welcome to the newsletter
In this month’s newsletter, we take liberties with the scientific method, catch up with Belfast’s oldest parkrun, and agree with our parkrunner of the month’s opinion of other parkrunners.
parkrun makes you happy. It can be easy to forget this fact when dragging yourself up a horrible hill or struggling to catch your breath in the middle of summer’s heat and humidity or winter’s bone-chilling Arctic blasts. Despite this and despite the aches, pains, and disappointments that can dog us runners, this simple little 5k makes us happy.
The evidence to support this hypothesis is indisputable and plentiful. It’s in the smiles when you cross the finish line, when you greet other runners who you haven’t seen for a while, and when you hit a new PR. Heck, it’s there when you narrowly miss a new PR since even just a taste of that kind of success is sweet enough to bring a smile to our lips. The most compelling piece of data that parkrun makes you happy is this: you keep showing up for it.
Surely some clever social scientist or another has found that happiness shared is happiness multiplied. (No citation available for that because I really am making this up as I go.) So why keep parkrun to yourself? If you haven’t already cornered your running and non-running friends and family and made them promise to get their own bar code and come for a free, fun community run, then what are you waiting for? Scientificevidence?
Furthermore, happiness sharing, according to a scientist who shall remain nameless because she doesn’t actually exist, should not be geographically biased. Have you, for example, told your aunt in Des Moines about parkrun? Your cousin in Seattle? What about your good-for-nothing son in Albuquerque? It’s time for you to tell all of them how you’ve been spending Saturday mornings. Bragging is acceptable. Feel free to taunt them because you have parkrun and they don’t. Nah-nee-nah-nee-nah-nah. Once the fog of denial, anger, and sadness lifts, they’ll realize that they need their own parkrun, too.
Aunt Martha, cousin Bob, darling Jimmy (that most neglectful of offspring) will want to know how. “How,” they’ll ask, “can we make this Saturday morning utopia a reality in our communities?” That’s when you send them to your local event directors, or send them to me. Then tell them that the happiness comes with a bit of work, but it’s incredibly worthwhile since they’ll be building and sustaining something so simple yet so grand in their communities. So spread the word, spread parkrun, and spread a little more Saturday morning happiness around the US of A.
Julie from parkrun USA (get in touch)
parkrun USA in numbers – September 2015
A summary of the statistics from last month’s parkrun USA events:
Number of runners - 664
Number of first timers - 243
Number of PRs - 110
Number of volunteers - 80
what in the parkrun world…?
Here, we feature one of the more than 700 parkruns around the world. This month, we dry our eyes and run our hardest at Waterworks parkrun in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Situated in North Belfast with the stunning Black Mountain looming in the distance, there have been 258 events at Waterworks, making it the oldest parkrun in the area. They will celebrate their third anniversary next month. Like the other 22 events in Northern Ireland (not to mention the Republic of Ireland and Scotland), they wait till they are sure the sun will be up and begin at 9:30am. They average about 159 runners per week, and the average time is 27:14. Waterworks parkrun is a two-loop course that involves a rather unpleasant-looking uphill (see below), though it means that runners also get to relish the downhill afterwards.
Many years ago, this park was an actual waterworks until demand overtook supply in the 19th century. The park was a swinging hub of water activities in the 1920s and 1930s, with fancy-schmancy things like row boats, swimming and diving galas (meets with gowns and tuxedos, perhaps), speedboat racing, and model yacht sailing. All of that fun ended in the 1950s when the reservoirs were filled in for boring old safety reasons. The main modifications since then include the addition of small islands to encourage waterfowl to – eh hem – build families and trout for locals to fish.
Clermont Waterfront parkrun
*An alternative 5K for October 24 is the 5th Annual Spartan Spooktacular 5K Run/Walk at East Ridge Middle School. Click on the link for more details and to register.
Durham, NC parkrun
October 31 – Halloween falls on parkrunday this year, so this is the excuse we’ve all been looking for to dress in a ridiculous costume and run around a park. Go crazy and get dressed up for this extra-fun parkrun!
Congratulations to September parkrunner of the month Chris Gould for completing his 50th parkrun!
feedback from the field
Hi parkrun USA,
As a previous Clermont parkrun runner, I just wanted to say how heartened I am to see that your numbers have doubled since I ran last January, and justifiably so – it is a great event in an unforgettable place. Cheers to you and everyone who makes it happen.
Kevin Jones (Cardiff parkrun)
Hi parkrun USA,
I am very grateful to Livonia parkrun event directors Lori and Rick for your three years of dedicated service. I too am shocked that this amazing idea has not caught on in other cities across the USA, or even in Michigan. The Detroit area alone I feel could easily support 4-5 weekly parkruns: Downriver, Belle Isle, Ann Arbor, Warren, Rochester, Livonia. I am so glad that you guys have done this fantastic thing for our community, and I want to do my part to make sure it continues for eternity.
All the best,
Tim Gallagher (Livonia parkrun)
Hi parkrun USA,
What a lovely friendly parkrun at Clermont Waterfront! I was really impressed with you guys this morning. Thank you very much for a brilliant event. Next time I visit, if you could just turn the humidity down a touch I would be most grateful.
Garry Palmer (Wolverhampton parkrun)
Hi parkrun USA,
Thank you so much for Livonia parkrun; it really has been an very enjoyable, big part of my life and something I look forward to participating in every single Saturday that I am in town. It has been a great thing and I sure hope it continues to be forever!
Kim Zamora (Livonia parkrun)
Hi parkrun USA,
Clermont Waterfront parkrun has to be one of the most mentally and physically hardest parkruns I have ever taken part in, but I’m so glad I got to be a parkrun tourist for the day! Two weeks of indulgence in beautiful Orlando has certainly slowed me down. However, roll on next week back at my home parkrun in Sligo, Ireland. Thank you, Clermont parkrun, for being so welcoming to us tourists!!
Maoilíosa Ni Duacháin Birn (Sligo parkrun)
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: Harold Matthews
Home parkrun: Livonia, Michigan
Occupation: Computer Analyst / Retired Police Officer
Number of runs: 73
Favourite volunteer role: Course Marshall, as I enjoy shouting words of encouragement to fellow runners.
What do you do at parkruns: I run, help when needed and socialize with fellow runners.
How has parkrun changed your running: parkrun has taught me how to run outdoors throughout the harsh Michigan winters. Knowing there are other runners willing to be out there running in the cold and snow makes me get out when otherwise I might elect to stay in.
What do you like about parkrun: The people. I have found parkrunners to be the friendliest people you could ever meet.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment: Most memorable parkrun moment was when a deer ventured out of the woods and stood and watched as I ran by on my way to the finish line.