Saturday, 14 January 2012

100 Coventry Parkruns

100 Parkruns for Coventry and Debs first!

It was so good to see the cricketers and the super hero today shame I couldn't dress up as I had to drop Debs home and then go straight to work!

Debs has done a lot of big running events and was pleasantly shocked to see how well the parkrun was managed and supported. She was surprised to see so many runners with different abilities and well they all interacted and supporting each other. I think she really felt the atmosphere we all feel. Not surprisingly she is coming back next week and looking to beat her time!

It was really good to run with Debs and a honour to introduce her to the Parkrun!

Thank You Coventry!!

Coventry 100th Parkrun 14/1/2012

Alarm set for 8am as usual on a Saturday, the sky seemed a lot lighter than it had done over the past few weeks. Makes you feel much better when the mornings get lighter. By 8.40 I was dressed and prepared for the 100th Parkrun at Coventry, my 60th run.

On reaching the start line my first sight was of the lads in their cricket whites bearing the slogan 100 not out! This was followed by the appearance of a superhero. Felt ashamed that I had not even put on my tradition tutu for this memorable event. Note to self must do better for the 2nd birthday event in February. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Anyway onto to the run itself, weather was fantastic chilly to start but you soon warmed up once running. Started the race well running alongside a fellow Massey club runner, unfortunately dropped off during the 3rd km, have always struggled on the hill beside the tennis courts. Found the energy to do a final sprint passing at least 2 runners before crossing the finish line.

Sadly no Parkrun for me next week as going away with the cubs, scouts and explorers, did look up the closest Parkrun to the youth hostel but too far away.

100 Not Out!

Coventry parkrun celebrated it's one hundredth event today in a very crisp and wintry War Memorial park.

A couple of days ago some bright spark (my brother Andy) had the idea to mark the 100th event by running in fancy dress. Thinking "100?", Andy (obviously!) came up with cricketers and of course batsmen (scoring a century) so a few us discussed turning up as cricketers. Turning up in whites would not be enough though, oh no, we had to wear full cricket whites, cap, batting gloves, "100 NOT OUT" signs and, of course, a bat! Foolishly five of us agreed!

I would have to say that running with a cricket bat is not to be advised. Cricket bats are actually quite heavy, and runners around you need their wits about them as you switch arms every few hundred yards. I'm not sure if it was the different running action, or perhaps the build up of ice on the bat itself, but the bat gradually felt heavier and heavier!

Cricketer runners have to be very careful of other runners - no one wants a cricket bat in the face when out for a parkrun. Luckily we managed to avoid almost everyone. I did manage to catch Andy at one stage, but that was just to slow him down a bit - only joking Andy!

Knowing that we wouldn't be looking at PBs this week three of us agreed to run together. Unfortunately for me that meant that I was the weak link, slowing the other two down. To be honest I think we all just enjoyed the run waving our bats at anyone willing to clap of cheer us and we weren't at all bothered by the time, finishing in a very respectable 21:29 as it turns out. Not bad given the outfits and carrying those bats!

We tried our best to pose for the cameras where possible with a few decent shots on the official photos. A bit of a mix-up, forward defensive and saluting at the same time:

Completing the run:

Hopefully we brought a few smiles to peoples faces. It was certainly a great deal of fun, but the next time someone suggests I do a parkrun carrying a lump of wood, I may have to think twice before saying yes.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Me and My first Parkrun

So here I am the night before my first parkrun and I am excited to say the least.I have been a recreational runner for the last 5 years, running the occasional 10k race a couple of Great South Runs and a half marathon chucked in. Then after a couple of unsuccessful ballot attempts to the London Marathon , I decided to run the 2011 London Marathon for a great local charity. This was an amazing experience and despite a slight knee kniggle between miles 15 and 19, all went well and I finished in 4:43:03. As soon as I crossed the line I knew that I truly did love to run and that I could continue to do this. So in December I decided that I would set myself a challenge to run at least 2 miles everyday in 2012 ( this will include my first parkrun on January 14th and the London Marathon again on April 22nd). I will try and blog every week after the parkrun and give some insight onto how the race has gone and also an update on the runstreet 365 challenge. Thanks for reading and speak to you soon !Chris.

A Landmark Weekend for parkrun

Unless there is a massive downturn in the number of parkrunners attending parkrun events across the UK and around the world this weekend, we will see a couple of major parkrun milestones reached.

Way back at parkrun's humble beginnings in 2004, when just 13 runners took part in the first event in Bushy Park, who could possibly have foreseen the incredible growth ahead and the way that parkrun has captured the imagination of runners and non-runners alike across the country (and more recently around the world)?

Only this week parkrun has been awarded the Best 5k Event in The Running Bug's 2011 Awards. This and other awards shows the amazing impact that parkrun is having on the running scene in this country.

And now my attention must turn to the impressive statistics that have caught a few people's eyes this week. Last weekend saw a parkrun event with 1000 finishers for the first time ever, fittingly at Bushy park where it all began. However, the stats that follow are the reason for this blog post and signify why this will be a landmark weekend for parkrun.

The current stats for parkrun are as follows:
- Number of Runs: 993,639
- Total Distance Run: 4,968,195 km
- Total Run Time: 49Yrs, 203Days, 7Hrs, 38Mins, 0Secs

My maths skills may not be a slick as they used to be, but this means we only need 6361 finishers this weekend to reach the magical figure of 1,000,000 finished parkruns (and yes I did use a calculator, but only to be sure of the figure I had already written - honestly!). It doesn't take a genius to realise that this will also mean a total of 5,000,000 kilometers run (5 x 1 I can manage by myself).

As a complete coincidence, it just so happens that we will also pass the 50 years of total running time this weekend. That is unless far fewer of us turn up and/or we all run at world record pace. Perhaps we have 10,000 parkrunners up for doing a sub-18 minute parkrun this weekend? No, I thought not, maybe next weekend for that one!

This means it is pretty much inevitable that both these landmarks figures will be reached this weekend.

These are incredibly impressive figures and I hope that parkrun shout these from the rooftops as they are symbolic of just how well parkrun has taken off in the last couple of years. It can't be much more than a year ago, I think, that Crispy announced that we had reached the half a million run mark.

With the doubling of event numbers and runners year on year, I suspect that these figures will also continue to double at a similar pace in the future.

Ok, so what, they are just numbers I hear you cry. But unless I'm mistaken I think many parkrunners are into their numbers: personal PBs, 50/100/250 events run, event anniversaries etc, etc.

Just think for a minute though, in 5 years time these figures will almost certainly seem pretty insignificant in comparison as I'm sure we will pass into tens of millions of runs and hundreds of millions of kilometers (wow, don't those figures sound impressive!).

Happy parkrunning this weekend everyone, we should all be very proud of ourselves and these landmarks!

PS. For the real stats fans out there, this all means that we have a collective average parkrun time of just under 26:14. I think we should all try very hard and work as a team to bring this down over the coming months!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

New Contributor: Runnerbean

Name: Runnerbean
Home parkrun: Oxford
Date of first parkrun: Haven't done one yet - just signed up.
Total Number of parkruns: 0
Number of other parkrun locations run: 0
Number of times volunteered: 0

For me, signing up for Parkrun is as much about supporting a fantastic way to get people outside and running as it is about my eagerly anticipated reunion with running :) Parkrun has enticed me with it's warm community feel that I've heard snippets about through friends and colleagues around the country. Why aren't more people doing this?! I've been running for about 8 years now and have done a few 10ks and my first half-marathon in September last year. I also kayak (flat water racing), swim and cycle.

In early December I had surgery on my hip to repair some damage that had plagued all of my sporting activities and work with a literal pain in the back side for almost 3 years. I'm on the road to recovery now but itching to get back into my trainers and to the outdoors.

So I plan to start as a Parkrun volunteer and ease back into running as and when I can and in the mean time share my journey here on this blog and encourage other people to join Parkrun! Looking forward to reading everyone else's story here too!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

My 100th Freedom parkrun

I ran another couple of freedom parkruns today, which finally saw me join the freedom parkrun 100 club.

Though this isn't actually an officially recognised parkrun club, I am still very pleased with myself. It's taken roughly 16 months I think.

According to some stats supplied by freedom parkrun king, the fantastic Mr Ken Fox (267+), this makes me the third centurion of freedom parkruns. Following a long way behind Ken himself and a bit closer behind my brother Andy (about 125).

If you don't know already, a freedom parkrun is a 5km run on a parkrun course at some time other than 9 am on a Saturday morning. Simple. I can recommend them highly.

It was a lovely day to do a freedom parkrun today. The temperature must have been over 10C and it was certainly warm enough for shorts and a short sleeve top. More like spring than winter. I took a look at photos from exactly a year ago today and we were building snowmen in the back garden!

So will we (Andy, myself or anyone else) ever catch up with Ken in the freedom parkrun table? Not that a table exists (apart from the one I imagine to be in a frame on Ken's wall). I can't see anyone catching Ken for sometime. I'm not sure I have it in me. It will certainly take a concerted effort.

Anyone out there fancy trying to catch Ken or break into the freedom parkrun 100 club this year?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

New Contributor: Colin Scooby Doo Rowley

Colin Scooby Doo ROWLEY

Name: Colin Scooby Doo Rowley

Home parkrun: Coventry War Memorial Park
Date of first parkrun: 24/07/2010
Total Number of parkruns: 60

Number of other parkrun locations run: 1 I have ran at pollock park in Glasgow twice

Number of times volunteered: 6 times when I was injured but never got accepted only because at this period in time we had so many volunteers everyone wanted to support the parkrun! To be honest I only wanted something to do to take me mind of the fact I wasnt running as I am not a very good supporter. I get mardy and grumpy I'm not a good advert for the parkrun. "SORRY!"

My parkrun history

What I can never understand is why people run through the week and train and pay to enter races. "WHY?"
The parkrun is a free, weekly, timed 5km, friendly, challenging and well organised by fantastic local volunteers. "What more can you want?"

I think Coventry is the best parkrun but then I'm bias.
Because of the family atmosphere mainly due to the Douglas family to me they are the parkrun.
I see every one at the parkrun as part of me family because its the only time I'm really happy from 8.30 till 10.30 Saturday morning! You have probably gathered I'm a bit of a moody and selfish!
I aint really got many mates but at the parkrun for a couple of hours a week I have few!

I don't tend to go for times at the parkrun because I wont it to last while so I tend to start at the back and have a bit of fun!

I some times worry what some people think of me and Baloo me mate. We tend to get a bit carried away with the banter. "I hope people don't find us to annoying!"
Got to be honest i find Baloo really annoying all this high five rubbish! "Whats that all about?"
You don't see me making a fool of myself like that.

I love watching the fast guys going round in the sub 20mins I may do it one day just to show you guys that I can run!

But even more I love watching the slower runners and non runners having ago!
I like to start at the last and get in with the slower runners to try and help and encourage them to improve and reach their goals!

Any way better get of now you lot have probabily had enough!

All the best

Fledgling Parkrun Tourist

Name: Richard Hill
Home parkrun: Brueton, Solihull
Date of first parkrun: 21/05/2011
Total Number of parkruns: 31
Number of other parkrun locations run: 6 – Cannon Hill, Coventry, Killerton,Bushy, Nonsuch, Riddlesdown
Number of times volunteered: 3 (must do better)
My parkrun history:

To the bewilderment of my nearest and dearest, I leftSolihull at 6am on New Year’s Day, with my bike in the back of the car, boundfor Bushy Park and the parkrun “Trifecta”. The only explanation I could offerthem; “It’s calling me”.

Ok, so why not just run 3 times in Brueton park then I was asked? Why goto London? A good question.

I think it’s because I’m a numbers man. A run in the parknow, is just training. It has to count towards something, sort of like adding anothernotch to the bed post. The opportunity to get 3 new notches, at 3 locations, onone day, and not even a Saturday at that, was just too much to resist.

I use to be like this following Birmingham City. I had to doevery game in the season, count the away grounds I had visited etc. If youthink giving it everything you’ve got in a 5k parkrun is punishment, trywatching Blues for a whole season.

So, Bushy park started at 9am, Nonsuch at 10am, andRiddlesdown at 11am. And apparently some people were going to bike it betweenlocations. Wow! Awesome!

Once at Bushy, I did find other cyclists who knew where theywere going, fit triathlete types they were, but not surprisingly they were allgoing to be long gone by the time I had finished the Bushy 5k in 24 minutes.

Reluctantly then I stuck to the car, and it was a good jobtoo. I still got lost and after legging it half a kilometre from the wrong carpark, I missed the start at Nonsuch park. I caught up with the tail runnerafter a couple of minutes though, and eventually finished the run in a recordedtime of 27 minutes.

Then more stress trying to find Riddlesdown, but I made iton time, and dragged myself round the extremely muddy course, in a personalworst time of over 28 minutes. Great fun though!

Amongst my numerical goals for 2012, I want to do each ofthe 9 midland parkruns at least once by bike. No doubt there will be morestrife to report in the weeks ahead then J

New contributor: Simon Bruce Lake

Name: Simon Bruce Lake
Home parkrun: Oldham
Date of first parkrun: 12 February 2011
Total Number of parkruns: 40 (as of 7 January 2012)
Number of other parkrun locations run: None - yet!
Number of times volunteered: 25
My parkrun history:

They say that life begins at 40...well, if it does then I had more than my fair share of practice for the main event! At the time, I was a 'weekend alcholic binge drinker' and a 50 a day smoker. At the age of 43, I had 3 strokes - only minor but losing the use of one side of your body for even less than a week is a bit of a wake-up call! The weekend drinking became the monthly binge and then the occasional binge but the smoking was a bit more of a challenge. At the ripe old age of 9 (yes - nine) I had my first cigarette and it was disgusting! But I got caught in the act and my dad decided to teach me a lesson by having me smoke 20 Capstan Full Strength one after the other! Apparently, after throwing up a couple of times, kids learn their lesson and stay clear of the evil weed...or they become hopelessly addicted to nicotine! Even after nature's warning, I continued to smoke. It wasn't until I changed jobs that I finally managed to kick the habit. But as everyone knows, every silver lining has a cloud...and my cloud arrived in style - an additional 4 stones in weight in less than a year. My wardrobe was now looking like a Primark rack with waist sizes 28 through 38 and I decided that enough was enough!

In 2007, several people from work decided it would be great to run for Sport Relief. I immediately signed up for the 3 miles version. The reasoning behind this was that if I signed up for one mile, I would probably not bother with training and just turn up on the day. To do 3 miles was more of a challenge! It turned out that everyone else 'forgot' to register in time or thought that somebody else had registered us as a team! I was on my own! I have to say that guilt is a brilliant fund-raising tactic and helped to take the total above the £1000 mark. The run was switched at the last minute from the roads to a local sports track and I actually ran 5k because it was easier to calculate! This gave me my first ever 5k time of 28' 22" and got me thinking about taking up running.

After much Googleing and a fair amount of procrastination, I signed up to Oldham parkrun on 22 July 2010...but around that time I was going through a depression phase of Bi-polar disorder and didn't go. Towards the end of the year, we were offered a corporate gym membership provided we could get enough people to sign up and I decided that this might be a good step towards shedding some of the excess baggage I was still toting. I tried spinning but that just gave be a sore bum! I tried lots of different equipment in the gym but nothing seemed to be geared to losing weight and the treadmills were often occupied by 'fit' people pounding out a few miles. Instead, I discovered Zumba! I can highly recommend Zumba classes for getting a bit of motivation into your workouts. But something was still missing...

On 12 February 2011, wearing a pair of clapped-out trainers, a matching set of 'holiday' shorts and t-shirt and some 'sports' socks I presented myself at Oldham parkrun...

To be continued...

Monday, 9 January 2012

Andy sees a chance to win a parkrun

Chances to win a parkrun don't come along too often for people like us.

parkrun is far from being about winning, but someone has to come first and if any of us thought we had a realistic chance to come first, most of us would probably give it a good go.

Andy and I tried our hands at a quick Audio blog to discuss Andy's chance to be first at Coventry parkrun this weekend. Click here to listen to the Audio blog.

It may not be that slick, but it was our first effort at an Audio blog, we are amateurs and amazingly we did this in one take! You will probably be able to tell! Don't worry, if this Audio blog doesn't go down well, we won't do it again.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

New Contributor: Ali Virgo

Name: Ali Virgo
Home parkrun: Coventry
Date of first parkrun: 04/09/2010
Total Number of parkruns: 29
Number of other parkrun locations run: 3 - Leamington, Poole and Sewerby (Bridlington)
Number of times volunteered: 7 or 8, I think!
My parkrun history:

Me? I am now more than 'middle aged'! I hated running long distance at school (100 metres was far enough) but then ran in my twenties and did the London Marathon in 1985, then had my two wonderful children and was too busy (lazy?!) to exercise so nothing since then, until three years ago.

Started exercising to help with my CFS, which I've had for seven years now. I am 'almost' well and consider myself lucky to be able to do the things I do now.I love taking part in the big events, I did the Great North Run in 2009 then in 2010 decided to give triathlon a go, I did two supersprints and a sprint which I loved but the training was too much and I am a rubbish swimmer and always will be!

2011 I was back to running and did the Bristol, Coventry and Birmingham halves to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society. I always run/walk so my times are slow but for me it's the taking part that counts.....

And so to parkrun and what it means to me......

I can't remember where I saw it advertised but I couldn't sign up quickly enough and get down to Memorial Park. When I turned up I was terrified to see all the fast club runners and thought I was out of my league but I needn't have worried, there were others like me there! Unfortunately after that first one I fell off a step (I am known for not looking what I am doing) in Durham the day before the Great North Run and was not only unable to take part but was out of running for two months. I volunteered a few times over that winter and got to know Jason and the 'crew'. My next parkrun was Christmas Day 2010 but it messed my ankle up again so I left it another month before I did my third.

I'm not sure exactly when I got to know the 'Dog & Bear' pair of Colin Scooby Rowley and Baloo Challenor but I'm so glad I did! They encouraged me so much and have the 'spirit of parkrun' which to me is that it is one big family that helps and supports each other. I have done other events with them as well where they have gone much slower than they normally would to help me around. There are also too many other people to mention (one of them I shared a very exciting time with going to do the Windsor Women's 8k, you know who you are!) that have become friends and I value the social side of parkrun as much as the running.

Is it an obsession now? Absolutely! I can't wait to get my 50 shirt some time this year and get a sub 30 :)

Nicola Forwood

Name: Nicola Forwood

Home parkrun: Leeds Hyde Park

First parkrun: 03/11/07
Total parkruns to date: 105
Different parkruns to date: 18
Number of times volunteered to date: 3 or 4 (not enough!)

My parkrun stats: click here

Twitter: @NicolaForwood

Hi, I’m Nicola, or if you listen to ‘the parkrun show’ then I am Nicola Forwood or ‘She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’! This all started after I made a flippant comment about my parkrun dream being to get a mention on the show, since that dream was achieved I dreamt about entering the 100 club and getting on the ‘Most Events’ table, both of which I have also now achieved. 2012 needs bigger parkrun dreams and believe me I have been dreaming :) sub 25 would be AMAZING and hopefully it’s possible although it’s something I never thought I’d be able to achieve.

I didn’t fall in love with parkrun when we first met. In fact I was not overly enamoured at all. I didn’t parkrun again for over 6 months. In fact, the grand total of parkruns I had under my belt after the whole of 2007 and 2008 was a measly 7! My obsession with parkrun has only really developed in the past two years; I ran 44 parkruns in 2011 taking me into the 100 club on Christmas Eve when I SMASHED my PB of 27.11, running 26.06! I also became a parkrun tourist, running 15 different parkrun courses in the year and I am now fixated on the ‘Most Events’ table and climbing my way up to the top (a girl can dream). parkrun resulted in me joining a run club (the amazing Hyde Park Harriers) and getting a whole new circle of friends, running friends. It's great to have loads of lovely people to run with any day of the week, now my running is not just on a Saturday morning.

This week I was visiting friends in London and their local parkrun was Brockwell which happened to be where ‘the parkrun show’ presenter Danny Norman was running. It was most amusing to witness his OTT introduction; I made good use of my extremely loud whistling, ironic whooping, cheering and clapping; “YEAH DANNY WOOOOOOO”! A good way to start a parkrun; lots of giggling! :) I almost got away with swapping my 0120 tag for Danny’s 0001 tag but unfortunately he noticed! Probably the closest I’ll get to ever winning a parkrun! :D

My favourite part of parkrun is the community feel when having a coffee or going for breakfast afterwards followed in close second by my sprint finish (always my favourite bit of running!). Next week sees a new parkrun starting in York and after then who knows; the parkrun world is my oyster! I hope to meet some of you all on your parkrun journeys……until then, happy parkrunning everyone :)