A Great Idea: parkrun

November 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sometimes a simple idea is so obviously great, it makes you wonder why no one  thought of it before.  One of those ideas flickered across my Twitter feed today.

Enter parkrun.

parkrun is a British organization that organizes free, weekly, 5k runs.

I love this idea on a few different levels.

First, earlier this week, I whined about the whole process of getting into some races now-a-days.  You can almost hear me cuing-up my old, crotchety voice, “back in my day, you could just decide on a whim to show up at any race on race day and just sign right up”.   From what I skimmed, these are much smaller, informal races that discard the hype.

Second, from a training perspective, the best way to get into racing shape is to race.  I know I’m able to race much faster than I can train.  For whatever reason–the excitement, the competition, the feeling of being judged, I can just race faster than I can run.  Having a consistent, affordable, regular series of races/runs provides awesome workouts and measuring tool.  Reminds me of the awesome Salomon Autumn Trail Series that I’ve run the last three years.  The series consists of 4 races, two weeks apart, at a local park.  I’ve said it before but the Salomon Trail Series give me a chance to re-create a mini-Cross Country season.

Which leads me into the final, and perhaps most important, reason I love the idea–it gives runners an excuse to get together on a regular basis.  A few different events over the last three months have emphasized how much more personal an in-person bond can be, experiencing things together.   Getting together with friends, comparing notes, having a bit to eat, and going for a run together is a great benefit.

I’ve been toying with a similar, less grand version of this for a little while but maybe I should raise my goals although taking time to organize things takes a lot longer than I knew.

Would you participate, at least occasionally, in a weekly run/race?  For either training, psychological or social reasons?

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