PB. Two simple letters that hold so much meaning! As defined by parkrun, P is for personal, meaning it’s all about you and no one else on the course. B is for best, meaning the fastest time for a 5K distance. Combine the two and you have an official parkrun achievement to celebrate!
Just last weekend, nearly 14% of all US parkrunners achieved personal bests. Unlike being a first finisher, it’s an achievement that’s attainable for every parkrunner at some point in their parkrun journey.
Some events have a bell or sign as a part of their parkrun kit so that participants can make some celebratory noise on the spot or take a commemorative selfie for their social media account. Some provide recognition in run reports and some give shout-outs at subsequent parkruns.
Mountain Goat Trail is one such event that has a bell for its participants to ring after claiming a PB (it’s also used to celebrate first-timers). Event Director Kristin Kriedt Sturgill swears the shape you see in the picture below is a goat, NOT a cow.
College Park’s bell is most definitely a cow bell, beautifully decorated and proudly showcased here.
Kensington has gold star stickers for their crowd, but they’re not reserved exclusively for PB’s; they’re offered for many occasions.
Those parkrunners who run “naked” (without technology) may not find out about their PB achievement until later in the day. The official results email pings in their inbox and they’re pleasantly surprised to read the words: “Congratulations on setting a new Personal Best at this event!” And sometimes even, “Congratulations on your fastest time this year.”
When Regina Cross parkruns in Moberly, she often doesn’t pay a lot of attention to her time during her run, but she loves seeing progress! Just a few weeks ago she broke 40 minutes for the first time as volunteers cheered her over the finish line. “I think Kim [volunteer timekeeper] told me that I had gotten under 40. I was really elated,” she wrote in a personal blog post.
Cam Kennedy, who has run at Renton and Des Moines Creek parkruns, shared that she once read an article that discussed how a person’s running pace in their 50’s was predictive of their longevity. “It always lurks in the back of my mind, since I’m in my 50’s, and I try to challenge myself to get faster.”
Erin Hanni Cassell of Mountain Goat Trail parkrun said “I’m a really slow runner, so my PB is about personal goals. I just want to see progress even if it is only a couple seconds. I am not running against anyone else. Just challenging myself.”
Abby Ruelas in Renton keeps tabs on two categories of PB’s. When running solo, she aims for PB’s around the 30 minute mark and she happily set a PB of 29:59 in February! She most often runs with her daughter’s dog (whose focus and endurance is improving) and she mentally keeps track of her PB when running with a four-legged companion, too.
We’ve heard cute stories about parkrun youth participants who become engrossed in conversation while running and unintentionally set PB’s while distracted. Maybe that could be a technique for adults, too!
However, as we all know, sometimes the phrase “personal best” has nothing to do with a time once you disassociate from the parkrun formal definition.
“For me, I’m just not in it for speed anymore. I’m happy as long as my foot doesn’t hurt and I enjoyed my jog. A personal best run for me is fun, hopefully with a buddy and pain free.” This sentiment, expressed by Mountain Goat Trail parkrun Event Director Kristin Kriedt Sturgill, resonates with us, too. Whatever your definition of PB, we’re happy to help do what we can to support you and we’ll be ready to celebrate with you!
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