The team answers some of your questions about the upcoming Third Creek Greenway parkrun.
What is parkrun?
Put simply - parkrun is a free, timed 5k that takes place each week on Saturday morning.
Participants on Third Creek Greenway for a practice parkrun event.
Where has parkrun come from?
parkrun has just celebrated its 15th birthday. From a single event in London, UK, there are now 1,400 events worldwide each weekend, including in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and all across Europe.
The first parkrun in the USA launched in Michigan in 2014 and the number of events is increasing year-on-year.
Third Creek Greenway is the 38th US parkrun and second in Tennessee, after the wonderful Mountain Goat Trail at Sewanee. parkrun is a growing phenomenon in the US and we’re so excited for Knoxville to be part of this.
Participants at Mountain Goat Trail, Tennessee's first parkrun event.
What makes it different to a paid-for 5k or other group run?
parkrun is all about inclusion. Events are completely free and take place each week.
Everybody is welcome - whether their comfortable pace is walking, a steady jog, or a fast and furious sprint. parkrun rewards commitment to participating or volunteering rather than speed at individual events.
parkrun events are centered on social support and community. Participants are cheered every step of the way by the volunteers.
Why did you want to set one up in Knoxville?
We’ve blogged about that - check it out.
Third Creek Greenway, soon to host a weekly free parkrun 5k
Am I too slow for parkrun?
It’s a very understandable concern. Joe - one of the core team here - nearly walked away from the first event he was planning to attend in London because he felt he was “not a runner”. Three years’ later and he’s done 127 parkruns at locations across the world.
Ultimately there’s no such thing as being too slow for parkrun! We all take part at our own comfortable pace.
Can I walk at parkrun?
Absolutely - we positively encourage walkers. It’s a wonderful way to appreciate the greenway and you’ll never be last thanks to the tailwalker volunteer*.
(*Unless you yourself want to be the tailwalker volunteer - message us if you do).
Can persons with disabilities take part?
Yes - the course is paved and suitable for wheelchairs, though there might be a few bumpy places. Please listen out at the briefing for any specific safety notices.
Can children take part?
Yes - parkrun is a wonderful way for young people to get into a lifetime habit of regular exercise.
Children must be aged four and over to register. Please keep any under-11s within arms reach of a parent, guardian or designated adult. This is a key insurance requirement for us. We will have to remove results of any under-11s not finishing alongside an adult which would be a real shame.
Can I run with a stroller?
Yes, strollers are allowed, subject to course conditions. Please listen out at the briefing for any specific safety notices.
Can I bring a dog?
Yes please! We love dogs (on a short leash).
'barkrunner' Scout leading David and Karen
If it’s free, why do I have to register?
You don’t *have* to register but we do encourage it.
Registration involves filling out a simple form once on the parkrun USA website. Once you’ve entered your details and selected Third Creek Greenway as your home parkrun you’ll be emailed a personalised barcode.
Print this and bring it along to our event on a Saturday morning. When you cross the finish line you’ll get a token telling you your position. This token and your personal barcode are then scanned so your result appears against your profile on the website.
What are the benefits of registering?
From a safety point of view - your printed barcode will have details of an emergency contact which will be used by the volunteers should something happen on the course.
On a more positive note - bringing your barcode allows you to start building up your results online and track progress towards your personal goals and parkrun milestones. For example - Jonathan’s results here show how many events he has run, his times, and that he’s achieved a 50-event milestone t-shirt.
And you can take your barcode to any event in the world. It’s basically a passport to a global community.
parkrun is free so you can use sticky tape or laminate your barcode. If you are likely to be a regular participant then you might want to think about investing in more permanent barcodes which are extremely durable - but this is optional.
And a warning - if you forget your barcode we can’t record your result! We can’t scan the barcode in emails, it *has* to be physical.
I’m registered in another country - how do I change my home parkrun?
Drop parkrun HQ an email via the online contact form and just explain that you want to register in the US to Third Creek Greenway.
What are the parkrun milestones?
Parkrun rewards commitment to participation - either as a volunteer, walker, jogger or runner. You get a t-shirt for volunteering 25 times, and also after your 50th (red), 100th (black), 250th (green) and 500th (blue) events.
Why do you need volunteers?
Volunteers deliver a safe event, log times for the website and create a friendly, supportive environment for all participants.
We have five volunteer roles at Third Creek Greenway. To briefly introduce them:
- Run Director - takes overall charge of the event and delivers the initial runner briefing
- Timekeeper - records your time as you cross the line
- Finish tokens - hands you a finish token with your finishing position
- Scanner - scans the finish token and your personal barcode so your time will appear on your personal results profile
- Tailwalker - walks the course and is last to cross the finish line.
Are the volunteer roles difficult?
No and you’ll get a briefing in the morning. It’s an amazing feeling supporting your fellow walkers, joggers and runners. Get in touch if you’d like to know more.
Why do you want me to sign up to emails about volunteering? Will you spam me if I do?
We hate spam. We’ll email once a week asking if you are available to volunteer at upcoming events - just reply if you are.
Where do you meet on Saturdays?
For fall and winter we’re starting at 9am in the clearing on Third Creek Greenway down from the Safety City parking lot. We’ll move to 8am for the spring and summer when it starts to get hot and steamy.
After each event we grab a hot drink and breakfast at Panera on Kingston Pike.
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