Running for beginners: Why parkruns will kickstart your love for running

This is a picture of runners jogging around the 5K parkrun circuit in Markeaton Park.
The Markeaton parkrun 5K is a great circuit for beginners. Photo: Holly Hunt

Since the London Marathon, many people have caught the running bug and are looking for ways to further their distances.

For most people, running 5K seems like an impossible goal at the beginning of their running journey and finding motivation to even lace some trainers and start running is very difficult.

What if there was a way to make running a 5K every week fun and enjoyable?

The answer is the Markeaton parkrun.

Every Saturday at Markeaton Park in Derby, hundreds of people from around the local area take part in running a 5K circuit in a supportive and inclusive group.

Starting at the stone bridge by the river, participants will run, walk, sprint and jog their way around the circuit at whatever pace suits them best.

Catherine, a 21-year-old, who comes to the parkrun every week, says: “I love the community here, the vibes are the best.

“It’s also nice to get up in the morning on a Saturday and know that by 10 o’clock you’ve done something great.

“I meet my friends here every Saturday, and although we all run at different paces, we still feel supported by each other no matter who finished first or last within our group. It’s a really nice feeling.”

The supportive atmosphere in parkruns serves as a motivational force, inspiring runners of all paces to push past their limits and get out of their comfort zones.

This is a picture of runners beginning the 5K circuit
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced runner, the parkrun is great to take part in. Photo: Holly Hunt

Markeaton does not leave beginners to their own devices, however. Every week before the run there is a first-time-runner’s meeting where you can meet other first-time participants who match your pace.

This is how Omar, a University student from Nottingham, met his new running group. He says: “In Nottingham I am very far from home, so I didn’t really know anyone up here.

“I then met my flatmate who is very into running and he asked if I wanted to join him at this parkrun. I had never run before so I had never heard of parkruns but I thought what was the worst that could happen?

“So he took me to my first parkrun here in Derby where I attended the first-time runner’s meeting and found lots of other people in my position!”

He goes on to say: “This is my fourth or fifth parkrun and I am loving it. I’d love to keep continuing to do it too as it’s become a nice little hobby where I can meet new people every week.”

As well as being one of the most popular, sociable running groups in Derby, the parkrun also provides routine and accountability to all participants.

These two aspects are key for anyone who wants to embark upon their running journey, as improving on speed and distance comes from showing up to your runs and remaining in a strict running routine.

Even if you find running the circuit hard for the first few times, do not be disheartened! Practice makes perfect, and you can even stay for some tea, cake and more socialising at the Orangery Café afterwards.