Despite the brilliant "inclusive" nature of parkruns for some, particularly those new to running it may still seem a step too far. So, by way of reassurance, here are my nine reasons why you should parkrun this weekend.
1. If you haven't yet plucked up the courage to take on a more formal event such as a 5km or a 10km, parkruns are a brilliant first step to get you there and build your confidence. You will be encouraged by marshals all the way round and as there is always a tailrunner you don't need to worry about coming last! Time and time again I have seen first timers at parkrun both welcomed and looked after and that warms my heart.
2. You don't need to worry about race numbers, safety pins, timing chips or any of that malarkey. Just register here https://www.parkrun.org.uk/ print out your barcode, pop your trainers on and you're good to trot.
3. They're local! No matter where you are in the UK, or the world for that matter there's bound to be a parkrun near you. What's more, if you want to be a "parkrun tourist" (as travelling parkrunners are more fondly known) then as long as you're registered you can parkrun pretty much anywhere in the world. Australia anyone?
4. You can do it with the kids (and the dog). The very nature of parkrun makes it a lovely family activity for a Saturday morning. You can push little ones in the buggy or if they're able to they can run with you. You can even take the dog! If Saturday is a no go for you why not pop along to your local junior parkrun which is open to children aged between 4 and 14 on a Sunday morning.
5. Parkrun is a fabulous way to measure your progress over the 5km distance in a friendly, social environment. Find out where you're placed overall and in your age group and watch your time improve with practice and confidence.
6. You can volunteer first! If I still haven't convinced you to give it a try, why not volunteer. It will give you a good opportunity to suss out how everything works, get a feel for the route and the event and encourage others who are running. You may even pick up some tips on running technique! Just contact your local parkrun to volunteer. Even if you're a seasoned parkrunner I would recommend volunteering once in a while. From my experience, the volunteers generally take more away from the event than the runners.
7. It's a great way to fit some exercise in at the start of the weekend. If like many you find it difficult to exercise on a weekend then parkrun is the answer. Depending on where you live you could be done and dusted by 10am with the rest of the weekend still ahead of you!
8.You can get creative with your barcode. Pop it on a hair bobble, stick it in your trainer, laminate it, wear it around your wrist, tie it to your dog, the list is endless. I feel another blog post coming on...
9. CAKE. Okay okay not strictly true but many of the parkruns have a café nearby so what better way to earn your cuppa and a cake?
For more information and to find a parkrun near you click http://www.parkrun.org.uk/
To find out more about Kim Scott and These Girls Can Run click http://www.thesegirlscanrun.weebly.com
Photo credit unsplash.com