Happy hump day, I hope you are all having a lovely week so far! If you have been keeping out of the pub this January and are looking to get out and about this weekend while you are hangover free or are thinking about getting active this year and are looking for something to get you started, then this post might just be the motivation you are looking for. If so have a read on, if not… humour me and have a read anyway, then like and share the shit out of the post just for the craic 🙂
So last weekend I took part in my first Parkrun and I wanted to tell you all about it! Now just a bit of background, I never run. I have been quite active in the last 6 months with yoga and weight lifting classes and the odd PT session, but running is not something that has ever been big on my agenda. I have tried to get started with running in the past, going out a couple of times in the evening in the summer and attempting to jog a bit, but I always kind of gave up or put it off.
I was never good at running growing up, it didn’t really bother me too much because I was good at other things, but I used to dread sports day races and any other type of race. I used to come last every time… like EVERY time. So I think I just wrote it off as something that wasn’t my thing and never really gave it much thought.
This year I wanted to try something different and challenging so I decided I am going to run the Dublin Women’s Mini Marathon (well jog it… don’t want to be getting ahead of myself here) which is where Parkrun entered my life! I decided to take part as a way to motivate me and get some practice in the run up (see what I did there) to the marathon 🙂
So what is Parkrun?
Parkrun is an Irish organisation that organise free, timed , 5km runs in local parklands around the country, and actually, around the world. They aim to have a park run in every community that wants one and open the events to absolutely everyone. So if you want to bring the kids or your dog, you are welcome to. If you are an olympian runner, in a wheelchair or only starting out, you are more than welcome! The Parkruns are usually on a Saturday morning at 9.30am.
I attended the Clongriffin Parkrun in Father Collins Park… here’s me doing my best Flash impression as I make my way around the course (I’m in the grey top):
What is involved when I turn up?
You will meet at the designated start point which you will be notified of in advance. You will introduce yourself to a member of the volunteer team who will take your name and then there will be a quick chat to welcome new members and celebrate other members who are doing milestone runs (10, 50, 100 Parkruns etc.). A quick thank you to the sponsors of Parkrun and then you all wait at the start line for the race to commence!
Its that easy… you just turn up and run/jog or walk! At the end, they scan your barcode (which you get on registering) And shortly afterwards, you get an email with your run time and race statistics!
I really enjoyed the Parkrun, much more than I expected to! and there were a few reasons for this.
Firstly, while this was definitely a challenge for me, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be. I jogged almost the whole course, only stopping at the half way point to walk off a mild stitch! I walked for roughly 3 minutes, then got straight back on track with the jogging and made it all the way to the end without stopping! Now I was struggling to the finish line and so tired and my legs were screaming at me but I made it! Obviously everyone has their own level of fitness but chances are you will do much better than you thought! Which leads me to…
Secondly, I feel like running as part of a group was such a good motivator! It really spurred me on to push myself to keep going whereas had I been running on my own I would have stopped way before I did. It was nice to have other people to set the pace too, there were people of all abilities there so I didn’t feel like I had to keep up with the fast people, nor did I feel like I had to be as the back with the walkers. There was always a couple of people who stayed around the same pace who I could stick with on my way round!
Here I am coming up again in the background… I look like one of those creepy fast walkers which is pretty much what I was, haha!:
Lastly, there was a real feel of community spirit in the group. The group in Clongriffin is quite small compared to some of the other Parkruns I believe, but I have a feeling that the atmosphere is similar in other groups. I met 2 people I knew when I arrived and got chatting so someone new which is always good when you are starting something new! So if you would like to get active and meet some new active friends, this might be a good thing to try out!
So how do I get involved?
Its so easy, all you need to do is go to http://www.parkrun.ie/register/ and register your details. Its free, quick and easy to do and once you are registered, Parkrun will email you your barcode which you can bring along on the morning of the Parkrun so that your time can be recorded at the end.
You can check where your nearest Parkrun is by following this link: http://www.parkrun.ie/events/events/
Would I do it Again?
Absolutely! Genuinely I though this was a lovely way to start the weekend, and a nice little feeling of achievement to boost an otherwise standard week 🙂 And thats what we need isn’t it? Little moments in everyday life to keep us ticking on!
Here’s my results as per the email I received afterwards:
I was happy out with my time… even though I’m sure its pretty slow for 5k… I was just glad I made it round… And I wasn’t last!!! I’m back doing my Strongfit classes now on Saturday mornings (I will blog about Strongfit soon!) which clashes with the parkrun times but I’m definitely gonna give Parkrun another try on rest week, Im looking forward to it already 🙂
If anyone is thinking of giving it a try I’d really recommend it. Let me know how you get on if you end up taking part!
If you’ve enjoyed this post I’d love if you could like it and Share with your mates on social media… it would mean a lot!