Sport In The City: South Manchester Park Run

Originally featured on The Mancunion

In the spotlight this week: South Manchester Park Run

 Well… what is it?

Whether it be on a treadmill in the confines of a gym or running outdoors through Manchester’s idyllic cityscape, it is fair to say that running as a form of exercise its self is not everybody’s cup of tea. However when you seem to be running in a group or with a target in mind, what can be a tedious and tiresome activity seems that bit easier, right? At least this is the thinking behind the South Manchester Park Run, a concept which has gone from strength with runners looking for a competitive run without a competitive edge. Although the South Manchester Park Run is not intended as a race against other runners, this 5KM timed run around a perfectly positioned Platt Fields Park can honestly be anything you want it to be, whether that be part of a training plan towards the upcoming Great Manchester 10KM or a simply a much more motivating way to keep fit. Every park run takes place on a Saturday Morning which I appreciate may not be the best time for everybody but an invigorating morning run may be the right way forward to a much clearer and refreshed mind ahead the impending assignment and revision period. So remember to set your alarm! Also please be aware that to take part in the Park Run, it is imperative to sign up online so that your time can be monitored and also for the voluntary organisers of the weekly Park Run to grasp an idea of the numbers of those running on any given Saturday morning.

How do I get there?

Sport in the City during its time as a weekly sports column has always intended to draw upon the sporting events taking place across the city, bringing you events from inside and outside the city centre and Fallowfield as both a way of exploring Manchester whilst discovering events you may not have known about previously. Yet the location of the South Manchester Park Run is surely a place that anybody reading this is all too familiar with… Platt Fields Park. Unlike some of the shortlisted venues over the past 15 weeks or so, clearly this week is going to be the easiest opportunity to get involved with a ‘Sports in the City’ event, a mere stone throw away from both the heart of the Fallowfield campus and the Oxford Road corridor. If you are however unaware of Platt Fields Park and find yourself travelling in from the City Centre for the event, make sure to catch any bus that goes towards Fallowfield (42, 43, 142 and many more) and Platt Fields is one of your last stops before the Owens Park halls of residence.

But how much does it cost to get in?

Another advantage to the long list of benefits that a park run already offers is that is absolutely free of charge to enter! No registration cost or sign-up free nor is it compulsory to attend every single week and once you have registered, you never need to do it again! Meanwhile every park run is non-profit and only takes place successfully because of the time and dedication of the volunteers who help it run smoothly. The South Manchester Park Run simply aims to allow runners to run comfortably and to encourage people to jog or run together irrespective of their ability. And every week after the park run, all participants are encouraged to join fellow runners for a coffee in the nearby Fallow Cafe and to become an important part of this new and ever-growing running community.

 What are the facilities like? 

The course is 5000m (5K) long and the route is based entirely inside Platt Fields Park on flat, smooth and good quality paths. Some sections of the course may accumulate mud, leaves and puddles after rain and as the park run uses shared paths, all runners are encouraged to give way to the general public using the park. The route starts outside the lake at the Lakeside Centre and encompasses a large section of the park during one 5KM lap before ending outside The Boathouse. For more detailed information on the route make sure to visit the course section of the South Manchester Park Run official website featured at the end of the article.

Tell me something I didn’t already know…

The Park Run was founded by Paul Sinton-Hewitt in 2004 and the idea to extend the park run across the country came originally from a regular run held in Bushy Park in Teddington, London. Sinton-Hewitt was presented the Runner’s World ‘Heroes of Running’ award and became a CBE in the Queen’s birthday honours 2014 for ‘services to grass roots sports participation’. Events now take place every week in Australia, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the Czech Republic, the United States, Italy and France. In addition by December 2015, there were reportedly over two million registered runners participating in park runs all over the world with over 12.5 million runs recorder and one million instances of voluntary work.

Finally, when can I see this in action?

The South Manchester Park Run takes place every Saturday morning at Platt Fields Park at 9am. For any more information, please visit the official website: http://www.parkrun.org.uk/southmanchester

If you have any requests for local teams, sports or events taking place in Manchester, or if you wish to be involved, please contact:sports@mancunion.com.

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