Name: Simon Dakin
Age Cat: 50
Number of parkruns: 220 (52 at Kingsway)
Number of Volunteers: 25
I started at Little Stoke parkrun, then Chipping Sodbury. We live very near Wotton parkrun, but run at several different events depending on how we feel and the weather. We are lucky to have so many parkruns near our home, and occasionally do some tourism further afield. I love them all.
How did you get involved in parkrun?
I started going to Little Stoke parkrun in 2013. I hadn’t heard of parkrun until then, but soon became addicted and hardly ever miss a week now. In hindsight I wish I had started earlier – when I was a bit younger and a lot faster! I was soon joined at parkrun by my wife Fiona and my twin sons, Giles and Toby. Fiona and I have been runners for a long time, having competed mostly at longer distances up to Marathon. It is wonderful to see Giles and Toby enjoy running, they need very little encouragement to come along most weeks and it is great to see them appreciate the importance of exercise in life. We have another son who is a sprinter, so rarely seen at parkrun – anything more than 400 metres is a marathon for him!
What do you like about parkrun?
It is a complete escape from the demands of the rest of the week and a great opportunity to share the joy of running with like-minded people who are happy to get out of bed on a Saturday morning and go for a run to start the weekend. Having done over 200 parkruns, becoming friends with a huge number of people at different events, I have absolutely no idea what other people do for work - nobody ever seems to talk about work. I think that says a lot about running and how it helps people balance their lives. I have the utmost respect for everyone at parkrun – everyone is amazing, part of a great sporting phenomena and everyone finishes ahead of all the people still in bed!
Favourite volunteer role?
When I started running at parkruns the event director suggested aiming to volunteer about once for every 10 runs to ensure the events would remain viable and not rely on the same volunteers every week. I have stuck to this approach and really enjoyed every one of my 21 times volunteering. I have tried most of the roles and enjoyed them all. Being Time Keeper felt like a very responsible role which I certainly focused hard on! I most enjoy being a Pacemaker and hopefully helping people achieve their target times.
Most memorable or funniest parkrun moment?
Unfortunately my most memorable parkrun was the last one held at Little Stoke. Very sad. Enough said.
Where in the world would you like to parkrun?
Round a mountain lake or parkrun through a Scandinavian pine forest – if there is one?
Which celebrity would you like to partner on a parkrun?
I would rather run with my wife, children or many of the great people who I normally see at parkrun every week!
What is your favourite post run piece of cake?
I love coffee or cherry cake, but we have a family tradition of eating chicken nuggets for lunch after every parkrun. I am convinced they are healthy protein!
What are your favourite music tracks to run to?
I never listen to music whilst running, although sometimes blast a bit of Iron Maiden in the car on my way to running events to wake myself up and get in the mood if I am planning a hard effort.
Which charity do you support?
Fiona and I have raised money for several different causes through our running events. The most memorable one was running the London Marathon in support of the neo-natal intensive care unit at Southmead Hospital in Bristol where two of our children began their lives in the outstanding care of the wonderful staff at the hospital.
Who is Your sporting hero(s)?
I seriously have huge respect for anyone who uses sport to enrich their lives and look after their health. Anyone who strives to achieve their sporting ambition or do something they thought might never be possible is a hero.
What are your running aims?
My aim is to be able to keep running for as many years as possible. I spent many years trying to improve my personal best times. With a 10K PB of 37 minutes, a Half Marathon PB of 1 hour 20 mins and a Marathon PB of 2 hours 57 mins I know I will never get new PBs for these distances. That said, I might have a serious go at my Kingsway parkrun PB (currently 19:58) before too long. Fiona and I have started long distance trail running – much slower but far longer through beautiful terrain. This is a wonderful new experience. Last year we raced over 50 Km of the (seriously tough and hilly) Cotswold Way. This summer we are doing the Jurassic Coast ultra-trail Marathon. Fiona is trying to persuade me to attempt a 100 Km non-stop trail run. I might make this this an aim, for next year? I am already aiming to get a parkrun 1000 shirt one day. I wonder what colour they will be?