parkrun – why they should scrap results and barcodes.

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    Richard Woodfield

    I really do think it’s necessary to separate any questions about a the new national 5k league table from the generality of experience of the hundreds of thousands of parkrunners and volunteers up and down the country and whether or not they feel welcomed and included etc.  I’ve been to 175 parkruns, usually arriving 30 mins early and staying at least 30 mins after I’ve completed my run.  So I get to hear a lot.  In all that time I’ve never once heard mention of any stats related issues pertaining to running clubs.  I simply don’t think that issue is anywhere near the radar of 99++% of parkrunners. I’d never even heard of there being such a thing as a published clubs league table relating to parkrun – and if there is I think it would be a matter of complete indifference to probably everyone at our parkrun. I’ve also been to a fair few of our parkrun’s evening socials held down a local pub – where groups of people talk in depth for hours about their parkrun experiences, what they like or don’t like.  So pretty much any and every gripe that might exist would tend to come out over a couple of beers.  Again, I’ve never heard anything pertaining even remotely to issues around national competitiveness/running club competitiveness mentioned.

    There are two quite large local athletics clubs, Tonbridge Athletics Club, and Tunbridge Wells Harriers.  I’d be surprised if there was anyone at all at our parkrun has the slightest interest in which of the two clubs happens to have faster runners at our parkrun.  Still less whether or where such clubs might feature in any national comparisons….


    Sorry Richard it really sounds like I’m having a go at parkrun – I’m not – I can only judge on the hearsay and feedback I’ve had, but when I’m getting directly told it’s cliquey, full of competitive club runners and unwelcoming I’m not going to be recommending it again in a hurry.  I think it’s hard to appreciate going into the weekly parkrun as a shy noob when you experience if as part of the core team and know pretty  much everybody there?  It’s a very different beast now to what it was even 3 or 4 years ago?

    It’s easy to say “well the noobs have to shout up and tell us they’re noobs” but really?? It’s a huge step for most new runners going to parkrun – a bad experience can make the difference between carrying on and not.   My take on what parkrun was all about was encouraging and developing new runners not being a Saturday social club for experienced runners to have a race or a social get together (lets forget the results and leagues) – but maybe I missed the whole intended point of it altogether?

    And dare I suggest that those who are part of the “clique” – those attending the socials have made it to being part of “the group” and aren’t going to voice the gripes of those who aren’t or first timers?

    I genuinely hope I have a positive parkrun experience when I go – I really do – and nothing will make me happier than to come back and say – guys you were right, it was amazing and loads of fun, but that will be a direct contradiction of the reported experiences I’ve been given – those reported experiences do make me quite sad!

    Richard Woodfield

    I’ve joined a couple of parkrun social media stats groups as they give access to some interesting stats and analysis.

    I would regard completion of 10 parkruns as quite a useful broadbrush indicator.  If people have done “only” 1o parkruns they will almost certainly not have forgotten what it’s like to be a newcomer – but, equally, if they really thought the outfit was unwelcoming and too dominated by competitive runners they would probably have given up well before reaching 10.  Anyway, as at 11 May 2019 parkrun, 899,975 parkrunners had completed 10 parkruns.  As at 10 Aug 2019 that number had risen to 952, 629.  So that’s over 52,000 more people reaching the minor landmark of 10 parkruns in three months.

    That particular run of stats is only visible to me from May 2019 onwards, but I can’t think of any obvious reason why things would suddenly change. So I’d have thought it not unreasonable to extrapolate that perhaps a quarter of a million parkrunners will reach 10 parkruns at some point over the period of about 15 months from May 2019.  I do find it difficult to reconcile that rate of growth among relative newcomers with the thought that parkrun has lost it’s way in the last three or four years when it comes to accommodating relative newcomers.

    Probably the main limiting factor at the moment I would suggest is little to do with attitudes but simply one of practicalities – that it’s not generally not been feasible to set up new parkruns at the rate which would comfortably accommodate all the people wanting to try out parkrun. It will be to be expected that that some events are probably either at around their natural ceiling or at least growth has to slow – in that a higher proportion of newcomers will find them too crowded, will find they can’t easily overtake or be overtaken, will find that they have to park too far away from the event, will find that 500 parkrunners every week are making the park too muddy for their liking, etc, etc and so numbers will be pretty much self regulating.



    Martin Penrice

    I’ve done  a few park runs mainly use them as a cool down after  a long run on fells or whatever . Its mainly  the Keswick one I do I’ve found  people  to be friendly enough  as MC said  if you feel  left out the maybe try and be more outgoing to others . I don’t get that  involved or bother about  others times and whatever as for racing  aspect I personally  know guys who could do 7 minute mile easily  holding  a conversation . Carl bell Ricky  lightfoot just to name  two if they finished  at front there maybe  going at a steady pace  for them but flying  compared to me so maybe  not all front  runners  are racing  for places its just  down to there  running  pace being faster than  others who are there.

    I think  they are a good thing whatever reason you  do them for and the amount of people who do  them  on a Saturday shows to me that plenty guys like them as it is run now  otherwise number of of guy doing  them would  drop


    Martin Penrice

    Sorry  forgot to  say don’t they use barcode to determine how many  start and finish besides being for times ?

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