Each Saturday in a park near you, there’s a warm (in more ways than one) and friendly group of local and faces, on a community mission to maintain their health.
parkrun was started in a London park by a local GP who wanted to improve the health and wellbeing of his neighbourhood. Fast-forward 15 years and it is responsible for transforming the health of thousands of people, globally. No exaggeration.
If you’re like many people, ‘I’m not a runner’ may be the first thought in your mind. Perhaps you look with disbelief when passing a running in the pouring rain or boiling hot sun? parkrun has transformed this thought for many people! 5km may seem like a mountain to climb. But it’s one that time and time again, others have conquered.
"I started running in January this year through Couch to 5k and finished that with Weymouth parkrun. I managed to complete it, but it was difficult. The volunteers are great, they encourage you throughout as do the other runners. I've signed up for a charity 5km run. I can't say I've fallen in love with running, but the sense of achievement and wellbeing is great, and I would recommend anybody to take it up"
You are welcome to walk, jog, run or even sprint at your own pace. This is an ideal way to add regular activity to your lifestyle. Start by walking the course. You won’t be alone. A designated Tail Walker is always the last person over the line. Then, when you’re ready, add little sections of jogging. Before you know it, you’ll feel ready to go the whole hog. No one comes last.
Picture the moment when that "haven't, couldn't, wouldn't" thought is abolished by the sense of achievement when you cross the finish line having jogged your first parkrun.
"I completed my first ever parkrun this morning. 54 minutes at a good walking pace. Weather was glorious. Feeling strong!"
No lycra required! You don’t need all the pro kit. Comfortable trainers and clothes are enough. ????
"I was nervous going for the first time on my own, but as soon as I arrived a marshal asked if I was OK and made me feel welcome... it's such a great way to start the day. All the runners are friendly. My advice is to not think about it, just go! You'll love it!"
While you don't have to register, if you want to track your time you will need to get your own barcode which is quick and easy. You can arrive at any parkrun in the world and run without registering. But to record your time, you’ll need to register.
We’re lucky to have nine parkruns to choose from here in Dorset, three of which are junior events which take place on Sunday mornings.
"I started regularly doing park run at Moors Valley a couple of months ago. I love the sense of community and really feel part of something on a Saturday morning. Last week we had a record number of people with many wearing wigs in remembrance of one of of our parkrun family."
"I do Poole parkrun and love it! It's made such a difference to my fitness level. It's friendly and well organised. You are made to feel welcome. You can run with the elite runners, jog with the medium speed folk or walk with the tail walkers. It's a great way to start your weekend. Give it a try, there's nothing to lose and loads to gain! Don't forget to register and get your barcode, you can get it laminated at the pavilion. Good luck."
"I ran my second Upton House parkrun today! Pleased to be sub 45 minutes. A gentle pace but I ran the whole way! Great to be outside and exercising. Everyone is so friendly!"
"I was so nervous the first time I ran Weymouth parkrun. But I went to graduate from my couch to 5k course and my running group clapped me in. You shouldn't worry because there are always people walking parkrun and you won't be last (which was my fear) - no one comes last. Remember your barcode, listen to the course briefing at the start and enjoy."
"First time at Weymouth junior parkrun this morning for my daughter. Such a great way to start the day! Love parkrun - really welcoming, all abilities, lots of fun!"
Use the force on the first Saturday of May, to try your first parkrun! There's a powerful force for healthy living in Dorset - let's use it!