Friday, 13 January 2012

A Landmark Weekend for parkrun

Unless there is a massive downturn in the number of parkrunners attending parkrun events across the UK and around the world this weekend, we will see a couple of major parkrun milestones reached.

Way back at parkrun's humble beginnings in 2004, when just 13 runners took part in the first event in Bushy Park, who could possibly have foreseen the incredible growth ahead and the way that parkrun has captured the imagination of runners and non-runners alike across the country (and more recently around the world)?

Only this week parkrun has been awarded the Best 5k Event in The Running Bug's 2011 Awards. This and other awards shows the amazing impact that parkrun is having on the running scene in this country.

And now my attention must turn to the impressive statistics that have caught a few people's eyes this week. Last weekend saw a parkrun event with 1000 finishers for the first time ever, fittingly at Bushy park where it all began. However, the stats that follow are the reason for this blog post and signify why this will be a landmark weekend for parkrun.

The current stats for parkrun are as follows:
- Number of Runs: 993,639
- Total Distance Run: 4,968,195 km
- Total Run Time: 49Yrs, 203Days, 7Hrs, 38Mins, 0Secs

My maths skills may not be a slick as they used to be, but this means we only need 6361 finishers this weekend to reach the magical figure of 1,000,000 finished parkruns (and yes I did use a calculator, but only to be sure of the figure I had already written - honestly!). It doesn't take a genius to realise that this will also mean a total of 5,000,000 kilometers run (5 x 1 I can manage by myself).

As a complete coincidence, it just so happens that we will also pass the 50 years of total running time this weekend. That is unless far fewer of us turn up and/or we all run at world record pace. Perhaps we have 10,000 parkrunners up for doing a sub-18 minute parkrun this weekend? No, I thought not, maybe next weekend for that one!

This means it is pretty much inevitable that both these landmarks figures will be reached this weekend.

These are incredibly impressive figures and I hope that parkrun shout these from the rooftops as they are symbolic of just how well parkrun has taken off in the last couple of years. It can't be much more than a year ago, I think, that Crispy announced that we had reached the half a million run mark.

With the doubling of event numbers and runners year on year, I suspect that these figures will also continue to double at a similar pace in the future.

Ok, so what, they are just numbers I hear you cry. But unless I'm mistaken I think many parkrunners are into their numbers: personal PBs, 50/100/250 events run, event anniversaries etc, etc.

Just think for a minute though, in 5 years time these figures will almost certainly seem pretty insignificant in comparison as I'm sure we will pass into tens of millions of runs and hundreds of millions of kilometers (wow, don't those figures sound impressive!).

Happy parkrunning this weekend everyone, we should all be very proud of ourselves and these landmarks!

PS. For the real stats fans out there, this all means that we have a collective average parkrun time of just under 26:14. I think we should all try very hard and work as a team to bring this down over the coming months!

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