10 reasons to try a park run

Photo by AZGAN MjESHTRI on Unsplash

Park runs have become incredibly popular in the UK springing up in most towns and cities.  If you’ve never been to a park run, they are gatherings of local people, usually on a Saturday or Sunday morning to complete a 5k run.  They take place rain or shine and our local one ran on both Christmas Day and New Years Day. They often attract up to 300 people every week.

What makes these events so popular and why have they caught on?  I think it’s the sense of community and inclusivity.  Everyone is welcome and people of all shapes and sizes and levels of fitness turn up.  The atmosphere is one of support, fun and community.  I take my dog and have run with both my sons at different times, them taking pity on me, and running at my speed. I have completed the Christmas Day run two years running - see below with my mum Olive, Son Ted and Willow (mad Cocker).

Whilst for some there is an element of wanting to improve your time each time you run and perhaps achieve the 50 or even 100 runs T shirt, for others it’s just a chance to be with other people who want to spend a bit of time getting their heart-rate up.  If you really don’t want to run or jog or walk, becoming a volunteer is a great way to get involved.

For me the supportive atmosphere is why I love it. Each run starts with a communal cheer and clapping.  I managed to pull a calf muscle on one run and lots of people stopped their own run, to ask if I was ok.  This made me anxious as I wanted to say ‘don’t stop you’ll mess up your finish time’ in a panicked voice.

Three generations at xmas day park run, plus Willow

Three generations at xmas day park run, plus Willow

Here are my top ten reasons for trying a park run:

  1. You can run with your children, partner, friend

  2. You can run with your dog (on a lead)

  3. You can jog or even walk fast

  4. You meet lovely people with all levels of fitness

  5. You can become a volunteer and help out

  6. It takes less than an hour

  7. You can try and beat your own time

  8. You’ll get a dose of Vitamin D being outside, which helps combat depression

  9. It means you are moving your body

  10. It’s free!

To find a park run near you in the UK go to www.parkrun.org.uk