This Saturday I went to my first ever parkrun in Sutton Park.
The event hasn’t been running for very long, but there was an excellent turn out, with over 200 people ready to go at Banners Gate come 9am.
The premise of parkrun is to encourage people to get active outdoors, whether it’s to walk, jog or run the 5km route. It’s completely free to take part, and events run all over the UK and many other countries; always 5k, always Saturday, always 9am – so you can access a workout wherever you are.
Signing up online is easy – they email you a barcode that you bring with you each week to help record your time. After the event, they email you information about your time, and your ranking within your age category. This gives you more information about your workout, and helps you to progress.
I have been working on my running for a little while now, and can get to 5km comfortably on my usual route. I had never run in a group before, so to be without my headphones, and be at the mercy of the pack-pace was a bit of a scary idea to start off with.
My friend Carys encouraged me to go; she said that doing parkrun and running with another local club, the Boldmere Bullets, had been integral to her training for a half marathon this year (which she had just completed last weekend, at a faster time than even she had expected) If running in a big group had helped Carys to progress, could it help me too?
After the first run, I can say it probably will! Where I would normally be tempted to take a break to walk, the atmosphere created by running in a large group of people helped me to keep going. When I thought I would struggle, the crowd pushed me on. The marshals helped me to gauge the distance, and the other runners helped me to gauge my pace.
It’s my big hope that parkrun will help me to keep my motivation for running through the Winter, where I would normally completely give up running.
Knowing there are 200 people waiting for you is a big motivation!
All in all, this is one of the best free fitness activates you can take part in locally. If you want to find out more, or to sign up visit http://www.parkrun.org.uk/