Friday, 24 February 2012

The Social Side of Huddersfield parkrun

The Social Side of Huddersfield parkrun

If anyone had told me a year ago that I would actively want to spend time with a bunch of runners I would have laughed and laughed until my head actually fell off!

But now, at least three times a week, I spend time in the wonderful company of the friends I have made through Huddersfield parkrun.  Sometimes it revolves around the running (Saturday parkrun) and sometimes (most of the time) it doesn't!

Just after Chris and I 'were handed the keys' to Huddersfield parkrun we were invited on our first social event to a gathering of Yorkshire parkrun team with our great leader PSH and the lovely, then area rep, Tom Williams.  To be honest, it was the first time that Chris and I had actually spent more that a few minutes in each others company, before that our only contact had been 'how do we upload the results again?'.  So, with some reservations, I picked the boy up from the park and off we went to Leeds. 

Now as most Huddersfield parkrunners know and anyone who listens to Radio Leeds, Chris’s sense of direction and navigational skills are as good as my driving skills.  Pretty none existent!  For some reason we decide to go in my car, a much loved 1997 Landrover Discovery called Bertha, who wallows on motorways like a hippo.  We set off with a good hour and a half to get there (Leeds is only 35 mins away tops).  What we both seem to have forgotten though is any details about where we are meeting other than 'the university'.  To cut a very long story (one hours and fifty minutes long, involving more than one motorway that we shouldn’t have been on, a couple of dodgy u-turns and maybe one short journey the wrong way up a one way street), short….we finally arrive at Leeds University to meet the other Yorkshire parkrun teams.  

And this was the first of many lovely evenings spent in the company of people who give a lot back.  We met Linda from Bradford parkrun who has been a constant support to us, especially in the early days.  She is the fountain of knowledge about all that is parkrun from a ED perspective.  There have been many frantic phone calls to Linda on a Saturday morning and she always answers the phone and always seems to be able to resolve the problem with minimum fuss.  Thank you Linda.  And then we met Simon from Roundhay parkrun who has inspired some of our parkrunners to run a marathon (madness!!).  He is a great ED to bounce ideas off and runs an extremely professional, hilly parkrun in a beautiful park in Leeds.  Hugs to Simon! We also had the pleasure of meeting many other parkrun teams and picking their brains and finding out how they run their parkruns has helped make Huddersfield parkrun what it is today.

After the get together we were invited by PSH to join him at the local curry house and the tradition of curry night socials made it’s first appearance on the Huddersfield parkrun social calendar.

(I am not even going to try to describe the journey home…..but you will be glad to know that we arrived home before midnight (just) and that this evening out cemented our crazy friendship.)

Before I met a lot of runners….I thought runners, ran….just ran and that’s about it.   I have since found out that the running side of things is just an excuse to 
  • go to the pub
  • eat cake
  • swap cake recipes
  • dress up in fancy dress
  • sledge
  • drink cocktails
  • not win a pub quiz
  • eat curry
  • eat cake
  • make cake
  • drink coffee until you feel drunk
  • drink coffee to sober up
  • laugh until you cry
  • help other achieve things they wouldn’t dream of trying
  • sample new cake recipes
  • spend a lot of time talking about bunnies
  • spend a lot of time trying to find a certain, attractive, single, tall, young man a date (email me for more details)
  • dance with abandon
  • run in the dark (although I am thinking that that is really and excuse to go the pub - see first bullet point)
  • support other running races
  • talk a lot about garmins (!!!)
  • know a lot about garmins (!!!)
  • talk a lot about cake
  • eat a lot of cake
  • get out of bed far to early on a Saturday morning
  • …….in fact the list is endless……and involves a lot of cake
The social side to Huddersfield parkrun is what makes parkrun so special, and by talking to other ED’s and all the wonderful tourist parkrunners that venture over to Huddersfield, it is the same in any parkrun in the country (world).  parkrun seems to bring out the best in people, it seems to bring people from all walks of life, with different opinions, different lifestyles; non runners and runners and somehow gel them together.  Maybe the government should look closely at parkrun for some ideas!!!

We are lucky at Huddersfield to have a great cafe next to the finish line, which has embraced parkrun whole heartedly (even opening up on New Years Day….just for us!  I really do need my coffee fix).  It is here that our parkrunners stop to warm up and chat.  It is here that friendships have been made and nights out planned, where tips for improving your run and marathon training plans are shared, where PB one second misses have been commiserated and new PBs celebrated…..and a lot of cake eaten and coffee drank!

So… wrap up this rambling blog…..if you want a Saturday night out, with a bit of running talk……or Saturday morning run with a bit of night out talk…..whatever your running ability, whatever your outlook in life, whatever your age (preferably 25-29 age bracket, female for our single, attractive, good looking male)….then come and join us at parkrun…….any parkrun!

To find one near you check out the website


  1. I have to say the cafe and facilities are excellent- a toilet so close to the start, bliss!!!

    Kerry- do you have a photo from the bottom point of the new course where you can see runners snaking in every direction from the statue at the top, down and under the bridge and up the long straight in front of you? Like spaghetti parkrun, a fantastic Saturday morning view!

    1. I will do my best to get one for you…..I feel a course description blog coming on!!

  2. Ha ha ..... love it, I have to say that Huddersfield parkrun have a very enthusiastic bunch of people and everybody should sample its atmosphere at least once.

    The great thing we have in Yorkshire parkruns is that we support each other and we are friends.

    Kerry, you are a star and a friend xx

  3. Love, love, love this blog...sums it up so well!
    Sorry the comments not longer but I'm off for more cake...
    N x

  4. Absolutely spot on Kerry. My new parkrun friends aka "the crazy gang" have helped me through a difficult time, love the lot of you. AmandaC


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