Alan McAdam asks are “The McAdams” Obsessive About “parkrun”?



I come from a running background and although I ran whilst at school, I started seriously running in my twenties when I moved to Hartlepool, with a number of the power stations in the North East putting on a 5 mile road race series. I’ve always run since then and I guess some of it has rubbed off on Rachel and the boys. Rachel’s background is not sporting but she has worked hard at it over the years and now puts more effort into it than I do. Jacob and Isaac initially showed varying interest in sport with Isaac more competitive than his brother but now they are both serious and it is a big part of their lives.


Where did it all start

The first ever event was in Bushy park, where 13 intrepid parkrunners (originally called the Bushy Park Time Trial) got together on 2 October 2004. The ethos was simple, a 5k run free for everyone. From those humble beginnings there are now more than 2,000 events in 22 countries across 5 continents.


When and why did we start

We were on holiday in Lanzarote and as a family we ran along the promenade in Costa Teguise. I had heard about parkrun through work (I worked at Windmill Hill in Swindon and our running club used Lydiard Park to train) and whilst on holiday we decided we would give it a go. Our first run at Lydiard was on 13th August 2011. Isaac would have been 11 and Jacob 13, Rachel slightly older and me, well past it, frankly. I remember running with Isaac until he sprinted away from me at the end (about 24 minutes) and Rachel running with Jacob in about 29 minutes. Our initial plan was to run it every now and then, little did we know!


parkrun milestones

As many of you know parkrun give you milestone t-shirts at 10 runs for juniors, 50, 100, 250, 500. It wasn’t long before Jacob and Isaac notched up their 10 (3 months, where did that plan of running it every now and then go). As a family we got to 50 in our second year, 100 in our third year and 250 after several years. Rachel and I have also got our volunteering t-shirts for 25 volunteers. It has not been all plain sailing, Jacob’s enthusiasm wained for getting up early on a Saturday morning, Rachel had a hamstring problem which took her out for several months, I developed atrial fibrillation which required an operation to fix and with Isaac running for Loughborough University, parkrun seemed to lose its interest. We are currently at Alan - 385, Rachel - 380, Jacob - 294, Isaac - 276. (Obsessive!)


See how they grow!!


parkrun Tourism


Yes there is such a thing and we have been modest in our tourism compared to some, but we have had our moments. When I retired back in 2014 we planned a road trip from New York to the Florida Keyes, over about three weeks. The route was planned, all the hotels booked, then I thought, is there a parkrun near where we are staying. Bearing in mind that at the time there were only three parkruns in the whole of the USA. Well wouldn’t you know, I only had to change one hotel so that on 2nd August 2014 we did Durham parkrun, North Carolina. Only 21 finishers and Isaac was first over the line.


Another time we were just getting out of the car in the Lake District for Fellfoot parkrun and a couple of cars down, Gordon and Rachel Jones were doing the same.

Whilst cycling from Lands End to John O Groats with the boys in the summer of 2016, we managed to sneak a parkrun in at Stirling.

We had to go to the home of parkrun so one Saturday saw us lining up with over a thousand others at Bushy Park.

Between us we have clocked about 40 different parkruns.


Christmas and New Year are special times for parkrun, aside from the normal Saturday runs some events put them on for Christmas Day and the chance to do a double on New Year’s Day. When I realised that we could do a Christmas Day parkrun and still get to the Abbey to set up the music group for the 11am service, the boys teamed up with the Campbell boys to do a bit of fancy dress. We’ve also managed a few doubles at Melksham and Chippenham.





What next for the Mcadams and parkrun - Rachel had a plan to get to 500 before reaching 60 but that is all on hold. When parkrun comes back, do you think we will be there for the first one? Now where did I put my barcode....

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