welcome to the newsletter
In this month’s newsletter, parkrunners reveal why they got out of bed, we go record smashing in the US, and another pretty course and strange name elsewhere in the parkrun world.
It’s nearly time to pack the car and head to the beach. But only after parkrun is all wrapped up; we wouldn’t dream of starting a vacation before noon on a Saturday! With the deadline for the August newsletter duking it out with the voices of my family, wondering what’s keeping us from the rental place just a block from the beach, I thought I’d contract the work out and get some runners to write this piece.
To get them unwittingly to do my work for me, I posed to parkrunners a simple question on a recent Saturday morning: Why did you get out of bed today? Here’s what they told me:
Phil (5 runs): The thought of meeting all you lovely people and prepping for races in the fall; I wanted to see where I am in terms of my training. I’d come out every week if it wasn’t so far from where I live!
Robby (first-time parkrunner): I wanted to run a timed event and saw the signs and chalking around the park on Saturday mornings, so my wife and I decided to try it.
Gerty (55 runs): My husband, because we do parkrun as a couples thing. And I want to get to 100.
Denise (11 runs): My kittens woke me up at 6:20, so I had no excuse not to come.
Jason (4 runs): This morning, I have no idea why I got out of bed! Usually, it’s just a habit to get up and run. I suppose parkrun is motivation to run faster without spending $20 a week to run a 5k and get a tee-shirt.
Carolyn (first-time parkrunner): My son and his friend got me out here. We’ve been planning to do it for weeks, so here we are.
Jim (39 runs and parkrun tourist): I came because I’m stupid. I’m on my way to Austin, TX and chose to come to Durham, NC because Durham (England) is nice, and there’s a Hillsborough up the road from Durham, NC. (Editor’s note: Jim’s local event is Hillsborough parkrun in Sheffield, England.)
Heiko (13 runs): I had too much beer yesterday and needed to work it out of my system.
Gordon (61 runs): It’s my job: I volunteer by chalking the course. Also, it’s good for my running and it reverses the effects of time on my body. I get out of bed to run now because, at some point, I won’t be able to.
Melinda (51 runs): I don’t even think about it anymore. If I’m in town, I do parkrun. Also, it’s for the grits bowl at our breakfast spot afterwards.
As for me, there’s no place I’d rather be on a Saturday morning. Not even the beach.
Julie from parkrun USA (get in touch)
parkrun USA in numbers – July 2015
A summary of the statistics from last month’s parkrun USA events:
Number of runners - 815
Number of first timers - 348
Number of PRs - 124
Number of volunteers - 97
It was a short but busy month for parkrun USA. Despite having just four Saturdays in the month, we set a new record for runners, first-timers, and PRs in July. Our previous biggest month for attendance was May 2015 with 660. The newbie count took a big leap too, with June’s 253 eclipsed by this month’s numbers. PRs also jumped from a previous best of 98 in May 2015 to an inspiring 124 in July.
Kudos go to Crissy Field in particular for their continued growth with three out of four weeks giving them new attendance records. Clermont Waterfront barely missed their record of 119 runners on July 18 when 116 people crossed the finish line. Well done to all of the parkrun USA events, their directors, and their volunteers for all they’ve done to keep spreading parkrun in their communities!
what in the parkrun world…?
Here, we feature one of the more than 600 parkruns around the world. This month, we’ll visit the quirkily named Panshanger parkrun in Hertford, England. (By the way, that’s pronounced Hart-ferd rather than Hurt-ford. Yes, I know it seems silly, but that’s just how they pronounce it.)
This event sounds like it’s straight out of a romance novel set in the Victorian era. Runners access the start via Thieves Lane before following the one-loop course of dirt paths, gravel, grass, and forest trails through Lady Hughes Wood. Next, our heroines and heroes go dashing through Evergreen Wood and Garden Wood before stumbling upon the cozy Riverside Cottage. Then it’s a scramble across the bridge over the River Mimram before looping around Kings Lake and bounding through the meadow to the finish line.
Add a rakish, undercover prince, a down-on-her-luck but plucky damsel, and some pirates (I don’t care that Hertford is inland; just go with it.), and it could be the most romantic parkrun in the world. Or you could just go have a fabulous run with some fabulous people in a fabulous and scenic spot, which would also be very nice.
Panshanger parkrun is just under one year old, and 2,173 people have run with them. The records for this challenging course are held by Charlotte Davies and Paul Pollock, who also holds the age-graded record. By the last Saturday of July, Panshanger parkrun had reached 2003 registered runners and 203 volunteers since starting their event. We wish our parkrun friends at Panshanger many more enjoyable events across their beautiful course!
Clermont Waterfront parkrun
August 8 – Cool Summer Mornings 5k Series #3
September 12 – Cool Summer Mornings 5k Series #4
Durham, NC parkrun
Congratulations to Melinda Beaver for completing her 50th parkrun!
feedback from the field
Hi parkrun USA,
We had a pleasant run this morning along the Thames River in London. The Fulham Palace parkrun organizer and volunteers were very friendly, and I would guess approximately 300 runners turned up. Thanks to Livonia parkrun event director Rick Brauer for the suggestion!!
Mark Lauzon and family, Livonia parkrunners engaging in parkrun tourism
Hi parkrun USA,
I ran my first ever parkrun with you guys at Clermont, and it inspired me to become a run director at Panshanger parkrun in the UK.
Thanks so much! – Craig Stephenson on Clermont Waterfront’s Facebook page (For more information on Panshanger parkrun, see this month’s “what in the parkrun world…”)
Thanks to Dale and the gang for another great Crissy Fields experience. Small and perfectly formed, the community feel is quite special given the proportion of tourists. Thanks for the awesome 4th of July cake, too! – Kate Driskell, parkrun tourist on Crissy Field’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: Joanna Gadd
Club: Not affiliated
Home parkrun: Crissy Field, though my first parkrun was in Poole, UK
Occupation: I live the life of Riley, homemaker, and ad-hoc volunteer with organizations close to my heart such as JDRF, Hydrocephalus Association, and SF Bicycle Coalition
Number of runs: 25 in total – 13 at Crissy Field, 1 in Bournemouth, and 11 in Poole
Favourite volunteer role: Photographer and general cheerleader
What do you do at parkruns: Run as fast as I can, which is quite slow, and hope I help newcomers and visitors feel the truth in the fact that parkrun is for everyone. I also bake a cake each week to share with whoever stays for coffee (see photo above). I love to bake so it’s Friday therapy without the calorific guilt, because I can give it all away.
How has parkrun changed your running: It keeps me running regularly in between other events. I can be very lazy if I’m not following a strict training plan for something, but knowing I’ve got to run on Saturday keeps me on my toes.
What do you like about parkrun: It’s sociable, inclusive, and gets you up and about, so it’s a great start to the weekend. It’s also very inspirational mixing with super-fast runners and hearing everyone’s goals and achievements in the running/sporting world.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: I suppose the most memorable was when I was visiting family in Poole when they had a Santa parkrun. My sisters and brother-in-law and I all got dressed up and BOILED ALIVE in those suits!