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News - 28th July 2021

10 things we loved about the return of parkrun in England

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Not even the unsettled weather could dampen the mood as more than 500 5k parkrun events returned across England on Saturday.

 

We take a look at 10 things we loved from the weekend.

 

Almost 100,000 walkers, joggers and runners took part in a 5k parkrun across the UK on Saturday, supported by more than 13,000 volunteers. As the 5k events resumed in England, we’ve got a list of 10 things we loved (in no particular order!)

 

1. The first timers

 

We welcomed more than 6,500 first timers to parkrun on Saturday, amongst them was Natasha. She did her first parkrun at Cliffe Castle. She tweeted that “everyone was so friendly and welcoming… all my fears went away straight away”

 

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Holly told us about her Mum Rita who did her first parkrun this weekend, “she has COPD, as such she has a reduced lung function, and she started run/walking last year. She finished in 45 mins and she was an absolute superstar and a real inspiration. Anything is possible!”

 

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We have a First Timer’s Welcome for all new parkrunners, here are some of the new parkrunners getting their welcome at Westmill parkrun.

 

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2. (not)parkrunners experiencing a parkrun event for the first time

 

During lockdown, around the world, more than 10,000 people joined the parkrun family and logged a (not)parkrun despite never having been to a parkrun. On Saturday, in England, more than 300 of them joined us at an event for the first time.

 

It was also great to welcome back (not)parkrunners like Craig who kept up (not)parkrunning through the whole 70 weeks of parkrun’s pause!

 

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3. Over 500 local communities reunited

 

We think Philippa’s face says it all. She returned to Run Directing at Darlington parkrun.

 

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Pure unadulterated joy was on display across the whole community as friends, neighbours, colleagues, fellow parkrunners, friends and families were reunited in their local parks and open spaces.

 

Austine Mo was back in the hi vis at Southwark Park in London.

 

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What Hayleigh loves about parkrun is the whole feeling of community.

 

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Stacey was feeling emotional at Cannon Hill.

 

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Sarah was pleased to be back up and running at Thetford.

 

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Hannah sums it up nicely.

 

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And, of course, nobody cared about the rain.

 

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4. Almost 12,000 personal bests were recorded

 

parkrun isn’t a race, you’re only ever in competition with yourself, but we know how good it feels to record that personal best. And a whopping 11,873 were recorded across the UK this weekend.

 

When you attend parkrun for the first time, you’re obviously guaranteed a personal best.

 

Fred took up running during lockdown, embarking on a couch to 5k programme with his son, in an attempt to get them out and about together, and his son away from a screen.

 

He shared this photo of himself bumping into the event team in the car park, ahead of him and his son both setting their first personal bests.

 

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5. Rediscovering the joy of volunteering

 

More than 13,000 volunteers took part on Saturday. We know from our survey of more than 60,000 parkrunners that volunteering at parkrun can make you even healthier and happier than walking, jogging or running. We can see why!

 

Jo had a ‘blooming fabulous’ time at Bedfont parkrun. She did the First Timer’s Welcome and was also a Timekeeper. She told us how happy she was to welcome back friends new and old.

 

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Niki spent her morning cheering and greeting parkrunners as they passed by her usual marshal spot.

 

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All of the Barcode Scanners and Timekeepers were using the Virtual Volunteer app, and loving it.

 

Lauren was scanning the barcodes at Worsley Woods.

 

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Want to volunteer? Volunteering at parkrun is super easy, there’s no experience necessary and no training needed. Just get in touch with your local event and they’ll talk you through what you need to do on the day.

 

6. It really is a family affair

 

Three generations of Helen Preston’s family were reunited for the first time since the start of the pandemic through the power of parkrun. They were together again at Hunstanton Promenade.

 

Helen Preston

 

The return of 5k parkrun events on a Saturday morning in England, also means that 11-14 year olds can once again log a walk, jog or run at a 2k junior parkrun on a Sunday morning in England too.

 

Over 250 junior parkrun events took place last weekend, with more than 12,000 juniors walking, jogging and running, recording over 3,000 personal bests, supported by more than 5,000 volunteers. And we hear there was even some waving at trains!

 

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Looking for your nearest parkrun or junior parkrun? Just search our simple event map here.

 

7. You can wear whatever you want to parkrun

 

You don’t need the latest gear to participate at parkrun, you can wear whatever you want. All you need is your barcode, and something you feel comfortable in.

 

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Punam Owens was surprised to meet Elsa from Disney’s Frozen at her local parkrun.

 

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And Wonder Woman and Flash were also spotted!

 

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8. The Tail Walkers

 

Nobody finishes last at parkrun. There’s a volunteer Tail Walker at every event, and this weekend 810 volunteers took on the role.

 

Heaton’s Tail Walker could barely contain her excitement.

 

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Dave loved every minute of being the Tail Walker at the scenic Land’s End parkrun.

 

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Katie was back in Margate and so pleased to be seeing everyone enjoying their Saturday mornings together again.

 

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9. It’s for everyone

 

parkrun really is for everyone, from all walks of life, all ages, all abilities, and every background. So many people take part, from olympians…

 

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…to 88 year-olds. Octogenarian Bob Emmerson made the national news, returning to parkrun to complete his 400th parkrun in Northampton.

 

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90-year old Austin was back in his usual marshal spot at Market Harborough parkrun, greeted by a huge round of applause from all the team as he arrived to collect his hi vis and take up his post on ‘Austin’s corner’.

 

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BBC’s The One Show covered Jordi’s return to parkrun. Jordi was diagnosed with a neurological condition and couldn’t walk between the ages of 14 and 20. Setting her sights on a parkrun, she completed her first event before lockdown but returned on Saturday to smash her PB.

 

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MP Robert Jenrick and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam drummed up some friendly rivalry in Newark.

 

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Model and presenter Nell McAndrew donned the hi vis for the return of the 5k event where it all began, at the home of parkrun London’s Bushy Park.

 

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We also heard reports of a teddy bear on volunteering duties at Wilmslow juniors.

 

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And Heaton parkrun welcomed a couple taking part on their wedding day.

 

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It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, or whether you’re walking, jogging, running, volunteering or spectating, parkrun is for everyone.

 

Ready to sign up? Do it here. You only have to register once for parkrun, print your barcode and then simply turn up to any event, anywhere around the world.

 

10. We only have to wait until next week to do it all again

 

Another great thing about parkrun? It’s weekly (as well as free, forever, for everyone).

 

On the eve of the return, Claire reminded us that we’d had to wait 496 days for parkrun’s restart in England. Now it’s less than a week until the next one.

 

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If you’re in Scotland or Wales, the wait is almost over for you too now, as we continue to work towards Saturday 14 August to reopen 5k events in those countries. For all the latest information on your local parkrun please visit the event page on our website, or check event specific social media.

 

We can’t wait to see you all at a parkrun soon.

 

#loveparkrun

 

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