parkrun, not just a run around a park.

So again, it’s been somewhat of a long time since my last post and there’s a common theme occurring in that I usually post when something “happens”

Aside from the fact today that I actually finished 1st at parkrun (my first ever 1st place) and knocking 13 seconds off my PB this is about something different.

So what does parkrun mean, actually what is parkrun?  I’m guessing that if you stood in Middlesbrough town centre or any town centre for that matter and asked that question the majority would just shrug their shoulders.  If only they knew what they were missing out on.  I’ll admit that in November 2013 I had no idea too and through word of mouth here I am.

How would you sum up parkrun, what would you say are your favourite bits; the community?  The common drive? The continued support?  To me it’s everything, all of the above and so much more.  Today summed it up massively for me, a very very regular volunteer and massive parkrun supporter ran her first parkrun today in the Category VW 70-74 whilst working alongside the army of volunteers organising a charity raffle. Now if that doesn’t epitomise all of the above I’ve no idea what does!

Through parkrun we’ve met people who we previously would have walked past without an inkling that we shared common interests.  I’ve met some fantastic people through parkrun and made some fantastic friends, from the smallest of juniors to the oldest of elders and those in between too. I’ve also met my best friend, who is practically a female version of me! You know who you are!

Strangely for me, one of the most important things I look out for at parkrun is the “first timers” talk, to see how many newbies we have, some may be from other parkruns but in the main the majority are those joining the community and to see that is fantastic.

There was a lovely extract this week in the parkrun newsletter which could have been wrote just for me.

“It’s given me self-respect where there was once desperation; it’s given me my family where once there was spirit-crushing desolation; it’s given me faith in the human race when each club session, each race, each parkrun shows the very best of the human spirit: the desire to achieve and to realise your potential. Above all, it’s given me life.”

And from me, my little words.

“Exercise may change your body, but running will change your life”





Today something happened

Well it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, mainly due to life just being life and going along at it’s usual pace… However today something happened, it was a feeling of being proud mixed in with one of being deflated.

As some of you know, or most of you won’t I’ve not been running for a very long time, only since December 2013 but the progress I’ve been happy with, I’m now a sub 20 minute park runner, with my 5k PB at just over 19 mins 30.  I try to get out to run as my as I can, sometimes this happens and other times it doesn’t!

Now today, 5th July was my home Stewart Parkrun 2nd Birthday and what an occasion that was! Lovely people, lovely crowd, lovely cake! However something happened today that made me feel both proud and deflated. 

You see there’s a little girl in the JW10 category who has been bombing along recently and getting closer and closer to the age category record for the parkrun, she only just missed out last week in recording 22.35 at the age of 7! This week I was asked if I could possibly pace her in the hope we could shave the 11 seconds off that it would take to take it, especially as she turns 8 next week and this means a big leap in time!   She’s not a runner who is pushed to do anything and loves running in fact she looks so at ease running at that pace.  No pushy parents, just a genuine young girl who wants to better herself and succeed. 

To cut a long story short, we missed out, coming home in 22.41.  The disappointment on the girls face was evident, I was gutted too, very gutted, I felt I had in some way let her down; but then it struck me, she’s 7! 7 years old and she ran 5k in 22.41! WHAT! I’ve since been told that she looks up to me as a runner.  That made me incredibly proud! I must be doing something right and yet all I do is run and offer advice from what I’ve learnt in my time back running.  For someone to want to take this on board it feels fantastic!

So all in all one day, so much contrast!

She will get there and she will smash the record, I know she will.

Does a tortoise really run?

Picture the scene; It was back in the olden days (December 2013) when I first heard of Parkrun through a work colleague of mine! Now I wasn’t shy of experience of running, in-fact I used to run everywhere in my younger years but them pesky things such as football and golf took over!

So the sound of Parkrun did sound inviting and my local event was Stewart Parkrun.  Having bounded to my local sport shop a few days before to grab the essentials I was all set for what was to face me! That day seems now like a distant memory, it was overcast and a bit breezy and I trotted up to the “new starters” group to be welcomed and briefed by a helpful volunteer.   Having puffed and panted my way round in a 24 minute time, and boy I couldn’t walk the next day! (I suppose that was expected).

What I didn’t expect was that 6 months later I would have just completed my first half marathon, in a time I was quite happy with too; 1hr 35 for those who are interested!  What I also didn’t expect and realise was the existence of such an amazing sense of community that exists right from through the heart and soul of runners; in-fact from the tips of the meta-tarsals to the tips of the meta-carpals! So many helpful people, so much encouragement and so much support.  I owe a lot to what’s happened in the last 6 months down to the belief I’ve found from running and the people I’ve met, spoken to, tweeted back.

Where does a tortoise go from here?  That way!!