The ultimate guide to completing your first Parkrun
How to register, where to go, and what to expect from your first Parkrun.
Chances are you either know somebody who has taken part in a Parkrun or have taken part in one yourself (unless you’ve been living under a rock). Parkrun is a free, 5k running race/walk which takes place every Saturday morning at 9am in over 1,400 locations in 23 different countries.
This guide will discuss how to get involved, how to register, and what to expect from your very first Parkrun.
Related: What to expect from your first parkrun.
How to get involved
All abilities of runner/walker are welcome at Parkrun every Saturday, from those pushing prams to those clocking in at 16-minutes for the 5k event. If running isn’t your cup of tea, or you’re currently injured, Parkrun is entirely volunteer-based – meaning there are always places to fill.
Juniors can also participate in parkrun, with their own event held on a Sunday. More information on Junior parkrun can be found here.
Before running at 9 am on Saturday, you must first register with Parkrun. Once you have completed the registration form, you will be provided with a confirmation email (this will contain your unique barcode). This barcode needs to be printed out and brought with you on the day, used for registering your finish time, position, and who you are – essential to showcase those hard training miles.
To summarise registration:
1) Register with Parkrun by visiting their website
2) Print your barcode (accessed via the confirmation of registration email)
3) Bring your barcode on the day, essential for clocking your finishing time, position and name
If you run into any problems, we recommend visiting their dedicated support site for further guidance and information.
First, ensure you are registered with Parkrun – this can be accessed through their registration page. Once registered, and have received the weekly Parkrun newsletter or a copy of your recent results, follow the link to “manage my profile.” This link will allow you to opt-in (and out) of volunteer appeal emails.
Next, visit your local event’s Parkrun website and click on the volunteering tab located at the top left. If interested in any of these volunteering opportunities, email the address at the top of the page including your full name and your Parkrun ID (this is the number located under your barcode) letting them know when you’d like to volunteer.
Alternatively, you can speak to the event volunteers any Saturday (preferably after the event) for further information.
To summarise volunteering:
1) Register with Parkrun and opt into volunteer emails via “manage my profile”
2) Register your interest via the volunteer tab by sending an email to your local event organisers
3) Alternatively, speak to the event volunteers any Saturday or visit the dedicated support site for further information
What to expect and where to go
Now that you’ve completed registration and ready for your first Parkrun, what should you expect? Parkrun is a warm and welcoming event, with runners and walkers of all kinds. Whether you’re pushing a pram, running with a dog or attempting to break a personal best, you’re sure to be fully supported and cheered on by the Parkrun volunteers and runners alike.
Where to go
After registering, visiting your local Parkrun website will provide directions on where to go on the day. We suggest showing up early, leaving enough time to find your way and warm-up – setting you up for a great Parkrun!
Before clocking your first Parkrun, ensure you are fully registered and have printed off your barcode ready for the day. Whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth time, you’re sure to be cheered on by the dedicated Parkrun volunteers and runners alike.
Matthew is a lifelong runner, chief tester of all products, the founder of Running101, and freelance content writer for active brands. When he’s not writing, he enjoys lifting weights, cycling in the Lake District, and watching fast cars drive in circles on a Sunday. He also has a BA in sport, exercise and physical activity from the University of Durham.