Are you regular runner, or maybe just the occasional jogger? Have you been intending for months – maybe even years – to get into it, or maybe you’ve never run a bus in your whole life? Either way, whatever the case, there’s a growing community by the name of Harrow Parkrun that you’ll want to check out.
Started in 2004, Parkrun has since come to span the globe – offering free, timed, and weekly 5k runs in a number of countries – but only found its way to Harrow last May. In the months since, Harrow Parkrun has seen a great local community of some hundred – though usually more – parkrunners of every age and ability, as well as a whole host of enthusiastic volunteers, turning out each Saturday morning.
Whether you go for a social run or whether you’re chasing after a new personal best, these familiar faces will motivate you out of your bed and onto the park path each week. You’ll be hard-pressed not to get sucked into this community – and I say that as one of the most anti-sociable people around.
As part of the run, you’ll also be given a time– a time that’ll be tracked and measured as you take part in more and more runs. This is another great part of Parkrun – even for those that aren’t competitive. Inevitably, you’ll see with each week you do a parkrun your progress – how your time improves as you run the course more and more, and how your fitness improves with it.
And this, again, is free for everyone; and as 5k – that’s around twenty to sixty minutes of running time depending on your speed – readily accessible too. That sounds like a lot I’m sure, but plug in some music and it’ll fly by – and even without, you’ll probably find it still goes by faster than you’d expect. The fact that there’s always a substantial amount of runners each week – even in the coldest and wettest of weather – is a real testament to how effective the Parkrun formula is.
So no matter how fast you are or want to be, and no matter how many runs you have or haven’t gone on before – Parkrun is a good place to spend your Saturday mornings. It’s fun, it’s healthy, and it’s free – a trio of things that rarely go together. I started last June, a month after it started up, and have since attended every week I could.
Indeed, whereas before I would only go running only every once in a while, Harrow Parkrun has got me going out consistently (if only so I can one day beat that ridiculously high personal best that I somehow set myself). For those that have always wanted to get into jogging, Harrow Parkrun may be just the thing you need; and for those that never have, it may be an opening into a new, healthy hobby.
If you want to get involved with your local community of parkrunners – or any of the parkruns across the country (and the world!) – all you need to do is go to the Parkrun website, and sign up for a barcode that’ll allow Parkrun to track and upload your times. After that, you can show up to any parkrun anywhere – for the Harrow Parkrun, that’ll be at the Harrow Recreational Park, just off Pinner Road, every Saturday at 9am. Alternatively, all Parkruns rely on volunteers every week to run its course – whether its marshals, time keepers, or tail runners – so if you want to see for yourself the course and the amazing people that make Harrow Parkrun so special, or if you want to get involved with your local community, there’s always the option of volunteering.
Sign up at this link here, where you’ll also find the links to volunteer, as well as any other information you’d like to know: http://www.parkrun.org.uk/register/
Or, check Harrow Parkrun’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/harrowparkrun/?fref=ts
Written by Harry Turner.