Why did I start going to parkrun?
I was in my late fifties and felt that I needed to get some proper exercise if I was to avoid putting on excess weight. Additionally, my wife, Cathy, had been doing parkrun for a couple of years by then and I was beginning to get a little curious about what she was getting up to, sloping off at “silly o’clock” on a Saturday morning (aka my lie-in time) clad in tightly clinging lycra!
My first ever parkrun in October 2015 was in Huddersfield, where my daughter was living. My first time at Tring (which has now become my “home parkrun”) was on New Year’s Day 2016 when my time was 39:16.
“parkrun is not just about the running”
Well, to be honest, parkrun for me is a lot about the running. It has helped me (re-)discover that I can run more than a couple of hundred meters without getting “puffed out”. I have also discovered the “wellbeing benefits” of being active in the natural surroundings of parks, rural and urban.
But, of course, it is also about community, because parkrun is where you get to meet other like-minded people sharing the same sense of enjoyment and self-achievement; and where encouragement is given and received in recognition of the personal milestones which we set for ourselves along the way.
Crucially, parkrun is more than just a club for hobbyists. It is an inclusive community that draws people together from different backgrounds and abilities. Some people who attend, seldom run but prefer to volunteer with event management, just because they enjoy the community atmosphere and the opportunity to meet people.