Please share your experiences?

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02/06/2013 at 14:19

Hi, I found. Link somewhere on this site for Parkrun so I've just registered. 

who's done them? What are they like?  I've shied away from one of the local running groups near to me because they look to be a very dedicated group and whilst I love running every other day, I'm not (yet at least) interested in how fast I go, improving my times, or anything other than bumbling along. My aim is to get fit, both body and mind and be able to say 'oh yeah, I run 5k 3x week" as if it's nothing special!  My local group seems set up for serious, long distance running so I'm a bit intimidated if I'm honest!  The Parkrun site sounds as though you can just turn up with your barcode and go off with a big group of people and it's not quite so well, serious. I don't mean I want to muck about or anything but rather, I'd just like to run at my gentle speed knowing there are others beside me with the same goal - to get round and say "I've done it", and to only have to go as and when I can commit the time. I'd feel I'd be letting the group down if I joined and couldn't go T the specified times very often. 

Just wondered what your experiences are?

FYI: I've joined Alice Holt in Farnham. Anyone else go there?

02/06/2013 at 15:03

Hi there - yes, that's pretty much how it works, turn up with your barcode, run, get the barcode scanned at the end, get your results. How 'serious' it is depends very much on individual events - at some of the bigger, more established ones you'll get fast club runners and even sometimes elites at the front, but you'll also usually get people at the back who walk much of it. All the past results for your event should be on the website which should give you an idea of where you might finish.

The big advantage of parkruns for me is not having to register in advance - you can just turn up as and when you want. And you can see your own progress if you keep running the same course. But it's run by volunteers, so if you go regularly it's a good idea to offer help occasionally - marshalling, helping with the barcodes, tail running etc. 

02/06/2013 at 16:24

Do it! - you'll meet others at your level, as you'll end up going round with them, - you may even find useful runnning buddies for you midweek runs.

Yes, the elite crowd at the front wil be fast- not your problem- you will get encouragement even if you are last ( I've been there- it's no big deal- but check you local site's times to see where you'll come in)- and the enjoyment of running in company. Only piece of advice is that if you think you'll be at the slow end of the pack- don't start too near the front as they line up, or the faster folk will need to push past you- find a spot near the back of the start crowd- say hello to those around you- let them know you are a first -timer, they'll keep you right.

Have fun! (and, even if you say it's not important to you, I am willing to bet that in a few weeks you'll be thinking- "I can improve my time", and racing it!)

02/06/2013 at 17:09

I've done 3 and didn't enjoy any of them, but I dont race! I did them to try and get over my fear of running with others.. It didn't help, but I'm glad I tried it there and not a bigger event. 

Just had a horrid panicky stress feeling for the whole run, breathing was crap, didn't feel good afterwards like I do when I run. Not a good experience.

Mixture of runners doing it. Super speedy ttimes and jog / walkers. I started at the back thinking I would be the slowest.. I wasn't but that didn't make me feel any better! I overtook some people but then stayed behind a couple of others as I didn't know if I could sustain that pace. So that added to the negative feelings & anxiety of the run.

First one I thought I'd feel like that so gave it another couple of tries.. Nope! Not for me. 

02/06/2013 at 17:11

I felt exactly the same about 4 years ago. Very nervous about going and how it would be, but, it's been the best thing I have ever done. I now am a member of the '50' club and well on the way to '100'. 

I have made a few new friends, volunteered a number of times and thoroughly enjoy the experience. 

As for pace. Well that's down to you and how fast you want to go. You will get the same support if you are at the front, back or anywhere in between. Some weeks I go looking for a strong run with a PB, others I run with my partner near the back of the field and I enjoy both equally as much.

Just make that first step, say hello to a few people and I am sure you will love it. 

02/06/2013 at 18:25

Hi Laine - I have a slight vested interest in this as I am a Run Director for the Colchester Parkrun so as you can imagine I am very pro Parkrun.

The Philosophy is that it is a free event for runners of all ages and abilities, and from a personal point of view I take most pleasure from seeing us "ordinary" runners partaking, infact my favourite volunteering task is as Tailrunner chatting with the Mum's with prams, pensioners and small kids at the back and keeping them company and offering encouragement. If we walk we walk.

It is as serious or fun as you want, I agree with the post above that you may well find yourself challenging yourself to beat previous times  You can come along whenever you want and take part in any event across the country. 

Pop along. The beauty of it being held in a public park is that there is nothing to stop you popping along one morning and watching what goes on and chatting to the organisers if you want. They'll be very keen to put you at ease, running in races is most runners fear and Parkrun is the perfect way to dip your toe in without any pressure.

I hope you try it and have fun.


02/06/2013 at 18:28

I have been to Conkers parkrun twice loved it both times. Turn up 5 mins in advance, small pep talk, then run, get a barcode, give that and your parkrun barcode to the officials and then wait until the evening or whenever to get your time

doesn't cost a penny but they accept donations via PayPal.

my experiences I have been perfect

02/06/2013 at 18:43
I really enjoy parkrun. It's as relaxed or serious as you want to make it. And all the ones I've been to have been very friendly, nothing to make anyone feel anxious at all.
02/06/2013 at 19:42

When I lived in London I did quite a few and would still do them if there was a local one around here. I think they are great events, informal, lowkey but most important of all - very inconclusive. 


02/06/2013 at 20:00

parkrun is superb. I go every week I can - sometimes with by 9 year old daughter.  A huge variety of runners from 17 min speed snakes to 40+ minutes.  Really friendly atmosphere - the least intimidating running experience ever. It offers something for everyone- a manageable distance for beginners and a short speed session for more advanced runners, and a free opportunity to assess improvement every week. Also love visiting other courses round the country. 

02/06/2013 at 20:15

I think Park Runs great - there are two I can choose from near me and it's good because the courses are very different. Bolton has a challenging steep hill that you have to go up twice, whereas the one near Wigan is more undulating and is almost like a cross country in places with very undulating terrain. I like that I can challenge myself with different terrrain, depending on how I'm feeling, and know that it will be a lovely morning activity surrounded by nice like minded people! It's so well organised and such a friendly atmosphere.

I too used to be a "grit my teeth and just getting round is the most important thing, I don't care about my time" kind of runner but not anymore...I am regularly smashing my personal bests each week - I rocked a 27 minute time this weekend, such a buzz!

02/06/2013 at 21:15

I had my first Parkrun experience on Saturday and I loved it.  

The whole thing was very relaxed, and I'll certainly be back for more.  I'll put my name down for a spot of volunteering once I've got a few more weeks under my belt.

02/06/2013 at 21:53

Absolutely love Parkrun and I just joined the 50 Club myself. Whenever I'm away at the weekend, I'll still try and find a local Parkrun to attend.

For many that don't belong to a club, it's possibly the closest thing to a running community without the commitment involved. It's also my one fastest run of the week and serves as good speed work training.

Give it a go and see how you get on. You're free to make it as easy or as difficult as you want it to be.

03/06/2013 at 00:19

parkrun is fab. I've done 38 of them, volunteered regularly and been Run Director a few times. I'm now part of the core team at 'my' parkrun and hoping to set one up in my town. Go, it's great.

I'm planning a weekend away and the first thing I looked at was whether there was a parkrun nearby! 

03/06/2013 at 07:47

Let me start by saying that anything that gets more people running (racing) is a good thing). Yet my take is less favourable.

From my perspective, I think mrandyyu hits the nail on the head: its a good thing for non club runners as in its a running club in all but affiliation.
For club runners I can't fathom the fascination. Sure I can understand racing , say one a month, to guage training, progress etc. but I don't get the turn up every week to run thing. Camaraderie? Possibly. But then I'd rather do a longer run on a variety of routes with friends.
In addition, and as some have proved here, there is a fascination with chalking up 20,50 or 100 races. A few at my club were trying to get a few people along to 'celebrate' someone completing 100. Not sure I get that: I've run every saturday for years, and certainly more than 3 miles at a time. Didn't expect anyone to come along and hang up the bunting.
I guess my compelling reason for only doing them occasionally is that I have hundreds of routes from my front door that will cover 3 miles, why be tied to the same (sometimes congested) route. If I want a measured 5k as part of a longer run, then a track does the job, or for the garmin dependent which I would say a majority of runners are these days, then the watch does the trick.

Edited: 03/06/2013 at 07:50
03/06/2013 at 12:50

I'm a member of a club. I run with them on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays but I still go to parkrun most weeks. I also do races regularly, with my club, with parkrun people and on my own. I don't think being a club runner precludes you from enjoying parkrun. Some of the fastest runners in my club (not me at all!) do parkrun regularly. 

As for the 50/100 thing (there's nothing for 20, although juniors get a 10 t-shirt) is more of a personal thing for me. Although I'm wearing a red shirt next week as it's a 50th run for someone. 

cougie    pirate
03/06/2013 at 13:30
I think you just need to register - take your barcode and do the race yourself.
You can check for finishing times online for each parkrun to see where in the field you'd be. Bear in mind that you will run faster in a race environment.
If you hate it - you've not lost anything. If you love it then you're off !
03/06/2013 at 16:30

Although I've only been to a few, I love the fact that I can just turn up any week to test myself, without having to book three months in advance and with no lost fees if I can't make it to one I had planned. The organisation is silky smooth with reliable timing.

All councils should have to put them on by law.

03/06/2013 at 16:45

I have had simialr experiences to others here.

The first time I went (in 2009) I thought I'd be left trailling in a wake of dust (I plod at abour 30 mins for 5k), but there were other runners I could talk to whilst running.

I've been to Reading, Basingstoke and Woodley and enjoyed them all.  I take my little dog each week and she loves it too, and she's a bit of a celeb at Reading and Basingstoke

I've even managed to get my 21-year-old son out of bed some Saturday mornings to run too - that's no mean feat!

03/06/2013 at 16:46

I've only done one so far but will certainly go back. The pre-run pep-talk was a bit sunday-schoolish, but the whole thing was very friendly and well-organised.

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