I'd been meaning to attend the Brighton and Hove Parkrun for a while, but I finally made my first visit yesterday. My old friend Mr Spratt was visiting and suggested that we get together for the run then go for coffee.
The Parkrun is a great idea, enabled by modern technology. You register on the website and receive a barcode to print out. Then any Saturday morning, you turn up at one of the Parkrun events and do a 5K race. At the end of the race you receive a positional chip, which this is scanned along with your personal barcode. A few hours late the statistics from the race are put online. Best of all, the event is free.
I was suprised at how slick and organised the event was. The course, two and a half laps of Hove Park, is well marshalled, with a clearly marked finish line, and lap timings. The group is friendly, applauding the volunteers and first timers at the start line. Free T-shirts are given to regular attendees, for 10, 50 and 100 races run.
The run itself feels halfway between training and a full-on race. Sharing the same route with 180 people is a good experience. Even on a drizzly August morning, after being up too late the night before, the Parkrun was great fun.
The results were released a few hours after the race. There are a wealth of information for the Parkrun (Average run time: 00:25:47; Total Distance Run at Brighton and Hove: 95,790 km) as well as race reports, and photos. There are also personal statistics, I managed 25:22 and came 119th, 11th in my age category with an 'age grade' of 51%.
I'm impressed at how simple and well-organised the Parkrun was, and even more that it was free. After yesterday's session I feel more excited about running than I have in a while and, despite the trek to reach Hove Park, I'm looking forward to going again.