It’s no secret that both me, my beautiful wife and our silly dog are all big fans of parkrun. Nelly is looking a bit tired because she’s had double run today and a long walk in the snowy lake district yesterday, and also doesn’t really want to give me the book back.
As soon as I found out that there was an official book to celebrate ten years of parkrun I ordered a copy, even though it’s a few years out of date as parkrun has been going for over 14 years now.
I’ve blogged about parkrun a few times before (here, here and here). Currently I’ve done 49 parkruns and you get a free T-shirt with ’50’ on the back once you’ve completed 50 (other T-shirts are available for 100, 250 and 500), but I’m waiting for my wife to catch me up so that we can complete our fiftieth together.
Back to the book, and it’s brilliant. It contains the history of parkrun, how it evolved, new runs added and new countries, but the best thing about it are the stories from regular people explaining how parkrun saved their life. So many people who were worried about their health, physical or mental, and either found parkrun or friends recommended it. One thing I love about parkrun is how open and welcoming it is to non-runners, and how parkrun becomes part of your Saturday.
Lancaster is our regular parkrun, which has been going for two and a half years. When it started there were usually 150 there, but on the first Saturday in 2019 there were 391 finishers, and three weeks later over 400 for the first time. There are also plans a foot for a parkrun in Morecambe along the prom, starting this spring.
The success of parkrun is astounding, as the stats in the book attest to. International parkrun day is held on the first Saturday in October, and on the tenth anniversary there were 477 parkruns globally with almost 80,000 finishers. Last Saturday there were 1388 parkruns and 285,000 finishers. In the UK alone there were 581 parkruns and 160,000 finishers.
As I stated at the start, I am a convert to parkrun and in a few weeks time I am sure that I will be blogging about me and my wife reaching 50.