Vicky Brewin: Social Media Ambassador

This story originally appeared in Issue 6 of the Runs With a Barcode magazine.

Vicky Brewin thought her sister was mad for going for a run on Christmas Day.

But that was before she discovered parkrun for herself.

These days Vicky is a social media ambassador for parkrun – she helps look after the Instagram account – and a keen parkrun tourist.

Her first taste of parkrun tourism was to Mile End parkrun in London.

“I’d gone away for the weekend and couldn’t miss going to parkrun, obviously!

“I may have picked a hotel that was near one too!!

“In 2017 I made it my New Year’s Resolution to be a tourist and do a different parkrun each week! It was mainly because I wanted my Cow Cowell [an unofficial necktube worn by parkrunners who have run at least 20 different UK parkruns].

“Being in the Midlands it was easy enough to get to many parkruns within an hour’s drive.”

Running in Tauranga

parkrun travels

Vicky worked for New Zealand company Gallagher at their UK and Europe office.

That work led to business trips in New Zealand and the opportunity to run parkruns down under.

“Then I asked if I could work here and they said yes.

“The earliest I’ve set off for a parkrun was a Thursday night! Flying back from New Zealand so I get back in time to do parkrun on the Saturday morning.

“The furthest I’ve travelled was to Zillmere in Brisbane to get my Z for the alphabet challenge.

“I was travelling to New Zealand for work from the UK and I was thinking where should I stop on the way.

“On a previous trip I had stopped in Singapore to get my East at East Coast parkrun but I knew a Z was a bit harder to find than the compass.

“I discovered Zillmere in Brisbane so off I went. I landed at 6am on the Friday and headed off on the train to Zillmere – which is nowhere near the centre of Brisbane and was very much a suburb of the city.

“I did a recce of the place on the Friday just to make sure I knew where I had to go from the hotel.

“I never get much sleep before tourism because of the worry I have of not waking up at the right time (especially when they start earlier than at home!).

“I jogged over to the start and got a quick pic with the Zillmere street sign and was sweating in the humidity before I even got there!

There was a small group of runners and the mosquitoes loved the British blood! Afterwards I jogged back to the hotel and it started to rain but I jumped in the pool to cool off!

“Perfect end to some tourism.”


Vicky says a highlight of parkrun is meeting “great people”.

“I also love the fact that parkrun takes you to places you would never normally go.

“I was at Glastonbury Festival and a new parkrun had set up nearby (Shepton Mallet). There was a Glasto running Facebook page and so I put a message out to say I was going to be at the taxi rank at 8am and if anyone wanted to share a taxi meet me there.

At Glastonbury

“I hardly slept that night hoping I wouldn’t sleep through my alarm (that’s happened a lot on parkrun tourism).

“I didn’t quite realise how long the walk to the taxi rank would be! I met two guys there and off we went!

“A couple had run over too. It felt like breaking out of prison – was such a weird feeling.

“The parkrun team there were awesome and had a Glasto theme dressed as hippies! One of the guys I met up with had forgotten his running shoes but wanted to do it anyway so did in his boots.”

One of the local parkrunners got chatting to us and offered to take us back to the festival. It was such an awesome morning.”

Top 3

She says that visiting London the parkruns there can make you feel like you’re in the countryside.

“I’ve done 86 different parkruns and I’m trying to remember which I liked the best ha!

“They all have different things such as the people there, the people you go with, the event they may have on, the course and the café.

“Bushy parkrun – because it’s a challenge obviously! But also because it’s the place it was born, it’s a beautiful park with deer and a lovely cafe plus it’s incredible to see so many people and how the core team deal with it.

“In New Zealand it is East End as it’s a great course which goes over a cool bridge with a fantastic view of Mount Taranaki.

“Plus the obligatory post parkrun plunge!

“The third is difficult, maybe Queen Elizabeth parkrun in England. It’s muddy, it’s hilly and it’s a Q! Need I say more?”

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