I may only be on my second post, but I could not go any further without a quick love letter to parkrun.
I feel I might be preaching to the converted here, but I am a big fan of parkrun for its inclusivity, atmosphere, positivity…and all the options it offers.
parkrun is flexible and it’s totally personal – you can go whenever you want, wherever you want and take it as seriously as you want.
Once I realised that meeting friends and/or having a cup of tea afterwards was as important as the run, it all clicked.
When I first went along, I never thought I would get to 100, and was delighted when I passed that landmark last year.
With the 250 milestone a long way off now, I have been enjoying finding some other things to aim at for 2017.
- 25 volunteering shifts – I don’t quite know why, but I never got round to ordering the 50 or 100 parkrun t-shirts. I thought I would order them as soon as I could, but then I didn’t and now it seems too late. But the 25 purple volunteer t-shirt is one that I definitely do want.
Volunteering at parkrun is always a pleasure and makes you feel so much more a part of the community. And it’s not just for the injured or those with an event on the Sunday. I am currently on 15 but hope to get to 25 by the end of the year. The future is purple.
- 100 parkruns at my local run – I am currently on 96 runs for Cardiff Blackweir (@cardiffparkrun) and am looking forward to reaching the century.
I might even have got there already if I hadn’t forgotten my barcode a couple of times. Or, on a couple of occasions, I had not wanted to record my time in case it messed up my average (this was in the very, very early days when I took it far too seriously).
- 20 different locations – parkrun tourism is another of the great things about parkrun. I am currently on 15 locations and I love getting to different events to see what their course is like, meeting the organisers and volunteers, and trying a different café.
There is a little group of four of us who have a whatsapp group where we plan our next adventures to explore, or if I am away somewhere new, I am always working out if I can fit in a parkrun to start the day.
Barry Island, Conwy, Guildford, Cheltenham, Reigate and Aberystwyth are a few of the ones I have got to so far, and I look forward to getting to lots more in the future.
- I hesitate to put this on here, but my final secret ambition is to get back under 20 minutes again.
I really don’t think times are very important any more, but I used to be able to do it…and maybe I could again? It has been a good few years since I had a proper go at this, and I know it’s a tall order and will take quite a bit of training.
Admittedly, running with a buggy for probably around 50 or 60 runs has not helped in the speed stakes, so it all depends on how much time I get.
Whether I reach these targets or not, I can’t thank the parkrun teams around the country enough – from everyone at head office to each volunteer who makes this amazing movement possible.
It has to be the most accessible community out there for runners, and it’s there week after week after week…for free.
I am sure to mention parkrun again in this blog soon, and I am looking forward to getting more familiar with junior parkrun once my boy reaches four next year.
Let me know what you think, and any great parkruns I should be aiming to visit!