Not the Nine O'Clock parkrun News!
parkrun may be shut but it's far from hibernating
It's 9:00am on Saturday morning (4 July) and I'm sure there's something that I should be doing, writes runABC online news contributor Alan Newman. Ah yes, UK's favourite fun run and every runner and volunteers (not)guilty pleasure – parkrun – still in enforced furlough due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Far from being parked in suspended animation, parkrun is highly active, just not at the traditional time on a Saturday morning and preferably not on any of the more than 600 measured 5K parkrun courses in the UK. Instead, parkrunners have been able, since 15 June to (not)parkrun – yes, it's a thing – on any 5K course, at any time or place, every day if you wish, with your fastest self-declared time recorded each week on your home parkrun results page.
Just as 'Not the Nine O'Clock News' was a lighter take on the daily Nine O'Clock News on BBC1, (not)parkrun allows us to run relaxed, alone or with our socially-distanced buddies, in a light-hearted sketch of a parkrun, while still being able to see the fruits of our labours recorded.
The results have a familiar look, with age-grading and even (not)parkrun PBs shown, and they can be searched in all the usual ways – just like the real thing! There are some differences, of course. (not)parkruns do not count towards milestone T-shirts or volunteering instances as they are purely an opportunity for those who wish to walk, jog, or run their weekly, timed 5K. They also don't count for the main event statistics and there are no (not)parkrun records.
However, (not)parkrun statistics can be found if you dig deep enough. In UK, some 15,579 (not)parkrunners completed 21,462 (not)parkruns in an average time of 31:36. It seems that (not)parkrun has fuelled interest in the event as 11,349 people registered for a parkrun barcode worldwide since 14 March 2020, while parkrun was effectively shut down.
As at week ending Sunday 5 July, the biggest (not)parkrun totals in the UK were Bushy Park (393), Chelmsford Central (346) and Hull (180) while worldwide 23,605 people completed 33,560 (not)parkruns in an average time of 33:47 and the fastest average (not)parkrun nation was Singapore with 28:36.
Even more encouraging news is that on Saturday morning (4 July) there were 29 parkruns proper taking place in New Zealand with 3,683 parkrunners and 315 volunteers in action as parkrun continues to make tentative steps back for real.
Suddenly our correspondent realises he has just spent rather more time wrapped up in the fascinating world of parkrun stats than he would have spent running in his local parkrun, but until the happy parkrundays return how else would any self-respecting parkrunner spend their Saturday morning?
Find out more about (not)parkrun here
Image courtesy parkrun news blog