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Running » Training & Fitness

p is for parkrun

a journey from A to Z


The free, weekly, 5k timed running and walking events known as parkrun are now a global phenomenon, operating in 23 countries worldwide. Within the community of participants are enthusiasts who have created a parkrun sub-culture of challenges, loved especially by those who can no longer improve on their personal best time week by week.

One such is the Alphabet Challenge, to take part in parkruns which begin with every letter of the alphabet, just 25 letters in this instance, as there is yet no parkrun anywhere in the world beginning with X. Eileen Jones, the author of 'How parkrun changed our lives' (Gritstone 2021) was close to completing her own alphabet when parkrun was forced to stop because of the pandemic. Eventually, at long last, she made it to Zuiderpark parkrun in The Netherlands, only then to discover obsessives who were close to finishing their second, third, even seventh alphabets.

This is her story, a personal memoir of a journey from Alexandra Palace in North London to The Hague, which often involved musical theatre, and sometimes a little drama along the way. It's the story of the people she met, the powerfully-cohesive force of the parkrun community, the dedicated, the eccentric, the enthusiastic runners, joggers, walkers and volunteers whom she calls her parkrun family.

Each chapter leads with one featured parkrun, and then has details of the other events beginning with that letter that Eileen has completed, 135 different ones (out of a tally of more than 325 in all, many at her home parkrun, Fell Foot, in the Lake District). There are tales of record-breaking achievements beyond the confines of the stop-watch: the man who's done more parkruns than anyone else in the world, even taking part on crutches when injured; the popular and cheerful woman who's on her way to 100 different events, all of them by public transport; the writer whose children's stories are set at a parkrun beginning with D; and a friend who shared the author's Z celebrations after doing her own challenge in strict alphabetical order.
If you've done a parkrun, you'll love this book. If you've not, this is a story that will surely inspire you to sign up and take part.

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Cordee Code: CTJ164
Author: Eileen Jones
No of Pages: 240
Page Size: 148 x 210 mm
ISBN 10: 1913625109
ISBN 13: 9781913625108
Publisher: Gritstone Publishing Co-Operative
Published Date: April 2023
Edition: 1st, April 20123
Binding: Paperback
Illustrations: 12 pages of photos
Weight: 480g

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