A few years ago, I would have been horrified to have been invited to a Parkrun birthday party instead of a bottomless brunch. Yet, as we approach 30, many of my friends are forgoing drunken celebrations in favor of active choices.
Don’t get me wrong, we still enjoy catching up on a bottle of Gabi, but something has definitely changed. or planning a trip.
But Parkrun is arguably the most popular setting when it comes to bringing groups of people together. Many find Parkrun to be a positive, welcoming and inclusive experience with no time limits and no one to finish at the end. It is therefore the ideal setting for a fun-filled weekend in the company of friends.
Free 2k and 5k events across the country every weekend have become something of a national institution. PB on Instagram.
But that all changed when my friend Emily celebrated her 29th birthday with a Parkrun in York.
“I love going out and drinking, but I thought it would be fun to do something different this year,” says Emily. “We went out for brunch and drinks after that, which was lovely, but I came home in the evening and was able to get a good night’s sleep and enjoy my Sunday without a hangover.”
Inspiration came from seeing a group of young people running together in party hats and sashes. She’s even seen hen parties and brides and grooms attending fancy dress the morning of her wedding.
Parkrun Party: Is it the future of sober socializing?
Choosing not to drink alcohol, 24-year-old Sara Seppänen loves organizing lively celebrations and gatherings with friends, mostly hiking trips.
she tells stylist: “Sometimes we finish with a nice Sunday roast. This February was my flatmate’s 24th birthday, so I booked tickets to hike Hastings.
Seppänen also curated a friend’s 21st quiz treasure hunt at the Crystal Palace. The first few questions started on the train and were related to TfL. Other questions were about sports and other things we saw around the park during our walks.
Growing up in Sweden, outdoor activities and games have been part of her social interactions for as long as she can remember. “I’d rather sweat and get my endorphins flowing than sit down and have a drink,” she continues.
“You learn a lot about your friends and acquaintances by exposing them to something different. I think it’s a great way to connect and celebrate being active.”
Mindful drinking and exercise are growing in popularity
It may be more popular among Gen Z, but it’s starting to make its way into millennials as well. There are many women in their 30s who are careful about their drinking.
My friend Emily also says: Especially now that I’m in her late 20s and have a high pressure job. Weekends are invaluable, and it pisses me off every time I waste sleep until noon or drool in front of the TV and feel hungover and unable to do anything else. Oh, who has the time or energy to deal with the ‘beer phobia’ from the night before?”
After all, there are few things worse than waking up with a throbbing headache and having to go back through the night and social media apps to make sure you remember everything.
Chance to reunite with old friends properly
Attending a Parkrun celebration was a wonderfully energetic way to blow away the cobwebs, reconnect with friends we haven’t seen in a while, and start the weekend feeling refreshed. It was also great that no one was forced to drink, didn’t want another drink, or called staying out late boring.
Of course, not everyone likes running or wants to do something active. Seppänen admits that she is “very lucky to have friends who accept[her]drinking”.
“It’s great that we can find common ground and enjoyment even when we have different ideas about alcohol. It’s no different than celebrating.”
And ultimately, if it’s your fault, you’re the one who has the final say on which activities and snacks your group will participate in.
5 Tips for Hosting an Active Birthday Party
These are the key takeaways from my Parkrun birthday bash experience.
- Select activity you fun. After all, it’s your day!
- dress upeven if you’re wearing a birthday hat or carrying two balloons.
- Think about your timing. Running first thing in the morning will energize you and give you plenty of time for your post-race brunch. If you plan on going over 5k, think about how tired the party will be and how long you plan to stay in the celebration. If you choose to hike, consider when the hottest part of the day will be and plan your action for snacks, shade and rest.
- Leave the competition at home. Don’t let anyone feel excluded because your group should have different abilities and may have chosen an activity no one has tried
- We will hold a debriefing session. Discuss how the activity went, whether it was a pub, a cafe, or a picnic in the park.