What are Parkruns in Northamptonshire?
Parkrun organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in.
These events take place in pleasant parkland surroundings and encourage people of every ability to take part; from those taking their first steps in running to Olympians; from juniors to those with more experience; everyone is welcome.
Far from being just a Saturday morning jog, parkrun can have far reaching benefits for your fitness and mental wellbeing.
A new fitness challenge in Northamptonshire
If you’re the sort of person who likes to keep their exercise within the four walls of a gym, adding a parkrun to your routine can have many benefits.
You’ll find all types of runners lining up to run 5k at their local parkrun on a Saturday morning. While some are there to see if they can beat their personal best, many will be using it as motivation to get out for a run or enjoy the social side of parkrun.
Research reveals that parkrun increases confidence, helps to reduce isolation, depression, anxiety and stress, and gives participants space to think.
The benefits of exercise on mental health have long been acknowledged, however this new research identifies three key themes:
- ‘sense of achievement’ referring to feelings of accomplishment;
- ‘connecting with others’ referring to a sense of belonging and community;
- ‘it’s for everyone’ referring to an equitable, welcoming and non-threatening environment.
- Sense of achievement
Participants reported a sense of achievement through participation leading to improved mood and self-confidence. The flexibility of parkrun – which can be for whatever purpose an individual chooses – means goals include simply attending, getting faster, visiting different parkrun venues and regular participation. In addition to achieving at parkrun, it generates a sense of self confidence to achieve in other areas of life.
- Connecting with others
Participants described a strong sense of community and shared experience with other parkrunners, helping people to feel acknowledged and valued. There was a sense that parkrunners genuinely invest in and care about each other, and support others as they have been supported, leading to improved self-esteem and sense of worth.
- It’s for everyone
Participants found parkrun inclusive and welcoming in a safe and familiar environment. The 5k distance was considered manageable, and the fact it is free, nationwide and doesn’t require specialist clothing or equipment demonstrates its accessibility. Participants reported feeling a genuine sense of equality at parkrun regardless of ability.
Where is my local Parkrun in Northamptonshire?
There are 580 Parkruns in the UK with more popping up every week. To find one local to you, visit https://findarace.com/parkruns-near-northamptonshire.
Parkruns are taking place in Northampton, Kettering, Daventry, Corby, and beyond.
How do I register with Parkruns in Northamptonshire?
It’s super simple. All you need to do to participate is register, print off a barcode and turn up.
A volunteer will scan your barcode after you cross the finish line. This generates your time, which is sent to you by email and text message later in the day. You can then track your progress and improvement over time and view all the results of previous parkruns through the website.
It is a simple, no hassle format, which strips away all possible obstacles that might otherwise prevent somebody embracing an active lifestyle.
For runners, joggers or walkers of all abilities, seasoned athletes to fresh-faced novices, it ticks every box, and showcases the positive impact exercise has on health and well-being.
And on top of the friendly competition and sense of achievement, it also facilitates the start of new friendships and social opportunities, with all runners invited to attend a post-event brew at a nearby cafe or meeting point close to the finish line.
So, if you haven’t experienced the Parkrun bug yet, wake up (early) and smell the coffee.