At the beginning of 2017, I decided that I wanted to run every parkrun in Scotland as a New Years resolution and Challenge Chum had inspired me to set myself some sort of sporting challenge for myself last year. Of course most people thought I was mad wanting to travel all over Scotland to do a 5k run and to a point I completely agreed with them, but it was something that I really wanted to do.
Now when I said this there were only 26 parkruns in Scotland, by the end of last year there were 33 (and at this point of me writing this, there are now 39) but I had set myself this challenge and I was going to complete it, even if it means I’m going to be park running around Scotland forever!
I definitely wouldn’t consider myself as a runner, I quite like running, but I generally get very bored running in the same place so I thought this challenge would give me the perfect opportunity to run some new routes and see around my home country of Scotland and I really have got to see quite a bit!
For some parkruns I took friends on the adventure with me but for most I had to set off so early on a Saturday morning that nobody wanted to come with me and I really don’t blame them! This meant that I made some parkrun pals along the way too, I met another guy who had set himself with the challenge of doing every parkrun in Scotland and we kept bumping into each other and ended up completing six park runs together which was great.
There were always going to be better parkruns than others but favourites so far have been Montrose, Ganavan Sands and Elgin although each location has their own personality. There were also was a couple of runs that I didn’t enjoy so much, mainly down to bad weather and lots of hills but you never regret doing a parkrun once it’s done!
I did have one shocking moment however in Camperdown park run where I couldn’t find the car park and then couldn’t find the start line. I spoke to the race director and they said I could still run the route slightly later and they would sort out my parkrun time which was really nice of them although I ended up running the wrong way and I ran nearly 10k rather than 5k on this run so that was definitely one to forget!
It was also great that I ended last years park run challenge in Troon, which is only down the road from me, and meant no crazy early-early start, as I did start plenty of Saturdays with very early mornings, traveling 100s of miles to get there in time for the start of the run.
Now that it’s 2018, do I still continue running park runs? Or course I do, there are some new ones on the islands, so planning ahead is much more important. I made it up to Shetland last weekend to complete the parkrun there and had a fantastic trip to see a completely new place and the next one on my list os Orkney. So as the parkrun movement continues to grow, my challenge continues this year and I’m hoping that I should be able to say at the end of 2018 that I have ran every parkrun in Scotland, it’s been the best challenge I’ve ever set myself and I fully recommend it to anyone!