The parkrun alphabet challenge – ABC easy as…
I’ve not completed many parkruns since starting running. In fact, I have only completed four. My first was at Wycombe Rye for their 350th anniversary in May 2019. A second at Wycombe Rye and one at the Penrose parkrun while away on holiday in Cornwall June 2019. Lastly and more recently, at the first-ever parkrun on a leap year at Wycombe Rye this year, 2020.
I have never really run regular 5k’s, my chosen distance was 10k. Initially, I enjoyed entering different races to see what they had to offer and the atmosphere that came with them.
As opposed to focusing on times, as I get fitter, lose weight, I believe my running speed will improve taking its natural course.
The alphabet challenge!
I’ve come to the decision to utilise parkrun where possible, as long as it fits within my training schedule. Rather than just going to the same one locally, I have opted to take part in the challenge to complete the parkrun alphabet by running at different parkrun venues. The idea is to run different parkruns beginning with every letter of the alphabet. Also, for me, as each course will vary in levels of difficulty, terrain, and undulation, it should aid in becoming fitter. There’s always time to find a flat one and shoot for a PB every so often.
When running, I don’t want to solely focus on time but rather prefer to keep the fun in the run! Also, I enjoy the challenge which different routes and/or races bring. Like I said, as I get fitter, lose more weight, I hope to find that I can run faster.
ABC easy as…
Running the parkrun alphabet may not be so simple, with a little travel involved to tick some of the letters off the list. I might even need to go abroad for one or two letters.
There are more than 600 parkruns in the UK, so I should easily be able to cover the majority of letters here.
Currently, there is no ‘X’ parkrun in the world. I am sure if one was set-up it would be notably popular on the tourism circuit. Imagine the flocks of runners wanting to complete the letter ‘X’.
The most obvious choice for an ‘X’ parkrun would be in China due to many towns/cities beginning that letter. However, currently, there are no parkruns in China. Plus it would be quite a way to travel to, from what is predominately a UK phenomenon.
The majority of parkruns are held in English speaking countries. For example, the UK, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, the USA. Others are jotted around in some of the European countries, mainly in Poland and Germany. A town in Germany called Xanten in the district of Wesel is rumoured to be in the early stages of parkrun planning,…how true this is, I don’t know. I personally would like to see parkrun take off in Spain. They could have a complete set of letters there.
For the letter ‘J’ in the UK, I believe there are only a couple of options. One is in Jersey, which is most likely, quite popular for a weekend break…not to be confused with Jersey Farm, the other letter ‘J’ parkrun in St Albans, Hertfordshire.
As for the letter ‘Z’, the options at the time of writing this are; Zandvlei parkrun in Cape Town, South Africa, Zielona Góra or Zamek w Malbork parkrun in Poland, or Zillmere parkrun in Brisbane, Australia.
Zamek w Malbork, in Poland, is a good option as its a relatively easy trip from the UK. Plus, there are other activities to do on a weekend break. Namely, visiting Malbork Castle – a 13th-century Teutonic castle and fortress. In fact, it’s the largest castle in the world measured by land area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There is a new ‘Z’ coming though, Zuiderpark in the Netherlands which officially begins at the end of the month, March 28th. Five other parkruns in Holland are also starting. I am sure these will be quite popular for an element of tourism.
I will most likely tick off a few letters closer to home, or ones I have a personal interest in, then see where I go from there. While waiting for a letter ‘X’ parkrun to emerge, I will probably settle for either EXeter or EXmouth or even CROSS Flats parkrun… they are probably the best options for the moment.
To keep a record, I will list each parkrun completed in my parkrun alphabet table with links to each review, if you fancy trying one of them out.
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