Runners, have you tried the park run events?
You don’t get anything for nothing nowadays. True or False?
As you probably guessed by now, I am a keen runner and have been for some years now, however the thought of heading out alone on those long cold winter nights with nothing to keep me occupied but the patter of rain as it relentlessly strikes the face is enough for me to hang up my shorts and retire to the sofa. I was once told that running is one of the loneliest sports one could wish be partake in and to be honest, I happen to agree; this is one of the reason I decided to join Claremont Road Runners based at Northumbria university in Newcastle upon Tyne. I first started running in an attempt to increase my physical fitness, but the drive behind running took a somewhat unexpected turn.
Maintaining some level of fitness is relatively easy, increase that level is when things become a little tougher; especially for those brave enough to enter the world of competitive running, by the term competitive I’m not referring to presenting one’s self as an Olympian you understand. Regional races throughout British summer time saturates the diaries of those wishing to compete at an intermediate level, this in my opinion is the perfect opportunity to train harder and focus the mind on a specific objective such that PB’s become a regular occurrences. During my time as a club runner I’m continually taken aback from the wealth of knowledge and advice which is passed on from those who can only be described as sporting veterans, being a novice in this game it is important to welcome advice and embrace the challenges that are presented to me in the form of club handicaps and training sessions. This level of personalized coaching comes at no cost, in most fitness disciplines, personal coaching at this level comes at a significant premium.
Competing is an effective way of measuring ones progression and comparing oneself against other runners in the region. This is a motivational exercise in itself, and if you’re as competitive as i am you’ll soon find yourself striving to beat personal course records and the time of those whom you are familiar with. Of course most races cost money and these fees can soon mount up when you’re as keen as I am at competing. Having said this, Park Run is one such race that is held weekly (typically on a Saturday morning) and is entirely free. What is offered here is a 5km course set out throughout the country in local parks such as that of Exhibition Park in Newcastle upon Tyne; the course is professionally laid out and overseen by race marshals, pacers, and first aid personal. Each runner is asked to register online and download a barcode which contains the person details of each runner such that age, name, gender and club can be recorded. The course timing is achieved by scanner each individual barcode at the finish line as well as an addition chip which contains the finishing time of each runner. My understanding of the ranking may not be entirely accurate but this is how I understand it to work.
Your results come in two parts, firstly you are ranked with respect to the other runners on the day in accordance with you finishing position and time and secondly, you are ranked against other runners throughout the region which fall into your age category of the same gender, the score/ranking system is given as a percentage, one hundred percent being the fastest time recorded over the duration which Park Run has operated over; therefore the higher the percentage, the better the runner.
The exciting thing about Park Run is that it has been operational of some time now and still continues to break attendance records on a weekly basis, this unique training facility is free and all that asked in return is that you marshal 3 times over a 12 month period i.e. stand and hold open the gate. So, I only need ask one question…………………… You don’t get anything for nothing nowadays, true or false?
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