Hi, I’m Clare Fowler and I am Safeguarding Lead at parkrun UK. In my role as Safeguarding Lead, I hear too many reports of pushy parents who have become preoccupied with their children getting a PB, so I was absolutely delighted when this popped in to my inbox:
I want to tell you all how proud I am that my son, Lewis (A1702432), didn’t get a PB this week.
In fact I am proud that he didn’t get a PB last week either, or on any of the 63 previous occasions that he has run Guildford junior parkrun. It’s an amazing statistic that he has never got a PB in any of the 65 Guildford junior parkruns because he has never run as fast as he did that first time (maybe it’s because he didn’t know how far 2k was!).
But that doesn’t matter; I’m proud when he decides to run fast, I’m proud when he runs slowly, and I’m proud when he runs with younger children to help them on their way. The really important thing for me is that he enjoys it.
As one of the run directors at Guildford juniors it saddens me when I see some pushy parents pulling their children around the parkrun saying things like “You’ll never get a PB if you run like that” or “it’s a waste of time coming” as though the only point in coming is to get a PB.
That completely misses the point of parkrun – it is supposed to be for the enjoyment of running and to instil a longer term love of exercise that will see them through their later years. I’m certainly not against encouraging your kids to do their best, to try hard and to get that PB, but there is a line past which encouragement can get ugly.
Kids ought to associate parkrun with positive vibes of outdoors, exercise and achievement, and not for getting shouted at for not trying hard enough.
In my opinion, the key thing is to be proud of your children’s achievements regardless of whether they get a PB or not. So I’ll be there cheering Lewis on, and I’ll be just as proud when he eventually pulls that PB out the bag.
Pictured above is Lewis with me and his big sister Emily (who does sometimes get a PB, and I’m very proud of her too)
Trevor Wood (A662328)
As always, if ever there is anything I can help with when it comes to safeguarding, or if you’d like to have a confidential chat about anything you see that is bothering you, please do get in touch Clare.Fowler@parkrun.com
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