Updated: Aug 20
The cost of living right now is ridiculous, isn't it? Don't worry I'm not about to get political, we all know the issues most are facing and if there was ever a time when a serotonin boost was needed, it's now! I'm a personal trainer and my services are considered a luxury item in the shopping basket but this article is about a free weekly workout and an amazing community you have access to wherever you are in the country, not on a screen but face-to-face. A group of people willing to stand out in all weathers year-round to cheer you on, regardless of fitness level.
Wait, don't run/walk away! You don't have to be a runner, you don't even have to run.
Parkrun (or parkwalk) is a weekly 5k, held on a Saturday at 9am (UK) in your local area 'run' purely by volunteers. You'll find a range of people there from serious runners to walkers who just want some fresh air and a natter with other friendly faces.
You can wear what you like and run, walk or skip as fast as you want! Although, I would recommend comfortable shoes. For those who are unsure a 5k is 3.1 miles and walkers are usually able to finish in around 1hour. On the flip you may want to hit your fastest 5k and running alone is sometimes hard to kick into gear, so this is also a great place to turn those legs over and use other runners as your pacers!
The age range on a parkrun is simply inspiring. Recently, I took Saturday as a rest day before I ran the Liverpool Half marathon on the Sunday. I used this as an opportunity to volunteer for Parkrun and cheer on the runners and walkers. One guy, aged 72 who had completed 244 Parkruns ran his 5k in 21 minutes; a time I'm still nowhere near, but what a privilege to watch and cheer him on. Another lady walked her dog (must be kept on a short lead but they are welcome!) and a mum was jogging with her two twin toddlers in a pram. A mixture of people all with different intentions but with the same Parkrun high at the finish!
Going for some speed at Parkrun.
Taking it easy with a Parkwalk.
See, it's totally up to you! No pressures, all good vibes!
How does it work?
You can simply sign up, for free (with no hidden costs) on the website. You'll be provided with a barcode which you can screenshot on your phone for ease. And if you own a Garmin, you can download the barcode straight to the watch!
There will be a designated start point and at the finish line you'll find some barcode scanners that will provide you will a finish token; this is scanned along with your barcode which matches your time and position (should you wish to track it for progress over time.)
That's it - don't worry if that's confusing the volunteers will sort you out!
On the website, you'll find a map, simply enter your postcode and it'll show you your nearest parkrun. You can even be a parkrun tourist and visit others across the UK. I switch my parkrun locations up all the time!
Still not sure? (you're making me work for this, eh!)
Here's what I made earlier....
Parkrun is always looking for volunteers, if you prefer to check the vibe yourself why not volunteer to be a marshall? I already know you're going to love the friendly atmosphere and you can even soak up other people's running highs just from cheering!
Parkrun is the perfect opportunity to get yourself outside on a Saturday morning and start the day on a high. The majority of people rock up on their own so please don't miss out if your friends aren't yet convinced!
There is also a Junior Parkrun every Sunday at 9am! This is a 1.5 mile run, jog or walk and you are welcome to move round the course with them. All the same details apply. Just search under the local junior park runs instead. All on the same website.
Sign up here.
Also if you use Strava join the Emzfit Run Club (walkers too!) we'll announce group meet-ups throughout the year should you wish to come for a free training session!