What is parkrun?

Strange as it might seem for those of us that are in the know, there are still some people who do not know what parkrun is!  So let me give you a very brief introduction.

Every Saturday morning at 9am you will find a group of people gathering in a local park to join together and walk, jog or run 5k.  Starting in Bushy Park in London in 2004 by Sir Paul Sinton-Hewitt, this has now become a global phenomenon.  You can run a parkrun in 20 different countries including France, USA, Australia and South Africa.  And more are popping up each week!

Always a small p!

For the uninitiated – a hint.  It is always parkrun.  Always one word.  And most definitely always a small p.  Not a capital.  Not even in a title or at the beginning of a sentence.  There are some people out there for whom using a P is a major faux pas!  You have been warned!


Among these runners you will find a sub-group who call themselves Tourists.  Not for them getting up and wondering to their local parkrun to do their 5k.  This group will go to extremes to hunt out new parks where they haven’t yet run.  Friends they haven’t yet met.  Hidden gems that they haven’t yet found.

I am one of these rare breed of runners.  Since the summer of 2018 I have been going “On-Tour” to complete as many different parkruns as I can.  At the latest count I have ran 159 parkruns in total, at 80 different events.  These include all of the events in the North East, many in Yorkshire, one in Wales and one in Scotland.

Can you spot us?

Sometimes we go incognito and just enjoy the scenery of a new place to run.  But most of the time you will be able to identify tourists by their attire.  We are often found wearing apricot tops, cow cowls and cow bobs.  And we love a camera!


But parkrun isn’t all about running.  If it wasn’t for the amazing volunteers who also turn up every week to marshall, to time keep and hand out finish tokens there wouldn’t be anywhere for us to travel to for our running.

Giving something back

Putting on a parkrun every weekend takes a lot of work.  And these Event Directors rely on volunteers to go ahead week after week.  Some of the newer events and the smaller ones struggle to fill the roster when it is cold or when when most people are away on holiday.

So we decided that for one week we would like to give something back.  Instead of running our group would Take-Over the Volunteer Rota.  After much planning we decided that Millfield parkrun in Easingwold near York was the ideal place.

Saturday is parkrun Day!

So the big day has come round at last.  From 8am onwards volunteers begin to congregate.  The finish funnel needs setting up, cones need to be put out and the course needs to be checked to ensure it is safe.

Marshalls are sent out to their allocated spots wearing high-vis and clutching walkie-talkies.  This week they also needed something else.  Cow bells of course!  Because that is exactly what is needed to encourage all the runners on when they are getting tired.  Complete with cow stickers to match our cow bob hats and cowls.

First-Timers and Milestones

First-Timers' Briefing
First-Timers’ Briefing

This week the First-Timers briefing was given by Iain Hall.  It was his first time doing this role and although a little nervous he did a sterling job!  And Iain also did most of the organising for this take-over so Kudos!!

And we love a Milestone! Ones that I know of at Millfield this week included:

  • Elaine Watson – 250 volunteers!
  • Rob Lickley – 50 parkruns
  • Richard Freeman – 50 parkruns
  • Craig Redmond – 50 parkruns
  • John Freeman – 100 parkruns and today was his 74th birthday!


A special Shout-out needs to go to the volunteers who were pacing.  Not only did some of them do it after never having ran the course before, but they helped runners get PBs by being pretty spot-on with their timings!

  • 21 – Greg Hart                  21:03
  • 23 – Graeme Addison     22:54 (PB)
  • 25 – Jason Pattison          24:56
  • 28 – Amanda Waller        28:09
  • 30 – Michael Cleasby       29:42
  • 32 – Adrian Kelsall            31:57
  • 35 – Calum Burrell           35:00

Millfield parkrun; Event number 36; 8th February 2020

This week 196 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 31 were first timers and 52 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 22 different clubs took part.  Well done to all of you!

The event was made possible by 29 volunteers:

John GRAY • Iain G HALL • Graeme ADDISON • Amanda Jayne WALLER • Emma Jane SADLER • Paul WILSON • Lynn WILSON • Ann HALL • Nick DENT • Jane DENT • Dave WADDINGTON • Calum BURRELL • Elaine WATSON • Andy RICHARDSON • Lynsey BURRELL • Ralph GILCHRIST • Vicky RICHARDSON • Greg HART • Laura C A ROBINSON • Mike CLEASBY • Chris BRACCHI • Jane-Marie BRACCHI • Michelle I’ANSON • Raymond ROBINSON • Viki Bee CLARKE • Jason PATTISON • Adrian KELSALL • Christopher JACKSON • Michael BISHOP

Today’s full results and a complete event history can be found on the Millfield parkrun Results Page.

The male record is held by Tim STRATTON who recorded a time of 16:41 on 10th August 2019 (event number 8).
The female record is held by Ms. VERA GULYÁS who recorded a time of 18:04 on 24th August 2019 (event number 10).
The Age Grade course record is held by Patricia BIELBY who recorded 87.61% (24:13) on 17th August 2019 (event number 9).

Millfield parkrun started on 22nd June 2019. Since then 1,692 participants have completed 5,172 parkruns covering a total distance of 25,860 km, including 1,180 new Personal Bests. A total of 197 individuals have volunteered 767 times.

If you enjoyed this post, check out my others here – Emma’s Blog

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