As part of our better health campaign, we have teamed up with three local parkruns to promote opportunities for people with a learning disability to get into running.
parkrun organise free weekly 5km timed runs at almost 600 places in the UK and a lot more around the world. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in. You just turn up in a public park, run (or jog, or walk) 5km (just over 3 miles), choose whether to stay for coffee and a chat and carry on with your weekend!
The organisers want parkrun to welcome everybody and have recently produced some leaflets to encourage more people with a learning disability to join in. You can download copies of these leaflets here.
Three parkruns in our area have chosen a Saturday this summer when they will make people with a learning disability particularly welcome –
- as a runner
- as a walker
- as a spectator
- as a volunteer and/or
- just for a chat and coffee after the run
The dates for our “learning disability specials” are:
- Saturday 18th May at the Shrewsbury parkrun in Quarry Park Shrewsbury SY1 1RN
- Saturday 22nd June at Telford parkrun in Town Park, Hinkshay Road, Telford TF4 3NZ and
- Saturday 20th July at the Oswestry parkrun in Henley Wood off Cabin Lane, Oswestry
The normal weekly community parkrun will be taking place on these dates. The special events are not exclusively for people with a learning disability. We are promoting an inclusive activity but we are hoping for a larger participation by people with a learning disability or autism on these days.
Each event starts at 9.00 and you don’t have to book in advance. However if you want to know your time and have your name recorded in the results, you need to register in advance at www.parkrun.org.uk/register/ and print out a personal barcode. It’s free.
Preparing for parkrun
- you may be fit enough to just turn up on the day and take part without any preparation or
- you may want to visit the park on a Saturday at 9.00 or another day to see what it’s like, take in the atmosphere and familiarise yourself with the area or
- you may want to get together with others to train in advance.
If running’s not your thing you might like to volunteer or just come to watch. There are lots of different volunteer roles to choose from depending on your skills. Some are for people to do instead of running and some you can do as well as running. Will you be a “high vis hero” volunteering in a high visability top? Read more about parkrun volunteering here.
After the run
parkrun is not just a sporting event – it’s a great social occasion too and we do hope that you will stay for a chat afterwards. Coffee and cake is particularly popular.
And if you really enjoyed yourself, why not come along regularly. parkrun is a weekly event taking part in these and 600 other places around the country at 9.00 each week (see course pages for occasional cancellations).
parkrun events do not have staff, so you should bring any support staff you require with you. But can we help with reasonable adjustments?
- do you need someone to come and explain parkrun to you in advance?
- do you need a buddy to run with you?
- are you looking for a group of people to train with before your first parkrun?
Alternatively email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also be interested in the Facebook group for people affected by learning disability or autism.