Lots of people worry about the running at an OCR, so the best way to get over this is to get out and get running – it’s really that simple.
This weekend, take yourself down to your local Parkrun and run a timed 5km race.
In fact, one of the big advantages of Parkrun is that it’s not really a race, but more of a time trial in which you can try to improve your time gradually. This means the whole race feels really welcoming, with first-timers rubbing shoulders with Olympic athletes like Mo Farah and Jonathan Brownlee.
These events are FREE and cater for all abilities. All you need to do is register on their website, print out your unique timing code and you’re all set.
This simplicity and inclusivity goes a long way to explaining Parkrun’s incredible success. Since its launch in the UK in 2004, Parkrun has been successfully exported to the US, New Zealand and South Africa. Everywhere the formula is the same, remaining largely unchanged from the first race. Entrants register online, turn up and run. All the organisation on the day is done by volunteers, while sponsorship and corporate partnerships cover the running costs.
There are over 300 registered sites across the UK and they’re a safe environment for you to run on your own, as a group or with your children.
After the race has finished you’ll be emailed your results, and given your own personalised page with a history of all your events – letting you keep track of your progress. The system works whether you’re a competitive runner or just trying to improve your personal times. As well as working towards the milestones of 50 and 100 Parkruns, Parkrun tourism is an increasingly popular trend with die-hard runners who travel around world and stay fit while they’re doing it.
Just like OCR, Parkrun started with the aim of helping people challenge themselves to become fitter and healthier. The sense of community and the boost to your self-esteem that you get from both is what it’s all about.