Since 2004, the phenomenon that is ‘parkrun’ has been spreading across the country: volunteer-led, free-for-all 5K runs, every week, on a Saturday morning. Edinburgh of course, is no exception. In fact there are now two Edinburgh parkruns – the original at Cramond and a newer one in Portobello.

Although my attendance could be a little better (particularly through the winter months), I’m a huge fan so thought I’d share my reasons why:

1. “Parkrun is not a race – it’s a run.”

Although I like the challenge of beating my ‘personal best’ sometimes I just go out and plod round the course. People right at the front might be competing but I’m happy to just admire them! To me, it’s always just been about getting out there and getting a little exercise to start my weekend.

2. The community around Parkrun is just incredible.

Parkrun costs NOTHING to enter and yet the team at Cramond (my home run) are so professional. Run entirely by volunteers – they turn out week after week and organise an amazing event. People running are really encouraging to each other and I’ve always found someone to chat to at the start. Stewards are posted around the course and often shout encouragement and there’s always a team of people to cheer you to the end. It’s hard not to feel included by it all – even with sporadic attendance!

3. It’s not an insurmountable distance!

5K may seem like a really long way when you’re just starting out but most people could at least walk/run that distance. There’s no time limit on Parkrun and even if you had to walk the whole thing – you’d have the company of the tail runner. Parkrun doesn’t leave people out or exclude anyone! Wheelchairs and buggies are often seen in the pack of runners on a Saturday.

4. The way it makes me feel.

There was one occasion – back in 2013 – when failed to finish a Parkrun. I was running with Katie in the buggy but it was so icy it was more like a husky run. In the company of my friend Megan, after about 3.5K we just decided it was too cold and that we’d just go home! But even then, it’s a memory that I can look back on with fondness. I’ve completed that run in some pretty horrific weather but looking out across the water just centres me somehow. I can breathe and just focus on being in that moment.


5. It provides an opportunity to give back.

 I’m a bit late to the game with this one but I’ve recently started volunteering at Junior Parkrun and it’s something I’d like to prioritise in the future. I’ve taken up the role of ‘tail walker’ as it still enables me to take part with Katie, but it’s also a necessary role. As a teacher, I’d like to think I’m practised in encouraging people and I certainly know what it’s like to be at the back! It also gives me a chance to practise the mantra – run not race!
Have you ever taken part in Parkrun? Or is there anything that puts you off trying? Give me a shout if you’d ever like to plod round on a Saturday or join us for the Junior Parkrun on a Sunday!

2 thoughts on “Fitness: 5 Reasons You Should Try Parkrun”

  1. I love the concept of ParkRun – Dave goes every week with his friend and sometimes we go along to watch, it’s such a lovely community! Unfortunately ours is on the beach which, whilst lovely, means no buggies are allowed so that rules one of us out for a few years atleast but I’m hoping to give it a go toward the end of this year! x

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