Former England international runner and parkrun ambassador Dr Mark Yelling gives his five essentials for a successful parkrun

[1] Choose your start spot

“Sure, parkrun is all about the non-competitive spirit of running together and all that. But if you’re gunning for a PB, line up at the start in a position that gives yourself the best chance of this. This doesn’t mean elbowing your way to the front, but on the other hand don’t start off right at the back.”

[2] Know the route

“As it’s your local parkrun you should know the course. Understand sections where you need to concentrate, work hard and be strong and sections where you can relax and stride out.”

[3] Run evenly

“Aim to start strongly for the first kilometre and quickly reach your target 5km pace within this. Then settle and hold this pace for 3km before digging in and hanging on for the final km.”

[4] Pick a course

“If it’s a time rather than a particular course PB you’re after, choose your parkrun event carefully. Some course are significantly faster (flatter, less twisty, better underfoot, more competitive, have more runners at your pace) than others, so a little parkrun tourism might be called for.”

[5] Finish strong

“The final 500m is supposed to hurt! If you’ve got your pacing right and are in with a shout of your parkrun PB within the final 1km then slowing down at this point isn’t an option! The final 500m can make all the difference, so finish strong and smiling.”


Mark Yelling was interviewed by Damian Hall