parkrun and why all results should be scrapped.
That's what it is called, parkrun, not parkrace. Parkrun prides itself on being a run not a race. What matters is people taking part, enjoying, getting fitter, the community aspect.
These are fine things and there is no doubt whatsoever that parkrun is a good thing. You can go online and read endless accounts of what people like about parkrun and how parkrun has changed their life. It's great to read how parkrun and running has helped people.
I myself have done some parkruns, though my 7 over 6 years is miniscule compared to most other folk. I am in no danger of even getting a T shirt with 10 on it never mind 100. The last parkrun I did was on 26th November 2016 in which I got a 5k PB. I am in no rush to do another parkrun though, they just don't fit into my regular training plan. Therefore I don't do them.
I do have some problem with the whole parkrun thing though. The old chestnut, is it a run or a race. I think parkrun is unofficially split down the middle. You do get the majority of people doing parkrun as a social venture, keeping fit, starting off running, enjoying a run with the kids or a friend.
But there is also the darker side of parkrun which goes against the grain of parkrun organisers saying it's not a race.
As everyone who goes to parkrun knows, and indeed everyone who runs knows, parkrun is firmly a race in some peoples eyes, or legs I should add.
My own experience with people I know who are parkrun regulars some go for the social side, some to run with the kids. The majority of people I know though are there to race, to get a personal best, to get as best position as possible, even to win it. Though the official words are there are no winners because it's not a race.
Every Saturday I see results posted and comments about how disappointed they are with their time, how far up the rankings they were, the fact they won their age category etc. People do race at parkrun wether the organisers like it or not.
You instantly see the racers at parkrun and you certainly get to know of their achievements. Some people won't even go through the finish line and record their time, if for whatever reason their time is not good in their eyes.
People also know which parkrun routes produce quick times and will avoid hilly routes because they wont get that good time. I've seen many people post how unhappy they are with their time even though its ridiculously quick compared to most.
I do have a solution to people racing these none race events.
SCRAP THE RESULTS.
On the official parkrun site you get results. Lots of results. You can see your time, the position you came in the parkrun etc.
You also get
This Weeks First finishers. Listing all parkruns and who finished 1st in the Male and female category. You can't tell me it's not an ego boost to see your name on that list.
Sub 17 minute list.If your running at 17:15 you will be striving to get your name on this list.
Top Age GradeTimes and your age grade are listed on this list.
New Category RecordsIt's great to be on this list isn't it, you've just broke a record.
Most First FinishesNow who wouldn't want to be on top of this list, your name next to most 1st finishes out of your countries parkruns.
Why do all these results matter if it's not a race. Why not scrap results and even the barcode system. Why does it matter if one parkrun gets more people than another parkrun. I would happily wager my savings that if results of all kind were scrapped at parkrun then there would be a drop in numbers of attendees. Not a drop in the numbers of none racers, the keeping fit, having fun, running with the kids people will still be there, it's the racers who will stop going. The people who want bragging rights every week.
If parkrun just posted that X amount of people turned up at a particular parkrun, wrote a piece on how everyone enjoyed themselves, said thanks to the volunteers etc but posted no results then surely that would be bringing parkrun back to its original ethos.