Parkrun started back in 2004 when 13 runners got together on a blustery day in Bushy Park, Teddington, UK. Today it is an international family of over half a million runners (and counting). Parkrun takes place in 17 countries with 529 locations in the UK alone. One of which is based right here in Banbury!
Banbury Parkrun is a 5km run/walk around Spiceball park, organised and run completely by volunteers at 9am every Saturday morning. It had its first event on 27th October 2014 and has run weekly ever since, except the occasional cancellation for bad weather.
One of the greatest appeals of Parkrun is it’s totally inclusive, from walkers to keen runners. Even the younger runners (4 and over) are welcome as long as those under 11 are accompanied by an adult (at arms length) for the duration of the event. That is until the finishing straight where they can (and usually do!) leave the adult behind. It’s a great social event for all the family and many even bring a dog, but we do only allow 1 dog per runner on a short lead. With a range of fitness levels and ages, Parkrun really is for everyone, with the youngest runner at Banbury being 4 years old and our eldest in the mid 70’s. To take part, all you need to do is register at www. Parkrun.org.uk/register/, print off your barcode and bring it with you…it really is as simple as that.
With the emphasis on each event being a ‘run’ not a ‘race’ the Parkrun is very popular for many who want to socialise with friends who have the same hobby. Also for those who want to keep fit and get motivated amongst a non judgemental, friendly crowd who encourage each and every runner/walker across the line, no matter what speed or time. With 4373 runners crossing the finish line to date and a maximum of 351 runners on the highest attendance, you could say it has snowballed since starting in 2014 with approximately 80-90 runners each week for the first few months. We pride ourselves on being a friendly and free community event that encourages everyone to keep fit and enjoy the running community around Banbury. For more information you can visit the website at www. Parkrun.org.uk/banbury/ or pop along with your barcode
on a Saturday morning. For any newcomers, we welcome you to join us at 8.45am for our ‘First Timer Brief’ where we explain the event in more detail so you can relax and enjoy your first Parkrun.
You can also attend without even putting on your running shoes. Our ‘hi-vis heroes’ or volunteers help to support us every week in a variety of roles. From cheering on the runners as a marshall to timing the individuals as they cross the line. So if you would like to be a high-vis hero visit the website and register your interest. If you’re still not sure, here’s what some of our participants had to say about their Parkrun experiences…
“It is the highlight of our week. There is no better way to start the weekend. With your Parkrun Family. A well organised event … And it’s FREE.” – Martin
“ Lovely atmosphere and a great weekly 5k to challenge myself!” – Amy
“Everyone is welcome of all abilities and very supportive towards each other. It’s also a great way to meet new people and share the love for running together!” – Lisa
“…everyone is very supportive, making everyone and anyone feel welcome… I love my Saturday morning runs around Spiceball!” – Helen