Date: 22 August 2015
Parkrun has taken the world by storm! And there’s no signs of slowing down – all over the world new Parkruns pop up and more people join every day.
This all started in 2004 in the UK with the Bushy Parkrun (formerly known as Bushy Park Time Trial) when it was founded by Paul Sinton-Hewitt. The organisers figured it would be a good idea to spread the Parkrun event to other locations and in 2007 new events started popping up across London and the UK. It has subsequently also spread to other parts of the world and roughly 13 countries currently participate in what is now a worldwide event run entirely by volunteers. The Bushy Parkrun is the oldest parkrun in the world.
It is only 5km, usually on a Saturday morning at 8, and costs nothing. All you have to do is register in order to get a unique barcode that’s attached to your name. These are scanned at the finish of each event, after which you receive an email with a gob of stats and info: your how-ever-many-eth-parkrun, your time, your position in the field in your age group, etc. A really cool concept actually, and all for the good cause of getting more people active.
Some Parkrun stats from Wikipedia:
“As of 23 July 2015, combined statistics for all events:
- Number of events: 69,837
- Number of runners: 1,132,037
- Number of locations: 687
- Number of runs: 10,343,084
- Total Distance: 51,260,938 km
- Total Run Time: 563Yrs, 263Days, 11Hrs, 25Mins, 46Secs
- Female record holder: Elaine Sherwin Canicross assisted (15:43, set at Kingsbury Parkrun on 20 December 2014)
- Male record holder: Andrew Baddeley (13:48, set at Bushy Parkrun on 11 August 2012)“
Unfortunately Palmy doesn’t have a Parkrun (maybe something to look into) and the one closest to us, is some 70km away. So, unlike some other nutters out there, we wouldn’t be chasing numbers of any kind any time soon, eg to see if we can do all the locations in NZ, or how many abroad, or how many a year, etc.
No surprise then, that my very first Parkrun coincided with a work trip to Auckland. And while making the effort to drive all the way, we decided to do the Cambridge half marathon on the way back, spending a day or two in the lovely little town. So why not throw in a Parkrun for good measure? Cambridge is another town that doesn’t have a Parkrun yet, prompting therefore the short trip to Hamilton.
Although rather chilly, there was no wind and no rain (didn’t the forecast predict a few showers?). Very glad that MetService gets it wrong every so often.
The Hamilton Parkrun runs around the tiny Lake Rotoroa with a circumference of 3.7km. The additional 1.3km is made up for by running a little loop mainly on grass. The location is beautiful and the park well looked after. Beautiful scenery, and all and all a lovely morning out.
That’s my first Parkrun then. Wonder how long before I could fit in another one!