 club (“I ran 2,500 kilometers and all I got was this shirt…”) and a first-ever volunteer shirt for those who help at 25 or more events. In addition to supplying the shirts, Tribesports wants to hear your input on what the shirt should look like, so vote here.
Last but not least, let’s talk timeframes. The first batch of tee-shirts will arrive at Wiggle in March 2015, at which time they will open the ordering process by adding links to those who reach the milestone clubs. Volunteer club tee-shirts will be arriving a month after the others. Those of us in the US who have earned a club tee but not yet received it will be able to order one once the tee-shirts are made available on Wiggle.
For those of you who have read all of this and can’t wait to earn your first club shirt, then I guess I’ll know where to find you next Saturday morning! And certainly #dfyb (don’t forget your barcode).
parkrun USA in numbers – December 2014
Number of runners - 300
Number of first timers - 75
Number of PRs - 63
Number of volunteers - 54
what in the parkrun world…?
Here, we feature one of the more than 400 parkruns around the world. This month, we head Down Under to the curiously named Curl Curl parkrun near Sydney, Australia.
Located in John Fisher Park just meters from the beach in New South Wales, this mostly flat course recently had its 88th event, which also saw it set a new record for participation with 247 runners crossing the finish line. Their 2,013 runners have run an average of 4.7 events each for a total of 2,103 PRs. The average time, for what the event directors promise is a quick course, is 27:19.
Runners and volunteers alike have to get up very early for the 7:00AM start. Given that it’s summer in Australia, and judging by the photos on their Facebook page, it looks like it’s still plenty hot despite the early hour. After running, runners head over to Penny Lane Café for (iced) coffee to swap parkrun war stories. The runners of Curl Curl seem to have a rich history of photo-bombing and hamming it up for the camera, so it’s worth checking out their page, particularly if the cold of winter is making you wish for a little fodder for sunnier daydreams.
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.
parkrun partnership with Strava
parkrun has a new partnership with Strava, an online network that connects athletes. The parkrun website allows parkrunners to connect their Strava account with their parkrun profile to help them find fellow Strava athletes through a badge 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.
feedback from the field
Dear Mrs. Lori, Merry Christmas! Thank you so much for setting the runs up! We LOVE running each week! It is so kind of you! We look forward to more parkruns in 2015! – A Christmas card received by Livonia event directors Lori & Rick Brauer
Hi Clermont parkrun,
It was fantastic! We love your parkrun and you are all such a lovely friendly group of people. I'm still smiling at my achievement. Now I need to conquer a sub-30 5k in Sheffield along with my first half-marathon. Thanks for your support. Enjoy the weather this weekend. We are now back in the UK and it's wet and cold. Hopefully, we’ll see you again in the not too distant future. – Elaine Bartlett, on Clermont’s Facebook page
Happy New Year from Scotland to everyone at Clermont parkrun, my favorite 5k in the world!! – Ewan Cameron, on Clermont’s Facebook page
Great way to start off the new year! – Philip Susann, on Durham, NC’s Facebook page
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: Tom Griffin
Club: Carolina Godiva Track club
Home parkrun: Durham, NC
Occupation: Retired (former oil field services technology transfer specialist)
Number of runs: 15
Favourite volunteer role: Photographer
What do you do at parkruns: I have worked at almost all positions at Durham, NC parkrun and enjoy all of them. I have not run nearly as many as I would like due to injury and several surgeries.
How has parkrun changed your running: Although I still follow a training routine during training runs, during parkrun events, I have learned to run more just for the fun of it.
What do you like about parkrun: The thing I really like about parkrun is that it doesn’t matter how “good” or how fast a runner you are. All runners, or walkers, are welcomed and encouraged. I also like that parkrun events are very friendly and many runners hang around at the finish line to encourage those finishing after them. I think this is the essence of parkrun. Another thing that is unique to parkrun is the parkrun tourists. Not many weeks go by that we don’t have a tourist from some other country, many of them going out of their way to come to Durham just to participate in our event. And I have to say that I really look forward to the gathering at Foster’s Market afterwards and the grits bowl.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: For me, the most memorable moment at Durham Parkrun was the first anniversary party. Participants brought their favorite snack or breakfast food and everyone stayed around enjoying the varieties of food and the company of other parkrunners. Those reaching key milestones and memorable performances were honored.