Countdown to parkrun returning to Sheffield
I suspect we all have our hearts set on getting back to something as the lockdown lifts, a haircut, a pint, a flat white in your favourite café? Doesn’t it feel like we are approaching the light at the end of the tunnel.
One of the things I’ve really missed is amassing with friends on a Saturday morning in one of the five parks in Sheffield that host a parkrun. Yes folks we are on a count-down to June 5, when the free 5km events start again across the country.
Junior parkrun, the 2km option for under 14s on a Sunday, has already started (although until the full events start it is restricted to under 10s). Preparation is under way to safely restart the full distance events.
My GP practice was involved in setting up the Graves Parkrun in partnership with Sheffield city council. I can honestly say it was one of the most meaningful health interventions I’ve ever been involved in. The feeling of mutual support and comradery extended to everyone who volunteers, walks or runs at the event each week is phenomenal, and it happens every week! Whether it is Endcliffe, Hillsborough, Manor fields, Concord or Graves parks you will always be guaranteed a friendly welcome. It matters not if you are a first timer or seasoned regular it is inclusive and encouraging by design.
As an organisation parkrun has been celebrating that on average times are getting slower, it shows more beginners are joining in. In fact, they recently launched ‘parkwalk’, with an eight-week build up program called ‘Strive for Five’ that guides people to build up from nothing to walking 5km (ideally at a parkrun!). There is also the hugely popular ‘Couch to 5k’ program that supports you on a nine-week journey to running 5km.
As we emerge from lockdown, and rediscover connecting in our beautiful Sheffield parks, I would thoroughly recommend joining in walking, jogging or running at a Sheffield parkrun. If you prefer to support by volunteering there are a range of options each week from scanning finishing tokens, to marshalling to timing. No aspect is too serious, but it is a really successful way for local people to celebrate being active together.
Myself, and many of our practice team will be at Graves parkrun on June 5. I’ll be looking forward to seeing ‘parkrun Jo’, and her team of directors, and meeting so many old friends I’ve missed. There’s still time to download a training plan and get yourself ready to join in too. Just visit www.parkrun.org,uk to register for free and download your barcode.