Scottish Olympian breaks parkrun world record in his debut

Scottish Olympian breaks parkrun world record in his debut

On Saturday, Scottish Olympian Andy Butchart made his parkrun debut one to remember by setting a new record for the fastest parkrun time ever.

Butchart, 31, completed the Silverknowes parkrun in Edinburgh in an incredible time of 13 minutes and 45 seconds, surpassing the previous record of 13 minutes and 48 seconds set by British Olympian Andy Baddeley in Bushy Park, London, back in 2012.

For those unfamiliar with parkrun, it is a free weekly community 5K run on Saturday mornings. Participants can easily find a parkrun location on the parkrun website and join in on the fun. Since runs are timed and results recorded, it appeals to those looking for fast competition or for those just looking for people to run with. Although parkrun originated in the UK, it has expanded worldwide, including 42 locations across Canada, spanning eight provinces. (Runners must have a bar code to participate; register here for your free bar code.)

Butchart, a 31-year-old distance runner from Stirling, made headlines with his remarkable parkrun debut. As a two-time Olympian and a finalist in the 5,000m event at the Rio 2016 Olympics, Butchart holds the current Scottish records in the 3,000m, 5,000m and 10,000m events.

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In an interview with The Times, Butchart revealed that he had never participated in a parkrun. It was a fellow runner who suggested he go for the record, considering he didn’t have any upcoming races scheduled. Initially hesitant, Butchart eventually embraced the challenge and decided to give it a shot, and his decision certainly paid off.

To keep the record attempt under wraps, Butchart only disclosed his plans to his coach a couple of days before the event. On the day of the run, he was joined by a few of his training partners and friends who provided pacing support, as parkrun courses are not marked.

Looking back on the experience, Butchart described it as a fun and enjoyable morning. As a newcomer to parkrun, he wasn’t sure what to expect, but the camaraderie and encouragement from fellow runners made it a memorable outing for him.

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