With the rise of fitness and healthy eating in the UK, Parkrun has hit the country and the world by storm. But why has everyone decided to run a 5K early on a Saturday morning?
Turning up to a non-competitive run with a group of people that all have their own goals helps put your mind at ease. My own goal was to lose weight when I was 18 stone and I managed to get down to 15 stone. Some people are worried about their body size and shape but all are welcome at Parkrun.
With over a million runners and walkers in 2016 going over 850 parks people were finishing there 3 miles and getting stronger, fitter and happier every week.
The safe environment is an attraction for a lot of people. Kids running with their parents, elderly people, women of all ages and I’ve even seen a man on crutches. They all turn up on a weekly basis as they know the run is safe for all runners.
Parkrun is also sold as a run and not a race. Of course some people get competitive but it’s all done in good taste. The majority of runners are out for enjoyment and their own sense of achievement, no matter how slow. One of my favourite experiences is seeing a woman cross the finish line and burst into tears as she had achieved more than she had ever dreamt.
The runs are always free, you just have to turn up with your trainers and some determination to pass the finish line. All marshals and race directors are volunteers and are people that have gone through the same feelings as everyone else and have fallen in love with Parkrun.
Lastly, you will be hard pressed to find a rude or horrible person at a running event. You can speak to anyone at the finish line and ask for any advice on running as they will gladly help you achieve what you want.
The hardest part is making the first plunge, once that is done you will be setting targets and meeting new people. Also, getting fitter and healthier along the way.
By Liam Amos