The rules of parkrun tourism

If you’re thinking of becoming a parkrun tourist, you’re going to need some rules.  The easy part is writing them.  The hard part is remembering that they are there to serve you, not the other way around.

My rules

Version 1.0 (15 January 2011)

  • parkrun every week
  • visit a new parkrun every week

Hmmmm.  If I have to parkrun every week, then I can’t go on holiday to Canada.  But I want to go on holiday to Canada…

Version 1.1 (30 July 2011)

  • parkrun every week*
    *unless you’re in a country which doesn’t have parkruns
  • visit a new parkrun every week

Hmmmm.  If I have to visit a new parkrun every week, then I can’t run the New Year’s Day bonus parkruns at Bushy and Riddlesdown.  But I want to run the New Year’s Day bonus parkruns at Bushy and Riddlesdown…

Version 1.2 (1 January 2012)

  • parkrun every week*
    * unless you’re in a country which doesn’t have parkruns
  • visit a new parkrun every week^
    ^ bonus parkruns don’t count

Hmmmm.  A friend has invited me back to Bromley.  I’d really like to go…

Version 2.0 (7 January 2012)

  • parkrun every week*
    * unless you’re in a country which doesn’t have parkruns
  • visit a new parkrun every week^
    ^ bonus parkruns don’t count
  • no parkrun can be run more than twice

Hmmmm.  I’ve run 66 parkruns but never volunteered…

Version 3.0 (7 April 2012)

  • parkrun every week*
    * unless you’re in a country which doesn’t have parkruns
  • parkrun or volunteer every week unless you’re in a country which doesn’t have parkruns
  • no parkrun can be run more than twice

Hmmmm.  My 50 t-shirt has come through, but I’ll have to go to Wimbledon to collect it…

Version 3.1 (19 May 2012)

  • parkrun or volunteer every week unless you’re in a country which doesn’t have parkruns
  • no parkrun can be run more than twice^
    ^ except for your home run, which can be run as many times as you want

Hmmmm.  I have to be in Central London by 10am on Saturday, and the only feasible parkrun is Finsbury, but I’ve already run that twice…

Version 3.2 (9 March 2013)

  • parkrun or volunteer every week unless you’re in a country which doesn’t have parkruns
  • no parkrun can be run more than twhrice^
    ^ except for your home run, which can be run as many times as you want

Hmmmm.  I have an ultra on Sunday, haven’t sorted out my stuff, and can meet up with a friend if I go to Banstead Woods, but I’ve already run that thrice…

Version 4.0 (1 February 2014)

  • parkrun or volunteer every week unless you’re in a country which doesn’t have parkruns
  • no parkrun can be run more than thrice^
    ^ except for your home run, which can be run as many times as you want
  • convenience and company trump tourism

Hmmmm.  I seem to have entered an ultra which clashes with parkrun…

Version 4.1 (5 April 2014)

  • parkrun or volunteer every week unless you’re in a country which doesn’t have parkruns*
    *or you’re running an ultra
  • convenience and company trump tourism

Hmmmm.  I’ve picked up a niggle from my ultra but I’ve left it too late to volunteer…

Version 5.0 (12 April 2014)

  • parkrun or volunteer every week unless you’re in a country which doesn’t have parkruns*
    *or you’re running an ultra
  • parkrun or don’t parkrun. Whatever.
  • convenience and company trump tourism

So.  There you have it.  My rules may now be pale imitations of their original selves, but I simply can’t bring myself to care.  Tourism is fun, but, as a very wise friend reminds me from time to time, it’s important to prioritise friends and meet ups over numbers.  Mind you, she would say that.  She’s only two behind me on the most events table 😉

parkrun tourism

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About abradypus

A Bradypus or Sloth am I, I live a life of ease, contented not to do or die but idle as I please; ... [Michael Flanders and Donald Swann]
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16 Responses to The rules of parkrun tourism

  1. ultraboycreates says:

    Both amusing and informative 🙂 excellent as always

  2. hels205 says:

    This post identifies with my OCD use of version control on company processes. Love the post, very entertaining. Also, having slightly recovered from years of insomnia I miss it sometimes. 😉

  3. plustenner says:

    love this post – is a bit like my marathon training plans 😀

  4. paigesato says:

    Man, I wish we had parkruns–I love hearing the stories!

    • Mio Kontic says:

      You can… set one up! There are only 3 in the whole of the USA, nearly 500 in the UK. Even New Zealand has 6, that is… umm… thrice… no twice, yes twice the number in the USA 🙂

  5. Mr R Hill says:

    Hi If went on holiday to Toronto, ON, Canada you can drive across the border to America there is Livonia parkrun Michigan USA distance 261 miles 05 hours. Ron

    • abradypus says:

      Hi Ron *waves excitedly*

      I did consider buying tickets that broke the journey in Toronto rather than Vancouver the last time I went over, but the logistics outfaced me. Next time I shall see if I’m made of sterner stuff 🙂

  6. Elliot says:

    Brilliant post! I’m not as extreme as you, but have had the being a parkrun tourist multiple times this year! Keep it up 🙂

  7. Mio Kontic says:

    I am a little puzzled here, abradypus. You did your first parkrun on 8th January 2011, and, by your own, albeit fluid, parkrun tourism rules you do a parkrun almost nearly every week except when there’s an acceptable exception, which, quite frankly, I think is quite unacceptable. But I digress. So, using Excel (version 2007) and some complicated formulas and macros (written in VBA, not recorded – I spit on recoded macros!), I accurately estimate that you must have done more than the 66 you have done. Many more in fact, too numerous to count, and far too difficult to code or formulate. Four and a half years, closer to 5 to be precise, which is… 4 times 2 equals 8, and 4 times 50 which is… umm… carry the 1… well, it’s a lot! But you haven’t, not by a long way. So abradypus, what’s your excuse eh? Eh???

    As an aside (but relevant to this parkrun tourism theme), some weeks ago ( I think it was the week before the first parkrun in August… I guess that would make it the last parkrun in… whatever the month before August is – well I’m not going to do all the work for you!) I was looking at Wolverhampton parkrun because the following Saturday my home parkrun at Telford was cancelled because of some silly, yes SILLY, oochamajig in Telford Town Park. (I’m all flustered now after this little outrage so please forgive me for any obscenities that may ensue). Anyroad (taken from the book ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’ by Barry Hines, simply known as ‘Kes’ to me)… anyroad, in 6th place in that particular Wolverhampton parkrun a certain John Matthews, who at the time had done 211 parkruns. Being a stats geek I decided to have a look at his parkrun profile. And what I found was quite amazing… a real parkrun tourist. He’s been to many UK parkruns (that Wolverhampton parkrun was his first and possibly his only time there to date, BUT HE’S NOT VISITED TELFORD YET THE BUGGER!), but more astonishing is that he’s been a regular-ish international parkrun tourist. He’s visited Ireland, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and Poland on more than one occasion each, and once to the USA; well there are only 3 there (really can’t comprehend why only 3! Come on America, get those parkruns up and running, for the tourists if nothing else!). The only country he doesn’t seem to have visited is South Africa. And Afghanistan (Camp Bastion), although that one finished at the start of this year I think, and it’s understandable he may not have wanted to visit there… because he may have wanted to visit more in the future! Anyway, I think that’s quite an achievement; well done John Matthews! I wonder if anyone else has been a more frequent and widespread international parkrun tourist?

    And just another stat… a parkrun in South Africa – Modderfontein Reserve – holds the highest attendance record at 1803 on 10th May 2014. Bushy Park’s attendance this past week, on it’s 10th anniversary, was 1705.

    • Mio Kontic says:

      I must apologise for any spelling or grammatical errors in the above piece, but my brain hurt! 🙂

    • abradypus says:

      John is a touring legend (and a thoroughly nice guy). As for my 66, that was at the time that I moved from version 2.0 to version 3.0 of the rules (i.e in April 2012). I have now clocked up a fair few more…

      • Mio Kontic says:

        Oops! You’re right you know, that was long ago. But shhh, maybe no one else will notice your blunder 😉

  8. Matt Wright says:

    Great blog post! As a copywriter, I like the style, as a parkrunner I love the intention. I’m probably only an opportunistic tourist myself, so feel slightly intimidated by the lofty ambitions of Version 1. Maybe Version 6 should include ‘Decent coffee afterwards trumps lots of other stuff’ ?

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