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Monday, 28 November 2011

The views of a parkrun first timer

As I mentioned in my blog post yesterday, this weekend I introduced my brother-in-law to parkrun.

I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do a bit of an interview with him to find out the thoughts of a typical parkrun first timer. And this is how it went....

Q. How did you first hear about parkrun?
A. Through you! [me - Ian Wilkinson]

Q. What were you expecting parkrun to be?
A. A handful of running enthusiasts, with a couple more people to help out.

Q. How often do you run?
A. Typically twice a week. About 3km at most. I'm not a runner!

Q. Have you ever run a 5km before?
A Yes, but only ever on my own, never in a race or at an event. Not normally that far in a training run either.

Q. What did you think about parkrun on Saturday and how it is run?
A. I didn't expect it to be anywhere near as professional as it was. The standard of the runners, marshalls and general organisation was far higher than I would ever have thought. The barcode results registration system is brilliant and so simple for everyone.

Q. What did you think about the distance being 5km?
A. Its a very good distance to choose. You don't need to be as much of a runner as for a 10km, which is the typical lowest distance for organised events. What I mean by this, is that it is a more achievable distance for non-runners to get started.

Q. What did you think of the website/results system?
A. Again I was so surprised at how professional it is. parkrun must be as popular as it is in part due to how easy it is to register and get your results. I can already see how addictive this would become, seeing your times each week and having that PB target there each week.

Q. Would you do a parkrun event again?
A. Yes, the next time I am in Coventry!

Q. Will you be telling others about it?
A. I certainly will, but there is no event near us [the Wirral], so it's not very accessible for me and my local friends.

Q. Would you like a parkrun nearer to you? Where would you suggest?
A. Yes. I wouldn't want to drive to one, so it would need to be pretty local so that I could jog, walk or cycle to it. I think Ellesmere Port has a nice park. The wooded area at Eastham Ferry would be great for a trail parkrun.

Q. Do you have any criticisms of parkrun or any suggestions of how it could be improved?
A. Nothing to do with the parkrun event as it is, but purely on a personal note I would love to see a parkrun nearer to home [as mentioned previously]. I realise that as parkrun continues to grow this will become more likely.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to say?
A. As a parent of relatively young kids, I think this could be a great family event. Perhaps a shorter version could be run a couple of times a month. Maybe a 2km or 2.5 km run just for kids, possibly with shorter laps to allow them to drop out easily if they have had enough before the finish.

Some interesting answers there. Particularly the suggestion for the kids events (I know there are already kids events at other parkrun locations). The request for a Wirral parkrun just reminds me how lucky existing parkrunners are to have a parkrun on or near our doorstep. Lets hope that parkrun continues to grow so that others can be as lucky.

I'd like to say a big thank you to my brother-in-law (Chris) for both obliging me in letting me take him along to his first parkrun and then for giving me his thoughts by answering my questions. Cheers Chris.

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