I haven’t posted for a while but have a couple of gripes to share….
I was contacted during the week by the group leader of a local ‘Weight Loss’ group asking if she, mentioning no names, could promote her group (and the benefits of her organisation’s approach to ‘healthy eating’) to parents and junior runners at Southampton junior parkrun using ‘flyers and special offers’. When I explained that I wouldn’t allow a commercial organisation to do this, she said that I’d misunderstood her and that she didn’t intend to promote the group and meant she’d talk to the parents about healthy eating. Hmmm, why the mention of flyers and special offers then? Having made it clear I wouldn’t condone this as we want to keep events simple, free from commercialisation and not open the floodgates to other commercial organisations wanting to jump on parkrun as a means of touting for business, the group leader said she’d try the Southampton event! Excuse me for stating the obvious here but I’d consider that many people who have made the choice to get up early on a Saturday morning to complete a 5k run may also be considering a healthy lifestyle already. Having said all that, there’s clearly a synergy between healthy eating, lifestyle and exercise and many dieters looking to get active should consider parkrun as a means of introducing a regular fitness activity into their weekly schedule or enhance their existing physical activities.
Lo and behold, I spotted an A-frame promo board for the group leaders slimming group as I was helping to pack up and as I left the car park at the end of the event. Had the group leader been trying to promote her group just out of sight after all at the junior event? It appears that she had! Hmmm! Surely I’d made it clear that such promotion wasn’t welcome? Also, you’d think that targeting families whose children weren’t already active on a Sunday’ll morning might prove more beneficial. Clearly, parkrun is a low hanging fruit for such promotion.
My other gripe relates to dog poo! We’re very fortunate to have a great park to host the junior parkrun but one major issue we have every week is dog poo. It appears that a large percentage of dog owners who walk their dogs at Riverside Park, Southampton don’t ‘bag it and bin it’. Prior to the start of every event, the event team have to do a sweep for poo and bag and bin countless little unwanted messages from the finish area where we also hold the pre-run briefing. However, that didn’t stop me from standing in some once I’d set up the course with Daniel just off the path lurking in the slightly long grass. Grrrrrrr! That was annoying enough. However, the icing on the cake was Daniel getting home with his friend Anisha both covered in dog poo from where one or more dog owners had left piles by an area that a lot of the children play after the run. When I say covered in it, I mean from head to toe. Hands, clothing and shoes.