Our Sports editor, Rachael Griffiths, is here to inform you of why you should source out your local parkrun
The sky is azure blue and the crisp leaves sway in the early Autumn breeze. The air is clear and the sky is cloudless. With Winter just around the corner, now is definitely the right moment to spend as much time outdoors as possible.
But what can you do?
If you’re not drowning in essay deadlines or vodka (or both), I have an idea. What if I told you there is an activity you could be doing every Saturday morning that boosts your energy levels, improves your fitness, makes you feel good, introduces you to new people, and…(drumroll please)….it’s free?
Yes, dear readers, in the eye-wateringly expensive capital of the country where it costs you £5 to even breathe, such free activities
Founded by Paul Sinton-Hewitt in 2003, Parkrun is a five kilometer timed running event that takes place every Saturday morning and is organised solely by volunteers. The first event was in Teddington, where a mere thirteen intrepid park runners attended. But it was not long before the Parkrun quickly took off …
More than 250,000 people attend a parkrun every week across 20 countries and by 2011, the first ever events were introduced in Australia and South Africa. Fear not, my reader, your nearest parkrun is just down the road from university
at Mile End Park. Though there is a hill, the views of the city in the distance and lush green trees and grass will surely keep you going.
It’s ethos is simple; ‘No one should ever have to pay to go running in their community’, says Sinton-Hewitt. ‘Parkrun’s simple concept should – and can – exist in every town in the world.’ This is why Parkrun does not exceed five kilometers because it’s a respectable, safe distance that everyone can complete. Including you, dear reader!
All you have to do is register online, print off a set of barcodes, and you’re off ! You are then eligible to do a parkrun anywhere in the U.K (there are now over 400). Once you have these barcodes, if you become addicted to parkrunning after your first run, you can attend one close to wherever you may be for Christmas!
Aside from the physical benefits of running (improved fitness, stress reliever, weight loss), Parkrun also hears stories of people
who haven’t done any sport since leaving school, or feel that the sport is just not for them. Yet, Parkrun has proven able to reach parts of the population that other sports cannot. Indeed, for some, Parkrun can be a gateway to becoming more serious within the sport, with around 8000 people subsequently joining an affiliated running group after completing a Parkrun. No membership fees, no fancy equipment, no tight lycra, just your running shoes.
Whether you want to become an Olympic athlete or are merely seeking to try something new, there is always a place for you at Parkrun. Why pass up the chance to meet new people, or reach 10,000 steps on your fitbit?
So, what are you waiting for? Register online at your local parkrun website.