In the UK, there’s a fantastic organization called ParkRun that hosts timed 5K runs in local parks across the country. The runs take place every Saturday morning at 9am and are non-competitive. Some people come ready to fly around the course in their personal best time while others are just there to have fun, bringing along dogs or strollers.
Peter’s friend told us about the park runs over a year ago but we didn’t get a chance to check them out until yesterday. We went to Bushy Park’s run which is apparently one of the biggest. They have an average of 477 runners per event! As we drove into the park, we saw people converging from every direction either on foot or on bike. Even though it’s a low-key, friendly event, there was something exciting about getting together with that many people to just to run!
Luckily we made friends with someone in the crowd who gave us a few pointers before the run started. Yesterday’s event had pacers (people running at a specific pace holding up flags with that time) so you can manage your pace. Also, he told us that some people had on shirts showing how many park runs they’d participated in – 50, 100, and even 250! We saw them throughout the run and were very impressed.
For our first run, Peter and I had the conservative goal of beating the 33 minute pacer. Turns out we well exceeded that time can came in at 30 minutes and 1 second! I think we’ll definitely be back to beat that time and work toward a ’50 run’ t-shirt.