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Friday, 25 November 2011

parkrun is.....for everyone

parkrun really is for everyone.

This is one of the great things about running in general but particularly parkrun. It doesn't matter whether you are young or old, fast or slow, fit or trying to get fit, or like most of us somewhere in between. The fact is that parkrun is as much for you as for anyone else

You may run or jog every day of the week, or perhaps you have not run since you were forced to at school, either way you are welcome on the parkrun start line each and every week. Better than this, you don't even have to tell anyone that you are coming (apart from the one time registration before your very first parkrun event of course) and there is no forced commitment. You can join your fellow parkrunners every week, or you can come once in a while, it really doesn't matter. parkrun is there for us whichever weeks we want to do it and everyone is welcome

The great thing about this is the amazing spread of abilities that we see at all parkrun events. There will always be a couple of youngsters or seasoned veterans completing the course at break-neck speed, and there will be a few at or around a fast walking pace. The latest results from Coventry parkrun are just one example of this. But the majority will come in between those extremes and will be spread out around the course so that whatever speed you run at, there will be someone else, or perhaps many others running at the same speed. This really is the good bit. You don't have to run very often before you start noticing the same faces around you during each of your runs. Soon there will be words exchanged, friendships made and perhaps even friendly rivalries will build up. There will certainly be plenty of pre and post race discussions about parkruns gone by or coming up.

It doesn't really matter which of these situations you find yourself in, it all boils down to the same result, you find your reasons to come back again and again, week after week. Its almost inevitable that parkrun becomes addictive and you can't imagine not getting up at 7am on a Saturday morning to prepare for a run. Of all things to do at 7am on a Saturday morning and you find that preparing for parkrun is something that you want to do.

I have been lucky enough to find myself towards the front end of the pack on many occasions. Once I have finished, like most parkrunners, I will catch up with my new parkrun friends. Those that have finished around me, way ahead or behind me, the volunteers on the day and those I have volunteered with in the past. The list of people you will call parkrun friends can't help but grow week after week.

My attentions are often drawn to those finishing over the next 20 minutes or so. Almost without fail you notice the expressions on the faces of the finishers, in effort as they approach the line, turning to smiles and pleasure after crossing that line. Whatever their finishing time, most parkrunners look as though they feel they have done something they are pleased to have done or are that they proud of the result. Its a great feeling and almost everyone shows it no matter their finishing time or position. This is another reason why parkrun is for everyone. You can set your own running goals, whatever they may be and parkrun can be the platform to help you try to reach them.

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