The rules of PARK-RACE

If you’ve been tempted to join the PARK-RACE experience by recent news coverage of its tenth anniversary, then there are a few rules that you need to know about to make sure that you get the most from your visit.

(1) Barcodes are rare and highly collectable items which should be kept in a safe place.  Don’t run the risk of losing yours by bringing it with you to your PARK-RACE.  Volunteers exist to serve you, and have nothing better to do with their weekends than pander to your every need.  They will be only too happy to write your details down at the end of the race and to enter them manually on the results system.  No barcode?  No worries!

(2) It takes a village to raise a child, and PARK-RACE is that village.  Want to go for a PB?  Tired of hanging back waiting for your little cherub to stop and smell the roses? Give them a taste of independence and tell them you’ll see them at the finish.  What’s the worst that can happen?

(3) Everyone loves a PB, so why not bring a pack of dogs along with you?  If you feel like enhancing your time without the benefit of steroids, then strap two or three or four to your harness and let them boost your speed.  Add to the fun by using the longest leads that you can find, so that racers without huskies can practise their plyometrics with a little rope jumping and slalom-style weaving.

(4) Your PB is all that matters, so run as though you own the park.  If you’re a slower runner, then make sure you start at the front so that you don’t get caught up in any bottlenecks.  If you’re a speedier runner, then sharpen those elbows and knock all obstacles out of the way.  Remember, the human body has amazing healing powers, so if you knock a passer by, small child or fellow PARK-RACER out of the way, they’ll bounce back soon enough.

(5) PARK-RACE is a race not a run and it certainly isn’t a walk.  Whether you’re racing yourself or your nemesis, be sure to use all available racing tactics.  Defend your position by running two abreast through the narrow sections so that no other racers can pass, and remember that racing continues past the line and into the finishing funnel.  With luck, you can make a few extra places up with a little bit of nifty footwork between crossing the line and collecting your position token.

(6) If you have a pet pooch but don’t want the hassle of stopping every time it smells something interesting, then let it off the lead and bring it to heel with the occasional call.  Any PARK-RACER who isn’t nimble enough to avoid your mutt’s meanderings deserves to eat dirt and anyone who objects to your canine’s playful behaviour clearly needs to take a chill pill.

Edit: HerWerMerNerBuN has pointed out that I omitted rule 7.

(7) The numpties will probably get your time wrong.  They will be grateful to be informed of your 1 second faster Garmin time.

Edit: Richard has pointed out that rule 7 has a second part.

(7.2) PARK-RACERS should also point out to the organisers that their garmin shows the course to be 20 meters long and ask if they could get that sorted out before next week.

Edit: Charlie has drafted a wonderful rule 8.

(8) On finishing PARK-RACE, you will be given a small commemorative plastic plaque with your finishing position on it. Take this home with you as a keepsake to add to your collection.

Edit: And Tim has issued the following reminder to all PARK-RACERS

Remember that PARK-RACE is brought to you by a highly paid team of organisers, richly rewarded for ensuring every event runs to perfection.

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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34 Responses to The rules of PARK-RACE

  1. theblogrunner says:

    HA HA HA HA! 😀

  2. icaniwill says:

    Good morning at the parkrun today?

  3. Excellent 🙂 I’ve met some people who do this event.

    See you at the bell.

  4. paulinlancs says:

    Park-racers should also cross the finishing line two or three times so as to ensure that they get at least one time recorded and to display to slower runner friends that they have bags of energy left.

  5. Richard says:

    They should also point out to the organisers that their garmin shows the course to be 20 meters long and could they get that sorted out before next week.

  6. (8) On finishing PARK-RACE, you will be given a small commemorative plastic plaque with your finishing position on it. Take this home with you as a keepsake to add to your collection.

  7. Stella says:

    This is brilliant! I would have said don’t give them ideas but I’m pretty certain I’ve encountered most if not all of those while run directing…

  8. David says:

    Don’t forget to start a collection of those little plastic souvenir tokens they give you at the end as well – maybe if you do enough runs you’ll be able to collect a full set.

  9. borofergie says:

    “the funnel” is a deceleration zone specifically provided to allow you to “sprint through the line”. Don’t worry about overcooking it, the Token Volunteer will happily provide a human buffer to absorb any extra kinetic energy that you might be carrying.

    (Love Richard’s comment about the Garmin).

  10. hels205 says:

    Love it.
    PARK-RACERS do not need to queue to hand over their position token. They have a RACE to get to 😉

  11. abradypus says:

    How could I have missed the rule about the finishing tokens? Thank you to Stella, Charlie and David for the timely reminder.

  12. Adam says:

    brilliant but you only half informed us about Garmins. PARK-RACERS are encouraged to go to each and every event and inform the fools that host them that their course is .0001 short according to their Garmins. It is vital that the person that has got up at the horrible hour of a Saturday morning to time PARK-RACERS finds out this fact at least 5 times per run, sorry race.

  13. Phil Bland says:

    Don’t forget that if you have a scooter, mountain bike or, even better , a 650cc Honda you will be first across the line ( if you can get past the ambulances !) and if the parkrun director gets shirty about your methods remind them that parks are for EVERYONE !

  14. Tim Cooke says:

    Remember that PARK-RACE is brought to you by a highly paid team of organisers, richly rewarded for ensuring every event runs to perfection.

  15. Sarah says:

    Emails advising the numpties about your bar code details, Garmin finish time, course length issues, complaints about slow runners getting in your way and arguments over points totals should be replied to instantaneously – after all, what else could they possibly have to do over the weekend? Re-send these emails hourly until you receive a response. This won’t annoy them at all.

  16. Ok, they are going to have to find a new RUN director for this Sat, I take no responsibility for implementing the new rules, but I will gleefully obey them all as just another racer


  17. Dunc says:

    Remember also that a 9am start is incredibly unsociable for a Saturday, so by all means just rack up around 9:15 and start your run. Just because you started late don’t feel under pressure to run quickly just meander round because the volunteers have nothing better to do on a Saturday. Once you have finally finished request that the timekeeper reduces the appropriate amount of time off your finish time, after all there really should be chip timing and you should not receive a gun time!

  18. Andy says:

    Did you by any chance open a huge can if worms here Louise?

  19. Andy says:

    “Of” worms! I typed “of” not “if” I’m sure…maybe 😥

  20. Millicent says:

    Pre-race there’s a briefing from the race director. Nothing important is ever mentioned so this is a good opportunity to have a loud chat with fellow racers.

    • JM park-racer says:

      Haha, YES this one annoys me so much (as a runner)! Why do the run directors deserve respect and a quiet audience, after all they only got up about an hour before all the runners did this morning…

  21. ultraboycreates says:

    I like the sound of PARK-RACE it sounds like the arsehole version of ParkRun. Where can I find this nirvana? Or should I just stick with the perfectly sensible and perfectly lovely Shorne Woods ParkRun where no arseholes are ever found (other than me) 🙂

  22. Bernie says:

    Racers should stop at the finish line and ask the timekeeper for their finish time – saves all that hanging about waiting for them to get the results up on the website.

  23. cottonandruns says:

    This is fab 🙂

  24. mia79gbr says:

    Brilliant!!! Don’t forget that headphones are mandatory as this helps other park users understand why you’re oblivious to heir screams as you trample their first-born under your Asics.

  25. Lemmy says:

    It’s not just my local pr then…

  26. Pingback: parkrun: Panshanger #1 | Tailfish

  27. Park-racers should also remember that the best way to endear themselves to the rest of the field is to bellow “get out of the way!” at the back-markers they are about to lap.
    I have encountered many park-racers since I started in 2013. Only took me 5 years to find this post! 🙂

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