The Button family

Saturday mornings used to mean a little bit of a lie-in for the Button family from Mile End. But no
more, thanks to the challenge of the 5 kilometre Mile End parkrun which has just celebrated its third
anniversary.
Over the past three years Matthew (40) and Helen Button (38), accompanied by their children Emma
(16), Chris (15), Lucy and Sophie (both 12), have regularly competed against each other over two
laps of challenging running in Mile End Park; and have loved every single stride. They have gone on
to participate in other running events up and down the country.
Mile End parkrun is a free-to-enter event which regularly attracts more than 120 runners every
Saturday morning – come rain or shine. It starts on the dot at nine o’clock from outside Mile End
Stadium with the course marshalled by volunteers. The event, known for curing hangovers and
getting the weekend off to a flying start, goes from strength to strength. Since inception, it has
attracted over 3,000 runners who between them have completed 14,500 runs.
The Buttons have collectively competed at Mile End on almost 700 occasions and all six members of
the family have run the course at least 100 times.
Helen, a teaching assistant at special needs school Beatrice Tate in Mile End, says “Matthew was the
trigger for the event becoming part of the family’s weekend ritual, originally signing us all up in
March 2012. Matthew and the four children did their first run on the next Saturday morning and I
joined them the following week. Ever since then we’ve all been hooked.”
Helen, encouraged by the friendly support of fellow runners and volunteers at the Mile End event,
has gone on to complete a half marathon and joined a local running club, WomensRunning@E14.
Matthew, a technician at a local secondary school, has finished a gruelling 100k ‘ultra-marathon’ and
puts it down to running regularly around Mile End Park. He says: “My 5k times have dramatically
improved, from 30 minutes to now down below 22 minutes.”
Emma, Chris, Sophie and Lucy all love competing in parkrun. Emma says: “It’s great to run with and
get to know other people. I now also meet some of them for a run on a Monday evening.” Chris
added ”I run every week to keep fit and occasionally help out as a volunteer marshal.” Sophie, who
also regularly competes in cross country and athletics events, commented “I love checking the
parkrun results online on a Saturday afternoon, especially when I come top of my age group.” Lucy
adds “It’s a great feeling when other runners encourage me to keep going. Everyone is so
welcoming.”