A walk (or run) in the park

In the past I’ve taken part in the Cardiff half marathon, the Sport Relief Mile in Cardiff Bay and numerous Cancer Research UK Race for Life events, but still, I would never call myself a ‘runner’. I find it hard to motivate myself and when I do go out for a run, I inevitably find myself walking after 15 minutes. So when someone told me about Park Run, I thought it might be the perfect way to get myself running again.

Park Run is a free 5k timed course which takes place all over the UK. In Cardiff, the run starts on the Taff Trail, next to Tesco Western Avenue and follows a 5k loop running alongside the River Taff and taking in Bute Park. It’s a free event, run by volunteers and funded by sponsors.

Park Run, Saturday 26/06/10
Park Run, Saturday 26/06/10 Pictures courtesy of http://www.parkrun.org.uk/cardiff

Last Saturday’s run saw 207 runners taking part – ranging from serious club competitors to younger children running with their dogs and even one man pushing a buggy around the course. It’s well organised, with a dedicated start, markers along the route and volunteers cheering you along the way.

It’s not a race, but you are being timed, which really gave me the incentive to keep going and not walk. I was in good company, gold medal runner Jamie Baulch took part on Saturday, although he wasn’t the fastest! The quickest time was 16 minutes, while the walkers came in at 55minutes for the course. 37 of the runners were first time Park Runners (including myself) – not suprising considering last Saturday was such a beautiful day. Luckily a large part of the course was shaded so it wasn’t too warm, but even in the open sunny areas, it was early enough not to feel too uncomfortable in the heat.

When you cross the line, you’re handed a token recording your time, which is then logged by the Park Run team and emailed to you, marking you against your previous stats, other runners in your age group and so on. On Saturday, the volunteers only had one computer working so logging your time took a while, but noone seemed to mind. Many runners seem to use the run as a social event and were happy to chat and compare times while waiting.

Park Run, Saturday 26/06/10
Park Run, Saturday 26/06/10 Pictures courtesy of http://www.parkrun.org.uk/cardiff

I would really recommend the Park Run event as a good incentive to get running, and a great way to kick off your weekend. Surely a jog along the beautiful river Taff  is better than half an hour going nowhere on a treadmill at the gym?

For more information, the Park Run website is www.parkrun.org.uk/cardiff

– CG


6 thoughts on “A walk (or run) in the park

  1. Eye on Cardiff June 28, 2010 / 11:21 am

    Thanks for the tip, I might check it out if it’s still around at the start of next year…

    I’ve made it one of my goals to take part in the 2011 Cardiff Half-marathon; I know that’s some time away and we haven’t seen the 2010 event yet, but I have a few hurdles to overcome first… I need to change my diet, lose 19kg, get into shape, learn to run (sounds silly, but as you have said yourself, there’s a difference between being a runner and having the occassional jog.)

    A year and a half should be plenty of time to make it all happen. 🙂

    • CardiffGirl June 28, 2010 / 6:34 pm

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

      When I decided to take part in the half marathon last year, I had already completed a couple of 5k runs, so perhaps that might be a good way to ease yourself in. I also downloaded a 12-week half marathon training programme, which was really useful. I didn’t stick to it religiously though! The half marathon was a great experience and takes a great route around Cardiff, we were really lucky last year as the weather was fantastic.

      Good luck with your training!

      • Eye on Cardiff June 29, 2010 / 8:15 am

        Thanks for the tip; I will try to do some 5k’s first in that case. 🙂

  2. Hannah Waldram June 28, 2010 / 9:33 pm

    The park run looks like a great way to take part in a group running event without feeling intimidated. I’ve actually signed up to the 10k and half marathon this year – but finding it really difficult to get motivated and find the time (or I fill my time with other things). Where did you find the 12-week training schedule Cardiff Girl? I’d be interested in downloading one.

    Also – if either of you fancy going for a run at any point just let me know – might be the motivation we need?

    Great blog!

  3. DJ Leekee June 29, 2010 / 8:55 am

    Great read.

    I have seen these people running through the parks early on saturday mornings and always wondered what it was all about!

    Never knew they had a proper website and there was such a range of participants!

    Might get around to joining in one week!

    PS I hate running!

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