2018 Press coverage

A lot happened at the tail end of last year with the 10th anniversary of parkrun in Scotland, and I realised it wasn’t reflected here.

Interviews are both fun and terrifying. Fun, because it’s great to see things you care about getting coverage; terrifying because that filter process your words go through when a journalist reports them always feel a bit… odd.

A couple of prominent articles linked below. It’s fun seeing your name in lights, but I’m delighted there’s strong recognition of the people who were instrumental in getting parkrun off the ground in Scotland, and have helped make it a success over the years.

BBC – Runners mark 10 years of Scottish parkrun

Runners mark 10 years of Scottish parkrun – a nice wee piece, and a great photograph. Great coverage too of Liz Corbett, who took over as Event Director at Pollok, but now does so much as Scotland regional ambassador to develop parkrun here in Scotland.

I was keen to get my running club, Bellahouston Road Runners, a bit of a plug. Ideas, particularly slightly risky ones like starting a weekly 5k, take time to gestate and you need confidence you’re not entirely mad. Club runs with club colleagues where I muttered away about a “Pollok Park Time Trial”, and them not telling me it was a silly idea, were hugely helpful.

In the space I have here, I’d also add a note about Fetcheveryone – in a pre-facebook day, this was perhaps the main running UK social network, and there was lots of interest, and volunteer offers, there too.

Evening Times – Glasgow’s parkrun founder reflects on 10 years of 5K phenomenon

Making the front page of the 28th December 2018 edition of the Evening Times came as a real surprise: we’d thought, at best, it’d be a bit of filler in the newspaper, but to see club members on our ‘subway run’ feature prominently on the front page was just brilliant.

It’s a great piece too: Glasgow’s parkrun founder reflects on 10 years of 5k phenomenon

I remember talking to Catriona Stewart on the phone during a break at work at the BBC: she was brilliantly supportive of my nerves. It was an absolute delight to read her most recent article, and her recent (November 2019) twitter thread about her experiences at Glasgow’s newest (7th!) edition, the amazing Queen’s parkrun, Glasgow

Seeing parkrun events developing and reaching people 11 years later just shows what an amazing setup a free, weekly, 5k timed run anybody can take part in is brilliant. Looking forward to the next few years.

Wikipedia experiences

In November 2019, I made an attempt to start a Wikipedia page on Glasgow Life, the Glasgow City Council arms-length charity that operates the cultural, sports, library and community facilities in the city.

I did this because I had spent a fair amount of time researching some aspects of decisions relating to investments and decisions in a nearby park and leisure facility, and wanted to put some of the information I’d gathered somewhere public, in the hope it’d be useful to others.

Alas I ran headfirst into the slightly frustrating part of Wikipedia of opaque and obtuse policies, and slightly overzealous editors. My initial attempt was swiftly deleted (“Unambiguous advertising”). You can read the detail, and my technical response to it, on my Wikipedia talk page.

Whilst I know that wikipedia editors face a barrage of challenges, from defacement to advertising, and much else, I really can’t help but feel the baby was being thrown out with the bathwater here.

So I made second attempt, but that was – I felt – watered down to the point of uselessness, with a continued vague suspicion on the part of the editor who’d taken a look that I simply must work for the organisation, rather than simply be a geekily enthusiastic and motivated Glasgow resident/taxpayer about ensuring wider dissemination of the organisation, and its decision making. It’s an important quango with an annual budget of around £120m

So my ‘full’ article is available on the Draft history here, but I suspect if I don’t get the piece published (it’s still rejected), it’ll probably get deleted. So I’ve added a page on my website here with a copy of the article. It’s accessible at: https://leyton.org/glasgow-life-summary/

I tweeted about the experience as it happened, which does a good job of relaying the frustration I felt with the process. The thread is below.

NB. I realised subsequently it wasn’t actually my first wikipedia article. That was actually a 2005 article on Glasgow Fair. My wikipedia user id is rleyton, and I’d of course welcome any motivated Wikipedia editors to help give me a hand bringing a fuller Glasgow Life article together.