Keeping it in the community with parkrun Friends North East England
Runners in the North East have a great new online resource. Facebook group – parkrun Friends North East England – is a friendly, inclusive community where people come together to discuss everything and anything to do with parkrun.
The parkrun phenomenon contains all the ingredients for a biography or a film about what has become a global success story. From its earliest beginnings in October 2004 when 13 people turned up at Bushy Park to the present day and new parkruns launching across the UK and overseas on a regular basis. These free, 5K timed runs (and 2K runs for juniors) continue to grow in popularity along with the community.
There is an esprit de corps within parkrun Friends North East England which reflects parkrun's ethos and sense of mutual support. The group was created in November 2019 to complement the successful parkrun Friends Scotland, now 3,300 strong. It was designed for every runner, from the first timer to the old hand and is a non-judgemental space where members post about their Saturday morning event: which parkrun, where it was, who with, what it was like and how they got on. All of which generates discussions and in some cases, advice from others.
For group admin Davie Black the social aspect lies at the heart of parkrun and the North East Facebook group gives the local parkrun community the opportunity to share information, insights and encouragement.
Social interaction is an issue close to Davie Black’s heart. He is passionate about people with a common interest coming together in a friendly, welcoming environment. Davie has been involved with his home event at Edinburgh for more than 10 years and has volunteered on numerous occasions at both the adult and junior parkruns. In September 2019, he celebrated his 500th volunteering stint with his 500th finish, making him only the second person in the world to have done so.
The shared interest theme is summed up by Davie thus: “I’ve coined the description of parkrun, to me, being a social meeting of friends where some running breaks out.”
Image courtesy of Keith Tilmouth