parkrun is phenomenal.
parkrun was the catalyst for my shift into improved running: I started in 2014, when a new run was founded in my bit of Glasgow. Victoria Park is now Scotland’s most congested parkrun (apparently) – always lots of tourists, visitors and club runners looking for a fast time. Nearly 500 runners makes the experience a bit stressful sometimes but there are a lot of regulars too & several friendly faces. I’ve also got to know folk through volunteering, which is a big part of the ethos of parkrun and something that I try to do regularly.
Unlike a lot of Glasgow’s parkruns, Victoria is flat and fast, and Glasgow Frontrunners’ C25k graduation run takes place here too. The opposite of flat & fast is Drumchapel, a newer Glasgow parkrun that’s quickly became notorious for its steep hills, dodgy underfoot terrain & sense of achievement at the finish, when you get to fly down the starting hill & try not to fall into the 2 foot ditch on the left or the sheer drop on the right. It’s got a nice core crowd too, & I am trying to visit more regularly in order to get some decent timed hill practice in.
My parkrun tourism isn’t as good as some – I’ve managed Aberdeen & the one in my hometown. I haven’t even done all the Glasgow ones – Ruchill, Strathclyde and & Greenock are all on this year’s goal list – as well as improving my overall time. There’s nothing quite like shaving a few seconds off that pb.
I like volunteering at parkrun if I need a rest. Several friends are run directors & I see first-hand how hard they work & how much a set of good volunteers makes things easier. Victoria always seems to struggle for volunteers: I’ve often thought it must be because of how flat & fast it is, meaning the high number of attendees is inflated by visiting clubs who aren’t interested in parkrun as a concept or a community but just want a fast timed race. I try & contribute a few times a year at least. Timekeeping is my favourite.
100 to 250 is a big jump, but we’ll see how it goes for the next goal t-shirt. I’ve made friends, I’ve made gains, and it’s got me out of the house on Xmas Day and New Year’s Day for the past few years. I also got to run with the Tollcross cape, which was fun and made me feel a little bit like Wonderwoman.
For now, it’s a good way of encouraging my faster/threshold running – parkrun has that feeling of a race without actually being a race. Long may it continue.