After three months without parkrun on a Saturday morning, (not)parkrun was launched. Ever since the first Saturday without parkrun, my family and I have run our own version. We called it the non-parkrun parkrun. Now it has become an official thing – (not)parkrun.
(Not)parkrun is very easy to do and gives parkrunners a bit of motivation to get running again. While most parkrunners will have kept running (or walking), some will have almost certainly lost their mojo without an organised event at 9am on a Saturday.
You don’t need to run (not)parkrun at 9am on a Saturday. You don’t even need to run it on a Saturday at all. And you most definitely don’t need to run it where you normally run parkrun. Because if everyone else has the same idea, you suddenly become part of an illegal mass gathering. All you need to do is run (or walk) 5k at any time during the week and record your time.
Technically if you’ve never done parkrun before, you could still register for (not)parkrun, but the likelihood is that you will already be a parkrunner to take part.
You simply measure and time your run yourself on a watch or an app. The only rule is that you have to run it in one go – you can’t run half, then take and hour’s break and restart your watch to run the second half. Clearly nobody is going to measure your 5k for you or check you’re being honest about your time. But as teachers used to say, if you cheat, you’re only cheating yourself…
Once you’ve done your 5k run or walk, you go into your own parkrun profile and there is a new section especially for (not)parkrun. Just click on that and input your time. It will then go onto the (not)parkrun results table for your home parkrun.
You can input as many (not)parkrun times as you like in a week and the best one for that week will show on the results table. The results table is almost as good as the table for parkrun itself. You can sort results by time, age grading (a percentage grading based on your age and gender) and by number of (not)parkruns completed. It displays if a person has achieved a (not)parkrun PB and also if they are a first timer. It also displays your age category.
What it doesn’t do is sort results by gender or age category. But if, like me, you really need to know if you were first female, you can always just read through the results to work it out. Currently a fraction of the number of people who take part in parkrun every week take part in (not)parkrun, so it’s easy enough to check through the results table of your local event.
Of course, I had to do a (not)parkrun the very first week it launched. My family didn’t see the point. Because it doesn’t ‘mean’ anything. It doesn’t count towards your parkrun milestones eg your 50, 100 or 250 parkrun T-shirts. I was on track to get my 250 T-shirt right at the start of next year, but clearly that now isn’t going to happen for a long time.
But as soon as I started inputting my results, my husband decided he wanted to input his too – because he’s competitive! My kids are competitive too, which actually stopped them from inputting their results. Because what if someone their age had run a flatter course, so they were faster? To be fair, our (not)parkrun course is definitely steeper than our actual parkrun.
Throughout these strange lockdown limbo times when there is still so much we can’t do – including parkrun – our family (not)parkrun has been the highlight of my week. For me, being able to add my times to a results table has given me an extra buzz.
Huge credit to everyone at parkrun HQ for creating a system that works for something that we hope won’t be around for too long.
Although the fact that it has been created, suggests to me that we will be running (not)parkrun rather than actual parkrun for quite a bit longer yet…