Yeah, we get it, the word ‘run’ is in the name “parkrun”. But our main goal is to help people to get active, and to be active in their community, and walking is at least as good for that as running. Perhaps better, as it’s more often social.
We often hear that folks are reluctant to join us because they’re not ready to run 5k. Come join us anyway, and if you never plan to run, that’s perfectly cool with us.
More and more people are walking at parkrun USA events. We estimate that 1 in 10 walk the 5k. That’s more than the number of super speedy runners finishing in less than 20 minutes. If we include a mix of walking and running, the figure increases to 1 in 5.
Really, you don’t have to justify it. Walk, jog, run: do whatever feels good to you. You’re a parkrunner whether you walk, run, or volunteer.
Many walk because it’s their comfortable pace. Some walkers are injured runners or former runners who want to stay active while hoping to return to running. Some walk as a step towards being able to run-walk and eventually to run. Many walk to spend time with a friend or family member.
And a great reason for walking at parkrun is that it’s a lovely morning and you just want to enjoy the surroundings and the company.
No problem. Almost all parkrun USA courses are suitable for covering less than the 5k. It’s common for adults and children alike to cover half of the route if that’s what they’re up to.
Recently at Kensington parkrun, one parkrunner wanted to take part despite being on crutches. So she did half of the double out-and-back route and that was quite enough.
No. Our volunteer tailwalkers ensure that nobody is left behind, and provide our ironclad you-will-not-finish-last guarantee.
Also, almost all parkrun USA events follow out-and-back routes that are designed to allow everybody to see everybody else along the way. Others will be happy to see you.
There are generally others around who are happy to walk with you, not least the friendly tailwalkers. Ask one of the yellow-vested volunteers before the start, and they can hook you up with other walkers. At Renton parkrun near Seattle they even have a regular Back of the Pack Crew, clearly the social center of action.
Absolutely! They will thank you for it. For safety reasons, we just ask that dogs be kept on a short leash (one dog per person) and that you choose either a dog OR a stroller. (Do check your local parkrun event’s website beforehand, as there are a couple of events where dogs are not allowed, due to park regulations, or where strollers are challenging due to course conditions.)
Alfay Manning and Lori Gonzalez are regular walkers at Leakin Park parkrun in Baltimore. They enjoy a stroll and a chat while their teenage sons Caleb and Daniel blaze ahead, and then the boys come back to join their parents for the remainder of the walk.
At College Park parkrun Helena Santos-Collins and her husband Kalonji often walk with their kids, both of whom recently reached their 10 parkrun milestone. Helena said: “When we flew to Europe last week, the kids were great walkers. We were in Paris for 3 days and walked over 26 miles with no complaints from the kids. We couldn’t have done this before we started parkrun in November.”
At Heritage Harbor parkrun in Ottawa, IL Jeffrey Gerald is a regular parkrunner who we recently featured. He started coming along to help in his fitness journey, first walking and now regularly running.
And we meet many parkrunners who love the tailwalker role. Cam Kennedy (Renton parkrun), Karyl Price (Mansfield OH parkrun), Cheryl Pattison (Crissy Field parkrun) and Adrienne Randall (Mansfield OH parkrun) all meet and charm new people that way. And in Cheryl and Adrienne’s case their dogs do part of the charming.
Try walking with us some time. Whatever your reason for walking at parkrun, we’d love to see you.
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