Friday, 30 November 2012

How does parkrun work?

parkrun is a free, weekly, timed 5km run. For more information read my previous article "What is parkrun?"

To be able to run at parkrun, all you have to do is pre-register. Click here for more information on the parkrun registration process.

Once you have registered you are free to run at your local parkrun whenever you like. You do not need to tell anyone you are going to be there on any given week. Just turn up, run and have fun.

Better than this, you can actually turn up and run at any of the parkrun locations all over the country and in fact all over the world. Again, you don't need to give any warning that you are going, just turn up at any parkrun location anywhere and run the parkrun. Amazing isn't it!

So what is involved on the day? And how do I find out how I did?

On the day you do not need to tell anyone you are there before the run. Simply line up at the start line ready to go at the start time (typically 9am in the UK, but different in some other countries). If it is your first time, it is well worth listening to any "first-timer" and "pre-run" briefings for details of the route, course safety and other announcements.

And then you just do the run at your own pace. You do not need to be fast, you don't even need to run.

Now, the bit that makes all the results work and ensures that you know how you did, all happens at the end of the run.

Firstly, you must make sure that you have done the correct number of laps. Then, as you reach the finish area, enter the finish funnel and keep running across the line and on into the finish funnel as it narrows. Get well clear of the line (but remain in the order you crossed the line), so that others can complete their run.

At the end of the funnel you will be given a finish position token. Take the finish position token and your own personal "athlete" barcode and queue up at the results/registration table (where they will have barcode scanners).

Your personal barcode and the finish position bacode will be scanned and this will associate you with the finish position. You MUST hand the finish position token in - DO NOT take it home with you as it is needed every week. A separate process will already have associated your finish position with your finish time, and I will explain that another time. So at this point you, your time and your position are all linked together ready to be processed with everyone else's results.

You can then chat with other parkrunners or head to the cafe (all parkruns have a local cafe or refreshments area) and rewards yourself for all your hard work.

Later in the day you will receive a text and/or email telling you your result, or you can check this on the parkrun website.

Then all you have to do is turn up any (or every) week you like and enjoy it all over again.

Happy parkrunning!


  1. You forgot to say to make sure you hand your finish token back in somehow, don't take it home!


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