News - 12th July 2018

parkrun approaches 2000 events globally


My message in this week’s newsletter must be dominated by the recent parkrun conference from which I have just returned. Gill, Cara, and I were fortunate enough to be able to join 250 parkrun delegates from around the UK and the world at the conference at Warwick University.


This annual three day event is always a lot of fun and it is also a wonderful learning occasion. It is also a reminder of what a wonderful global event parkrun has become. parkrun founder, Paul Sinton-Hewitt addressed us, as did CEO Nick Pearson and COO Tom Williams.


While I am not able to reveal yet what was discussed, I can report that there will be some exciting developments in future, and that parkrun Global anticipates having over 2,000 parkruns by this time next year.


Of course, World Cup fever gripped the parkrun conference, with several parkrun nations supporting their teams at the World Cup tournament. It was an interesting challenge organising a busy conference around the World Cup schedule. There was no bigger game than the England/Sweden quarter final clash. I think I know off by heart the words to the English supporters’ song “ Three Lions”.


The conference would not have missed the opportunity to run a parkrun and so on Saturday morning buses were organised to drive us to the beautiful Leamington parkrun. There was a very festive atmosphere at the parkrun and with 250 “first timers” present at the parkrun it was no surprise that Leamington posted a record field.


Running at Leamington reminded me of how beautifully simple parkrun is and about how the model works so well all over the parkrun world. Delta Park is my home run, yet my barcode worked perfectly at Leamington and at a French parkrun, Chateau de Pierre de Bresse the Saturday before. So the system is the same all over the parkrun world ;  5kms free on a Saturday morning and don’t forget your barcode.


On that subject there was a prominent note at the parkrun emphasising the golden rule “No barcode, no result and no exceptions” Underneath that note someone had written an amusing list of excuses that volunteers are subjected to by runners who have forgotten their barcodes. The message was clear “No barcode, no result, no exceptions.”


There has been a hiatus on starting new parkruns this fortnight but on the 21st of the month we will start Wells Estate parkrun in the Motherwell district of Port Elizabeth. I am delighted that the Event Director at Wells Estate is Henry Pienaar, a “much decorated” Eastern Cape pioneer of Eastern Cape parkruns. Henry has run at Kidd’s Beach, P.E. Hobie Beach and many other Eastern Cape parkruns. He was the first runner from the area to achieve 250 club membership. It is certainly heartwarming to see him contributing to the community by starting a parkrun.


Cheers for now,


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