Saturday, 10 November 2012

My son's parkrun debut

First of all I should say that he has been to parkrun a few times before. So it wasn't really his debut in that since. He has "helped" me Marshall and he has done a half parkrun (the first of the two laps) on 4 occasions.

But this time he was determined to do a full parkrun. Even before the run he was talking about his next 9 runs to get to his 10 t-shirt.

Time really wasn't on the agenda, but I had an idea that it would take around 45 minutes if he could manage it.

We placed ourselves (my son Ollie, my brother Andy and me) about two thirds of the way back in the field of runners.

We started at a steady pace that Ollie thought he could keep going and just aimed to run until he needed to walk.

The First kilometre took almost exactly 7 minutes. Faster than expected, but he was talking the whole time so it obviously wasn't too fast for him. And we knew the walking would come soon.

Another km passed, just over 7 minutes taken and still he kept running. We reached the half way point at 18 minutes and he had now run further than ever before without stopping.

Kilometres 3 and 4 passed and still he kept running. He was so determined to run the whole way by this stage, that I was convinced he would do it.

A fast last kilometre (6:50 ish) saw him beat me and Andy to the finish line in a staggering first-timer PB of 35:21 and finishing in 298th place out of about 329.

He had beaten my expectations by 10 minutes and incredibly he had run the whole way!

Within minutes he was talking about the 10 t-shirt again, and going next week. I may have to forego my own parkrun ambitions for a while if he stays this keen.

For my sake and his, I may try to convince him that once every few weeks is a better idea, but if he is adamant I can only really to encourage him, can't I!

I was totally blown away but what Ollie achieved today. He was so proud of himself and I was and am incredibly proud of him too.

My 8 year old to attempt parkrun today

What could possibly go wrong?

He managed the sport relief mile without stopping this year.

He has also managed a mile and a half a couple of times without stopping.

So now he steps up to the 3.1 mile challenge of parkrun.

He is pretty determined to do it today. Time is of no object and my brother and I will just try to encourage him round.

It's also a great excuse for me to take it really easy given my cross-country debut today.

I honestly expect him to manage one lap and then tiredness and the lure of the cafe and a bacon sandwich may prove too much.

So, let's see how he does and I'll try to post an update later or tomorrow.

Good luck Ollie!

Friday, 9 November 2012

parkrun registrations this week

There is still a little time for new registrations this week, but at the time of writing....

Totalling up new registrations across parkrun globally, shows that parkrun has attracted a further 3,430 registrations this week. This takes the total number of global parkrun registrations up to 383,949. That is a growth of 0.9% on last week. At this rate of growth parkrun should break-through the 400,000 registrations mark sometime towards the middle or end of December.

This weekend sees the addition of Malahide parkrun in Ireland to the parkrun family. It is therefore unsurprising that this is the parkrun seeing both the highest number and highest percentage increase in new parkrun regisrations this week with 391 (and still growing) new registrants showing a whopping 6516% growth in total registrants. Good luck with your inaugural event Malahide parkrun.

Other parkrun events showing noteable growth this week are:
EventTotalThis WeekGrowth
Launceston parkrun172104152.9%
Kawana parkrun1444646.9%
South Bank parkrun1705142.%
North Beach parkrun2175533.9%
Alice Holt parkrun32833.3%

parkrun is cetainly growing in the southern hemisphere (not that Farnham is quite in the southern hemisphere!).

No great surprises in the "largest parkrun in the world" category this week, where it is still:
EventTotalThis Week
Bushy parkrun2078343
Glasgow parkrun1213433
Leeds parkrun1095745

And at the other end of the spectrun, but just as worthy of a mention we have:
EventTotalThis Week
Alice Holt parkrun328
Kingscliff parkrun323
Savill Garden Juniors parkrun641

What about a parkrun Volunteering Amnesty?

Why don't we have a parkrun Volunteering Amnesty, where anyone who has not volunteered at parkrun before is invited to come forward and try it out? Let's show the reluctant volunteers just how easy and rewarding it is.

An amnesty can be used to take away any uneasiness or embarrassment at not having volunteered previously. An amnesty may bring reluctant volunteers out of the woodwork.

Perhaps we should have a weekend dedicated to first time parkrun volunteers! Maybe, on that same weekend, we could get the most regular volunteers to volunteer again and shadow the newbies to help give them confidence. I'd happily do that. Or maybe, if first time volunteers don't come forward, parkrun events get cancelled that weekend. Perhaps then some of the most adamant non-volunteers may see what their approach risks them (and all of us) losing. I wonder how many first time volunteers we would get if the alternative was no parkrun that weekend?

Personally, I had no idea that such a small percentage of parkrunners actually volunteer at parkrun. Would you believe that the figure is somewhere in the region of 11.4% (very roughly speaking of course!)?

I would guess that there are a hell of a lot of runners who only run once at parkrun ever, or perhaps so few times a year, that they believe, and I agree, that we should not really expect them to volunteer. But once you get over some figure around 10 runs a year, then I think it is fair to expect those people to volunteer, maybe just once a year. And I suppose that a formula of one volunteering stint for every 10 runs is probably about fair. If everyone took that approach, we would never be short of volunteers.

I think I am saying, that thinking you can ever get up towards 100% is not fair on the vary occasional runners. Perhaps we would be fairer to quote these figures in terms of the number of people who run more than 10 (or some other magic figure) times a year.
The parkrun guideline has always been that if you volunteer 3 times a year you are doing your bit. But clearly the overwhelming majority are not volunteering at all, let alone thrice (I never thought I'd type the word thrice. And now I've done it twice!).

The custodians of parkrun have always said that volunteering is optional and that all help and guidance would be given to anyone who offers to volunteer. The tasks are not difficult and this help means that anyone who has volunteered knows just how easy the tasks are.

I have only volunteered twice this parkrun season, but luckily I am volunteering twice in the next three. So I can (just about) hold my head up high. Though not as high as some of the dedicated core of volunteers who are truly the backbone of each parkrun event. Without them, we really would not have our weekly parkrun.

I think most parkrunners agree that running is more fun than volunteering at parkrun. But once you have volunteered you realise just how good it feels to have enabled so many others to enjoy their weekly parkrun fix. Volunteering really is a very close second best to running at parkrun. You probably won't believe me if you haven't tried it.

So parkrun HQ, what about a parkrun Volunteering Amnesty sometime soon? I for one would be more than happy to shadow someone who has never volunteered before if that is what it takes. Teams of two on every task would aleviate any anxiety and make it a nice social event too.

Related articles:
Sometimes it's your turn

Thursday, 8 November 2012

When is your parkrun birthday?

This post was inspired by my running buddy and Hanley parkrun regular Bobbie Hickman, through a post last weekend on our Facebook page:

"Just looking at past results and noticed that I did my 1st parkrun this weekend last year (5.11.12). I'm so glad I 'discovered' it and can't imagine Saturdays without parkrun. Thank you to all those people who've made the 1st year so much fun and to all the new friends I've made. (I'm coming over all emotional now ;-)."

Bobbie's comment, which also elicited a like from PSH for the parkrun seal of approval, got me thinking about my own parkrun birthday - I knew I'd started in November 2011 but couldn't remember the exact date. So I looked up my parkrun stats to discover that's it my parkrun birthday this coming weekend, as my first parkrun was on Saturday 12th November 2011. 
Like Bobbie said, I can't imagine Saturday mornings without parkrun now. I've completed 30 parkruns at Hanley in my first year as a parkrunner, as well as two parkruns away from home. I've volunteered most months and really enjoy responsibility for scanning barcodes and finishing tokens - it is a great chance to speak to every runner and try and learn a few names too. I've even had a go at writing the run report for our Hanley parkrun website. I would encourage all parkrunners to take a turn at volunteering - parkrun doesn't work without volunteers and any contribution is appreciated. I really enjoy feeling part of the volunteering team, working together to solve any problems which crop up.
So how would I describe my first year as a parkrunner? Back in February, when I first contributed to the parkrunfans blog, I identified some of things I love about parkrun (challenging myself to get faster, meeting new people, volunteering) and that hasn't changed at all. I also love the parkrun statistics and I've had a look at my progression.
My parkrun stats... for my first year in parkrun
Photo: Morning fritttered away trying to get some olympic tickets... no success so far but not giving up yet. Mood improved by the arrival of my lovely new trainers from Sweatshop - thanks to Sweatshop, Hanley parkrun and parkrun for my prize!
My parkrunner of the month prize!
As the graph shows, I spent the first few months as a parkrunner challenging myself to get faster - after a few tentative efforts round the hills of Hanley park, I got used to the course (and the likely locations of the Canada geese) and went on a parkrun PB streak lasting 9 runs... improving my best time by almost 4 minutes over 3 months. It was a great honour to be nominated as parkrunner of the month back in April and my shiny trainers from Sweatshop are much appreciated. I've been first female twice - something I never thought possible in a sporting capacity - and was really proud to be runner-up in the points race for Hanley parkun in its first year. So lots of personal achievements and a huge boost to my confidence as a runner.
But my first year as a parkrunner has been about so much more than personal achievements. It has been amazing to see the number of parkrunners at Hanley grow each week. At my first event, there were 39 runners. Now there are regularly more than 60 runners and we had 96 back in September for our first birthday. It would be great to break that 100 barrier soon. We've had lots of junior runners get their "10" t-shirts and we're looking forward to the first "50" t-shirt for a Hanley parkrun regular - that should happen early in 2013. We regularly fill all the tables in the cafe for our post-run oatcakes and chat - a ritual almost as important as the run itself.
I've added another reason to why I enjoy parkrunning in the last couple of months... and that's seeing new runners come along and give it a go. I've run/walked the course with a friend who has just started running, as well as running with other people from my running club to offer them encouragement and support. I love seeing the smiles on runner's faces as they break personal milestones, whether its 20 minutes, 30 minutes or 40 minutes, the sense of personal achievement is just as satisfying. And in between, I've tried to get back to my fastest time too, with other parkrunners taking the time to pace me round and provide me with advice. I'm really grateful to everyone who has helped and encouraged me in the last year - thanks so much for all that support.
So what do I want for my parkrun birthday? Well, I'd love a new PB, or even just to sneak back under 25 minutes again - I've managed that 3 times in my first year and it would be great to reach that milestone again. It would be fantastic to break the barrier of 100 runners too... that would be a great birthday present. But whatever happens on Saturday, as Bobbie posted on Facebook, I'm just really glad that I found parkrun (or parkrun found me) and I look forward to celebrating my birthday amongst friends, even if I can't stay for an oatcake this week.
When's your parkrun birthday? How will you celebrate?
Update (08/11/2013): I'm celebrating my second birthday this weekend and will be run director for the day at Hanley parkrun. I've now completed 70 parkruns and am the very proud owner of a 50 club t-shirt. I finally improved by PB but it took me a long time to get there. And I still love parkrunnning.

In the shadow of child volunteers

I've blogged recently about having raised the issue of reluctant volunteers with Tom Williams.  Having just read a suggestion regarding a volunteer amnesty I remembered a suggestion that Tom made.

If I recall correctly this idea was spawned at Barrow parkrun.  The Core Team initiated a call to arms to junior participants to volunteer at a forthcoming event.  The plan was that every post, with exception of RD for obvious reasons, would be covered by children.  Now, we all know that juniors can be aged up to nineteen years and some of them not so junior in size so lets not kid ourselves that little Poppy pigtails and Norman no front teeth were to be left in charge.  Not in every post anyway.

The key was that each child would be shadowed by an adult but still left effectively to complete the task and only guided where necessary.  As far as I understand the event was as successful as any other and had no more issues than any other too.

The point of this?  Well, pretty straightforward as it goes.  This was to show the unwilling and disinclined that they needn't be so backward in coming forward to volunteer as it's no more than child's play.  If the kids are doing it then why aren't you was the question to be asked I guess.

I'm thinking that if the full starting price is to be realised then Barrow pr would be the guys to network with for the full update but it seemed like a very successful event by all accounts.  The only downside as I see is that you actually have to have twice as many volunteers if every child is shadowed by and adult in all posts.

Step from the shadows my reluctant friends as even the juniors shade you now!  Sometimes it's your turn.

Another post by Davie:
Sometimes it's your turn

Sur - prize!

Typing away furiously one day in January 2011 when I noticed an email arriving.  I was for the most part curious when I noticed it was from office@parkrun particularly as I had already read the weekly newsletter earlier in the day.  Maybe it was an electronic error, I dunno?  Turns out it was a message, or so I thought, about the Sweatshop Monthly Prize.

In my typical daily haze I wondered why I had been included in this circulation for as I recalled I hadn’t been before.  There again maybe I had and just read any previous emails from that address then deleted without a second thought, you know, as you sometimes do.  On opening the message I then noticed that it was actually addressed to me. Still confused the penny then dropped.  Seems that I had been awarded the Sweatshop Monthly Prize for Edinburgh.  Me?  Never!  Me?  Surely not me?  Double check, aye definitely me right enough.  Cannae believe this like!  Difficult to say how I felt.  A bit chuffed, a bit confused, slightly unworthy and ultimately wondered that there had been some dreadful mistake.

Phoned Gary the 'go to' RD.  He knew but didn’t think I’d be informed by HQ quite so quickly.  I argued furiously that there were other more deserving members of the parkrun community than I and that if I was ever to be in line then it would significantly further down a burgeoning list if even at all.  I even threw a few names in the ring.  No matter, I still felt a bit dirty about it, a bit like having stolen a Penny Dainty (remember those, Mint Cracknel, there’s another) from the corner shop.  Tasted great at the time but when the guilt kicked in it was all a little bittersweet.  Gary's reassurance was beginning to get through.  Yes I had come to the rescue on a couple of occasions when the event was threatened by bad weather.  Yes I am a regular attendee but I ain’t no persistent 100% attender like Andy McLeod.  Yes I am notably interested and continually espouse the virtues of our wee collective to those who I guess will be interested.  Can you see the common thread?  I could see plainly that I probably have done nothing more than most others would do hence the reluctance.

Aye, but wait, worse was to come.  Couple of days later, start line, usual announcements and directions via the mega phone and then that fateful moment, ‘Last months Sweatshop Monthly Prize winner is blah, blah, blah.’ I had to stand there screaming inside.  Naw, naw, naw Gary, what are you doing to me.  Round of applause, quick wave to the cheering masses as my face burned.  Aye, cheers Gaz!  Quickly Mr. Timer man, say go and let me run free from these surroundings of mortal embarrassment.

What was I to do?  It was a real dilemma.  Well I’ll tell you what I did.  Certificate printed out, Sweatshop at David Lloyd, treadmill, try, compare, bish-bosh, new Mizuno fellows, eBay, just the ticket.  OK, not the eBay bit.  Jobs a good ‘un!

Oh yeah and erm… ta!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

On this day in parkrun history...7th November 2009

Just 3 years ago today, on Saturday 7th November 2009, parkrun was not quite the size it is today.

That 'parkrunday' (this word will be in the Oxford English Dictionary one day, I assure you) saw just 23 parkrun Events take place with "only" (in today's terms) 3,096 parkrunners (another future real word) taking part.

Just three years on and last weekend saw an incredible 183 parkrun events with 24,303 completed runs.

Impressive growth!

It fits best when it's earned

After a slow start racking up the runs on my sojourn through parkworld it eventually struck me that there was some similarity or another that had gone previously unnoticed, at least by me.  There was one up ahead; another just passing and a few that took my eye at the start line too.  I had no inclination they even existed but hey looked quite good and I fancied one for myself.

I had been a plodding parkrun participator for a few months now and had never noticed the medium by which they might even have been accessed.  It was all a mystery to me.  Do you think I was about to blow my coveted cover by asking those in the know of just how I might come by such splendour?  Nope.  I was just going to have to ride the storm and do my own rummaging.  Okay, it would be more Clouseau than clued up but a man’s got to start somewhere

Week upon week passed by.  RD No1 didn’t have one and neither did RD No2 nor 3 nor a single volunteer, just the odd runner and mainly kids at that.  Amazon, nil.  eBay, zip.  Google, get out of town, nowt there either.  parkrun website, surely but nothing that I could see.  Maybe I missed the clues or perhaps my magnifying glass had run out of diesel but I sure as hell couldn’t find squat.

Then the penny dropped.  Turns out that what I had inadvertently stumbled upon was to be a community that would develop within our community.  A group within a group, nae, a club within a club.  Firstly in white and as I was to learn, eventually in red then black.  This had already been happening to other parkrun events up and down the country, mainly down, like south and I had no notion.  As Edinburgh was only parkrun number 22 on the role of the grand lodge of parkruns then there were very few around to be seen in the first place and would mainly belong to visitors.

Before I could be bestowed with my own cloak of achievement I had a price to pay.  Everyone in fact would have a price to pay but not in pounds, shillings, kroner or dollars or even zloty my friends but sweat.  Eh?  Aye, graft, exertion, application, effort. (Did you see what I done there, threw an Edinburgh arm round our international cousins).

At Edinburgh, Andy McLeod would be the first adult to have his red dri-fit medal adorn his torso.  An attendance record setting 16th October 2011, our anniversary parkrun was when the club was formed and he was member number 1.  Since then many others of which I was the seventh.  Yep, the 50 Club, or indeed way before that as I had been drawn to notice, the 10 Club if you are a little shorter in the leg, was opened for business.  As I write we now have 86 reds with 14 of whom have since gone to black and silver.  Black and gold seems so far away but then, so did 50.

Whilst my only goal at parkrun is to PB I have to admit to enjoying creeping closer to the big 50 and again at 100.  Most weeks I’d steal a sneaky peek around to see if those who were closing in on the club at the same attendance pace as me were participating.  It was a bit of a race in itself.  I am chuffed to belong as will the many others who are on the brink and those beyond however I am mindful that crossing the line is what gives me the kick not the plaudits.  Plod on my parkmates for your time will surely come.
Photo: T-shirt delivery this morning my friends woohoo!!! Could the

Sometimes it's your turn

I recently met with Tom Williams and Danny Norman on the Scottish week of their parkrunontour journey.  I’ve met Tom before at the time where he was taking on the UK Manager role and attended Edinburgh pr with his wife and daughter.  He struck me as a very congenial guy who is always keen to lend an ear and offer advice and support unequivocally.  I liked him straight away.

One of Edinburgh’s RD’s couldn’t make the meeting and asked if I’d table our issue with volunteer difficulties, or indeed, despairing lack of as it goes.  This I did and there was a long, perhaps too long, discussion on this very area and the bottom line, somewhat akin to the PSH approach, was to not allow ourselves to be frustrated by it and if there aren’t enough available on the day and no more step up to help upon appeal then just pull the plug on the affected event.  A decision we are promised will be indisputably supported by HQ.

Frustration, it’s a helluva thing and admittedly I have some difficulty compartmentalising it.  When it bears down heavily week on week on week on seeing your own parkmates who upon having completed 30, 40, 50, 60 odd and many more events, sometimes years, and still refuse to volunteer then my frustration duly returns.  When I see RD’s making two, three sometimes four exasperated appeals leading up to an event due to the repeated absence of help then the frustration returns again.  The national average of volunteer versus regular attenders is more than 12%.  We had a 9.4% average last year falling to 9.1% this so feel my annoyance.

I guess as a nearly weekly volunteer over the past couple of years I can see first-hand the difficulties this throws up.  Similarly, as someone who is dedicated to our event, I am more able to appreciate the wider issues that this causes.  It’s not right that the willing take on two and three tasks in order the event goes ahead particularly as they have committed themselves to the cause for almost all of the preceding week.

I once approached a very regular attender who had never offered to help over far too long a time and asked if he’d help out sometime soon.  His response to me was that he will never volunteer as weekends are the only time he gets off.  What irritated me with such a selfish reply was that, coincidentally, weekends are the only time I get off too.  I raised the issue of three times a year but he insisted that volunteering is someone else’s job and will never be his.  What can you do with that?  Well, what I did was to use his response and turn it into our appeal mantra quoting ‘Volunteering isn’t always somebody else’s job, sometimes it’s your turn’.

Tom had the idea that it might be handy to identify someone from the team, perhaps recruit one, who enthuses a certain dynamic that parkmates would buy into when being cajoled into giving something back to that which costs them nothing.  Someone bubbly, lively or who exudes that certain something about their character that will hook the unwilling.  Not a bad shout Tom but I have no idea where these people are however I’d have a slice of that for Edinburgh.  Demands won’t work, passive/aggressive won’t work, repeated reminders of failings won’t work, identifying parkrun benchmarks doesn’t work, badgering or harassment definitely doesn’t work so what to do.  It’s tiresome and incessant but I’m guessing there’s no real definitive answer.

As a volunteer I’m always careful to tow the party line in order that anything I do falls within the parkrun ethos, supports the Core Team and promotes our event in the highest fashion.  The truth is though that I am not an incumbent and so not constrained as directly.  I don’t have a directorship to lose so can perhaps get away with being a little less subtle but even then the thick skinned only ever talk the talk.

Volunteering my parkrun friends, sometimes it’s your turn.

Other posts by Davie:
 It's best when its  earned
 Edinburgh parkrun Course Description

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Edinburgh parkrun course description

So, apparently Edinburgh's
I don't stay in Edinburgh, never have and probably never will but I love this city. For the casual weekender this really is a fantastic place to be. From the majesty of the Edinburgh Castle down the Royal Mile to the romance of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, both old towns and new and for three years now, a parkrun just for you! Spectacular views of the city and River Forth can be had 824 feet up from the top of Arthur's Seat. Situated in 650 acres of highland landscape, lochs, glens, ridges and cliffs there is other city centre in the world that can offer you all of this. A slow climb will take you thirty minutes but I implore you to do it. Whether culture, architecture or history, you will not be disappointed.

Edinburgh parkrun is a riverside event held on Cramond Foreshore to the north west of the city. Easily accessible by bus it'll be a ten minute walk to the start area from when you alight and five minutes or so if you bring the car. Plenty of free parking too.

The course is a very flat, single terrain, tarmac out and back course in the shape of a lollipop and wide for the largest part. The finish line is only thirty yards or so, pretty much the length of our finish funnel, from the start line and located in the same area. The start area has sufficient space where parkmates choose to leave their bikes and change kit. Although not secured we have never had any reports of belongings being misappropriated so feel safe about leaving your gear.  Truth is that we end up collecting more that's left behind than ever having to search for missing kit.

Being as flat and open we do have our fair share of bad weather, not least of all wind and, unfortunately, it's usually always in your face for the return leg. That said, when it's fair then it can be glorious. Stunning views over the river Forth into Fife and beyond for the duration of the run and equally delightful scenes west through Dalmeny Estate and of both Forth Bridge (that's the cantilever rail fellow) and Forth Road Bridge on the back half.

Dalmeny House, south front

Our overall average attendance is 212 however over the past while we regularly see 265ish with a record of 379. If you arrive early enough you'll find music to entertain you and a full noticeboard to bring you up to date with both generic and Edinburgh specific points. We also provide a weather board displaying wind speed, temperature and wind chill, just so you know how tough it'll be! We also conduct a full first timers brief for parkrun virgins and visitors ten minutes or so prior to the gun as well as the pre-event Run Director's brief.

The course is signed up with black on white kilometre markers and both yellow or pink directional route signs. You will find marshals dressed in hi-viz yellow tabards positioned throughout the course all of whom have two-way radio's in order to contact the start area if the need arises. We have a tailrunner, also with a radio, and they are dressed in orange vi-viz. With only one left turn and two right turns all in the same km this is not a difficult route to negotiate. Incidentally, this particular area has been named The Fiona Crawford Loop in memory of our late parkmate.

During the latter part of the last km you will be directed left through a tree line where you'll think the finish is near.  It's not!  You have another 300 metres or so to go and this is where the run gets interesting.  The pace picks up, the run gets a little competitive and personal battles are won and lost in this stretch to the finish line.  Under the finish gantry, make your way along the finish funnel and collect you finish position token (FTP).  Head back on yourself along the prom to the Venga Van, you'll see the queue, where all the scanning takes place and your done.

Cramond Harbour.jpgIf you're not in a hurry to leave and fancy cake and a coffee then follow the prom west along to the harbour, you can't miss it, just stay on the prom, where you'll find the Cramond Bistro.  This is where we have our post run breakfast during which the results are processed.  We've patronised it since our first event and can't recommend it highly enough.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and please make use of the under noted links for our official parkrun page, facebook timeline and google map for some fuller information.

Cheers and hope to see you soon.!/edinburghparkrun,-3.278046&spn=0.016808,0.047207&z=14&source=embed

New Contributor: Davie Black

Name: Davie Black
Home parkrun: Edinburgh
Date of first parkrun: 17th October 2009
Total Number of parkruns: 136 at time of writing
Number of other parkrun locations run: Nil
Number of times volunteered: 93 covering 98 roles.  Yep, sometimes two jobs at a time.
My parkrun history:

As an ice hockey player I was looking around for some local events to participate in with a view to improving my stamina.  Stumbled upon Edinburgh parkrun being reported upon in the local press leading up to the inaugural event and so jollied some team mates to register with me and the rest, as they say, is history.

After a bit of a slow start and being a fair weather runner I was eventually gripped by the phenomenon that we know as parkrun and began to attend regularly.  I'm not ashamed to say that I am consumed by my local event and for those who know me they will agree wholeheartedly.  As one of the earlier 100 Clubbers at Edinburgh it really speaks for itself.

Having the capacity to do so I store and transport our equipment to and from parkrun as and when required and of course involve myself in the setting up and dismantling alongside out uber committed longest serving Run Director Gary Frater.  Although not interested in a directorship I have probably become somewhat of a 'go to guy' solely due to my own commitment to the cause.  My very regular attendance has allowed me to extend my circle of like minded friends dramatically to the point where I now describe them as my parkrun family.

I guess I'm kinda famed for my First Timers Brief at Edinburgh.  Well, if a name check and mention of the very same by Tom Williams on the parkrun Show is recognition enough then that'll do for me.  I remember taking on the role as our regular announcer had moved on and it's been left in my hands.  I've expanded it a little and added some funnies in the hope that it reduces anxiety as well as being informative to both visitors and pr virgins.  I have blogged for Edinburgh before in the official race report sense and then broke away to write my own stuff to be accessed by my parkmates through my own Facebook account.  I also collate some local stats and refer to them regularly through our Facebook page,

Edinburgh offers a scenic and very flat run with a maximum elevation of only 8 metres on and out and back, single terrain tarmac, lollipop course.  Great for the pb's.  Indeed, as I understand, one of the top three or four flattest UK courses.

Like most contributors here I consider myself to be a bit of a parkrunaholic, a parkaddict if you will, and probably spend too much time tied up in stats and figures but you know what, I don't really care what anyone else thinks as I love it!

Thank you.

Other posts by Davie:
Sometimes it's your turn
It's best when its  earned
Edinburgh parkrun Course Description

Monday, 5 November 2012


Hey parkrunfans, please find this piece that I penned for Edinburgh parkrun a while back.  I'm thinking that there will be many more parkmates out there beyond Edinburgh who will recognise themselves here as much as I described my thoughts and deeds as well as I could.  Enjoy!


I felt like my lungs were fit to burst but I was being spurred on.  Spurred on by the very person who would never know but I certainly knew him.  He was called Nemesis.

We both turned up religiously every Saturday, I would see him and he would probably see me I guess but he would never really know me.  The most frustrating thing about our meet was that he confounded me by always finishing ahead of me.  I had to find something within that would turn frustration into inspiration.

I’d try to ignore his presence at the start but my gaze was always drawn back to his stupid baggy shorts.  I’d pretend he wasn’t there which in turn was very difficult as he was always in front of me.  I’d slag him off under my breath and wish for the God of all stitches to play havoc with his performance.  Worse than that, he turned up week in, week out with his gimpy knee strapped up.  Jeez, he wasn’t even fit and yet he owned me.  Damn you Nemesis!  He’d miss a week then I’d miss a week but we were largely better than regular attendees so my whole event would be hijacked week after week with such mockery.

Then came the day.  1k, usual.  2k, usual.  3k, usual.  Ho hum!  4k, wait a minute, only twelve runners between us.  Right then, quick physical.  Legs?  Aye, not too bad.  Lungs?  Not too bad either.  Pace?  Room for improvement.  Determination?  Oddly, reported for duty late but suddenly inspired.  Ten runners, eight, seven, five, nearly there.  I was coming to get you Nemesis and you had no clue.  Four, two, Nemesis and then the trees.  Those damned trees.  Just when you think it’s in the bag at the trees, it’s not.  There's three hundred metres to go and that finish line just seemed to keep disappearing into the distance but that was all in my head.  I surge past, victory will be mine at last.  I heard the thump of rubber on asphalt behind me.  Was this his push to snatch victory back from my hands?  No matter the line was but strides away then yes, yes, yes, job done and he’ll never know but I sure as hell did.

In the finish funnel came a congratulatory pat on my back and as I turned to chat thinking I knew who it would be, it wasn’t.  Indeed the participant behind me thanked me for an inspirational sprint to the line as for week upon week I had been, well, HIS Nemesis!  My Nemesis?  He finished four behind as he was out sprinted by others who in turn were likely chasing theirs too.

parkrun stats this week.....3rd November 2012

The parkrun statistics of note for this week are:

182 parkrun events run
24,287 runners, just 131 runners short of the record for any one parkrun day (8th September 2012).
The average number of runners per parkrun event run was: 133

15 events recorded a new record attendance, as follows:
Balyang Sanctuary111
Claisebrook Cove77
Little Stoke111
North Beach74
North Lakes47
South Bank183
Walsall Arboretum93

Also a special mention for Becton and Esbjerg parkruns who came within 1 runner of a new attendance record.

The longest standing parkrun attandance record is:
Amager Faelled14628/08/2010

And in the UK its:
Old Deer Park8315/01/2011

The highest attandance this week was 905 at Bushy Park. No surprise there. Bushy still holds the global attendance record for a single event of 1000.

The lowest attandance this week was 8 at Hillerød. Every parkrun event is unique and deserves its place in the parkrun family.

New male course records this week:
Amager StrandparkNicholas BRYDE18:17
Balyang SanctuaryMichael Andrew LOW16:08
BarkingDaniel MOSES15:54
CoomeraJason GERAGHTY15:50
Cornwall ParkJacson KLUTS17:21
FælledparkenAnders EJBYE-ERNST16:33
GladstoneDavid CRADDOCK16:59
KawanaJohn FITZGERALD18:33
Little StokeDanny NORMAN17:03
North BeachChristopher William Burnett MULLER19:55
PrestonAndy NORMAN15:47
SheringhamJohn BATTRICK17:39
South BankGreg WEBSTER17:13
TilgateAndrew Dean ROBINSON16:36

New female course records this week:
KawanaTayla CLEGG20:36
Little StokeSally WILDER19:44
MansfieldLiz LILLEY18:51
North BeachSarah KING23:15
North LakesHelen STANTON19:02
SheringhamBarbara WILLISON22:08
South BankLaura MORAN21:44
WhitleyBayStephanie Maclean DANN19:44

A total of 69 runners ran times under 17 minutes this week.
8 of these run under 16 minutes!

The fastest parkrunner in the World this week was: Andi Jones running 15:13 at Heaton Park