Parkrun has become an institution for runners (and walkers) of all abilities. And if you’re soon going to be attending your first one, then we think there are some things you should probably know.
Parkrun is an international network of volunteer groups who organize weekly timed events. These usually consist of a 5k course at 9am on Saturday mornings, and a 2k “Junior Parkrun”, typically on Sundays at 9am.
These events are “free, for everyone, and forever” as Parkrun proclaim. And they are great fun and have a fantastic atmosphere. All sorts take part, from super-speedy athletes to people who walk the course. They are timed, but it is not a “race”.
Here’s your checklist for taking part in your first Parkrun:
In the days before your first Parkrun:
- Register with Parkrun by visiting https://www.parkrun.org.uk/register/ – this will give you your unique Parkrun number. Make sure you choose “Hambleton Athletics and Running Club” as your group!
- Get your barcode – if you didn’t print out your barcode when you registered, you can do it from here https://www.parkrun.com/signin/. You will need to download it and print it out – if you don’t have a printer give yourself enough time to get it printed. If you have access to a laminator, it might be a good idea to laminate it too. If you are a regular and find carrying your barcode a pain, then there are some fun alternatives in the Parkrun Barcode Shop. You can also update your profile, and choose HARC as your ‘group’ here too.
- Have a read of the latest guidance and the Covid Code which you will need to follow to keep yourself and others safe.
- Read about the Parkrun you are going to on the Parkrun website – you can find Parkrun home pages using their interactive map. Some of our local Parkruns are:
- Darlington South Park
- Fountains Abbey
- Tees Barrage
- Here’s our local area so you can find others: https://www.parkrun.org.uk/events/events/#geo=8/54.3/-1.2
- You can have a look at the Parkrun “What do I do on the day of the run” guide.
Before you leave – kit check:
- You will need just your regular running clothes (HARC vest or tee-shirt if you have one, but don’t worry if not!).
- You will also need your barcode with you all the time (it gets scanned when you finish).
- As with all sessions, it is a good idea to take some water or other drink with you.
- Most Parkruns do not allow dogs, so leave them at home, but they do allow children aged 4 or over, so feel free to bring them! You will need to run with them if they are under 11. Under 14s should consider the Junior Parkrun.
- Wheelchairs and pushchairs are normally allowed – it’s a good idea to check the specific Parkrun home page for more details of suitability.
When you get there:
- Plan to arrive by about 08:40 – that will give you time to find others from the club, and do a warm-up.
- We will indicate a meet location on the club session so you can see on the map where to head for – or just look out for the blue vests and smiling faces of your fellow club members!
- You don’t need to check-in with Parkrun – just be there.
- If it is your first time, there will be a “first timers briefing”, which also includes a briefing for visitors – people who have done Parkrun before but not this one. Listen out for announcements about when and where that will be (usually ten minutes before the start) and listen to the instructions – they will tell you everything you need to know (including much of what follows!).
- You’ll then make your way to the start. Parkruns operate a “mass start” – everyone starts at the same time, and as per the Covid Code you will be asked to arrange yourselves with the fastest at the front and the slowest at the back.
- There will then be the starting whistle or horn and you’ll be off! Run, walk, crawl – whatever you want – around the course. There are usually plenty of marshals to keep you on the right track and encourage you.
- When you get to the finish and cross the finish line, the most important thing to remember is to stay in the finish funnel and stay in the order you finished – this is vital to how they determine finish times.
- You will be given a finish token, and then will walk around to the barcode scanning, where they will scan your finish token and your Parkrun barcode.
- That’s it! Then all that remains is to encourage others who haven’t yet finished!
We hope you will love Parkrun as much as we do, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the members groups or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.