GO PARKRUN

Posted on Saturday, April 9th, 2011 at 4:32 pm and is filed under Archive | 0

Nobody tells me anything.

You would think, would you not, that being a journalist (even semi-retired) for thirty years or more would keep me up to speed on info, especially in my own arena, ie athletics? Not necessarily.

For example, two of my European colleagues (both of whom write about athletics) had been living together for around 15 years before I found out they were a couple; and it was only a massive coincidence that triggered the revelation. I had seen both of them separately numerous times throughout that period, and never twigged. And they presumed I knew.

Same thing with parkrun. I only heard about it a week ago. OK, I do spend most of my athletics time abroad, but nevertheless, something as interesting (and well-organised, and free!) as parkrun happening on your own doorstep, virtually, and you, or rather I don’t know? Someone might have told me. Finally someone did. And, unfit as I am, I hastened off to Finsbury Park in North London this morning.

It was beautiful, as it has been for the last four days in London, and most of the UK. My stumbling around the prescribed 5k did not add to the beauty of the day, and I’m not going to reveal the time it took me. Suffice to say, we used to joke about using sundials for gauging such pedestrian progress; and sending someone out with a lantern to find the loiterers.

However, so well organised are the folks who administer parkrun at its various venues, both around the capital, and the rest of the UK; and Denmark and Australia too, that it wouldn’t take you very long to find my pitiful result.

But the object of this offering is to congratulate everyone concerned with parkrun on a marvellous enterprise. And if you don’t know about it/them, then hasten to www.parkrun.com for more info. If you live in the UK (or, it seems, Denmark and Oz), there is a parkrun near you.

The movement – for such it is – began in 2004, at the instigation of Paul Sinton-Hewitt, who organised the first 5k run, for 13 people in Bushy Park, Teddington, West London. I’m told that more than 600 people regularly turn up at Bushy nowadays – there were 669 finishers today! For good measure, the website (above) records that there is now close to 4,500 such events, every Saturday morning at 9am, somewhere near you.

Incidentally, by the time I got home, by the light of neither lantern nor silvery moon, the dudes organising the event at Finsbury Park had sent a personalised email to my inbox, listing my time (exactly the same as my watch), my place, and all the other relevant info, rendering me speechless (almost) at their administrative excellence, and at my own physical incompetence.

You can finds loads more info on the website. Go parkrun!

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