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The return of Parkrun!

As England moved into stage 4 on Monday, final preparations were being made across the country for the safe return of mass participation sports events. This includes parkrun which last took place on March 14th 2020.

I’m one of the organisers at Riddlesdown parkrun and I share the excitement of event directors throughout Surrey. We cannot wait to welcome old and new members of the parkrun family back to events on Saturday morning. We’ve been ready to comeback for a while with changes to procedure to minimise transmission and reassured by the extensive worldwide scientific research that has shown risk of transmission of Covid-19 outdoors is negligible.

For those that haven’t heard about parkrun, the premise is simple. parkruns are free, weekly, community events all around the world. Saturday morning events are 5k and take place in parks and open spaces. On Sunday mornings, there are 2k junior parkruns for children aged four to 14. parkrun is a positive, welcoming and inclusive experience where there is no time limit, and no one finishes last. Everyone is welcome to come along, whether you walk, jog, run, volunteer, or spectate.

Right from its inception in 2004 when injured runner Paul Sinton Hewitt organised a running event so he could stay connected with his running friends, it was always about bringing people together first and exercise second. The parkrun movement has grown into a worldwide phenomenon – there are now over 2000 weekly events in 23 countries around the word all organised by local volunteers wearing hi-vis vests. GP’s can prescribe parkun for its mental and physical health benefits, there are parkruns in prisons helping with the rehabilitation process, and initiatives to set up new parkruns in deprived areas.  

So how can you join in? All you need is a barcode and to wear something you are comfortable moving in.

The events are completely free, but you do need to register to get your barcode. Registration only needs to be done once – filling in an online form. Here’s a link to the registration page. This can be done on your behalf if you cannot access the form yourself.  Once you have registered you can take part in any parkrun, anywhere in the world!

You will need to print off your barcode and then decide which event you would like to go to. You can find your local event on parkrun’s event map here. I have also included an attachment listing Surrey and borders parkrun events. On the parkrun website you will be able to look at individual event pages which will give you contact details for that event, a map and description of the course and course surface, as well as details of how to get there. Many events have social media pages on Facebook or Twitter and you can also get in touch that way.

Once you’ve decided on your event, go along on a Saturday morning before 9. You are very welcome to walk, jog, run push or watch and there is no pressure to complete the full course if you don’t want to that day. You’ll find people of all shapes, sizes and ages there and a friendly welcome! Every event has a briefing to make sure people know where they are going and what to do and then you are off! Enjoy the countryside and the company at whatever pace you like and as you go through the finish line take a finish token. A volunteer will then scan your personal barcode that you printed off as well as your finish token. Later that day you will get an email or text with your time. Then you can enjoy a well-earned coffee and cake (or refreshment of your choice!)

If you have any more questions or would like some more information about parkrun please do get in touch with Katy:

Email: getactive@surreycoalition.org.uk

Phone or SMS text: 07434 865062

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