parkrunner profile – Bruce Li

Many of you know Bruce, one of our regular photographers - and we all love his witty videos - but the camera isn’t surgically attached to his hands! So he’s taken a break to tell you his parkrun story...

Bruce Li

Bruce Li (photo by Louise)

“I’d been a runner for the best part of nine years before I really got to know about parkrun back in November 2013. (I’d been aware of it for a few years but always thought it was just a run in a park, not an organised event - if I’d only Googled "parkrun", I would have known earlier).

I took the plunge at Black Park parkrun and it was a wonderful feeling turning out week in and week out as I know many of you do. I always show my gratitude to the hardened volunteers around the course who turn up in all weather, come rain, snow or wind, by waving, smiling and saying good morning. It’s those little things that make the volunteers happy - try it!

Then I found Northala Fields parkrun just when I was wondering if there would be anything close to me. It’s a wonderful setting with the four hills and the open spaces - pancake flat most of the way but enough variety to make it worth waking up for! The café is a hidden gem I recommend.

Everyone has their own reason to run, but for me personally, the sub-20 beckoned. No-one said it would be easy, but I finally achieved it for the first time last November. Running with your peers gives you that extra incentive.

Then injury and illness struck, and just when I thought I couldn't have my weekly "fix" of parkrun, I decided to focus on my other interest by volunteering as a film-maker. I was already making videos of friends’ weddings, so I contacted Run Director Jane Ruhland and she was intrigued as to what I would produce!

Life is hectic nowadays so I like to make films which are short, cheesy and arty. The main challenge for me - apart from having a full battery - is getting the right settings and the shots I need as there’s no second chance. You’ll notice I’m never in one spot for too long and film from different angles. Most importantly, I need subjects like you who are willing to smile even after a 5km! Miss the moment and I’m left with the ducks again and that "NO SWIMMING!" sign next to the pond!

The morning of our parkrun anniversary geared up to be an exciting one with the presentation for 1st Female Laura Stone and 1st Male Mark Kencroft in the annual points table - I even managed to grab a shot of Laura, who is camera shy whenever she sees me!

I also managed to get Event Director Fiona Kennedy to don her shorts to pace the sub-15 minute runners, but she did let the occasion get to her - as you can see in the video, she jumped the gun by two seconds! Three minutes later I saw her whizzing down past the 1km checkpoint near the regular cheer-leader point and soon after, it was good to see everyone quickly setting up their smile faces when they saw me!

Next stop for me was to run down for another vantage point near Rectory Park at the 1.6km and 3.5km positions. Just when I saw first male finisher Alex Ozdemir (16:51mins) and Sasha Birkin (19:40mins) at the 3.5km mark I realised Fiona had already run past so I quickly hailed a taxi to catch a shot of her at 4km. Running like Forest Gump she finished one second inside her pace time (14:59). Not bad for our own Event Director! However, she made the same mistake as some of you... ”No Barcode - No Time!”

However, my highlight of the morning was seeing Run Director Martin Wilson. He ran strongly coming out of Rectory Park and then did a sprint finish. The look on his face when he was overtaken in the last 10 metres was heart-breaking! I showed it in it full glory in the film.

I won't lie that processing the photos and editing the films is hard work. I do it multi-tasking in front of the TV, but you do get moments where you are in a creative rut, so thanks to those of you who encouraged me on Facebook this week! You can see my latest release here!

How did Northala Fields parkrun come about? Well it all started with Fiona and Santosh Rai, so personally, I want to thank them and everyone else who made it happen. Remember, if you haven't volunteered before, it really isn't hard! Plus you get to put names to the regular faces you see around you, so don't be shy and say hello to someone you don't know. Two of you introduced yourselves to me on Saturday - you know who you are - to say you love the videos and photos and really look forward to them. I am glad I am able to give back something to parkrun as I think it’s a wonderful thing.

Happy 1st birthday Northala Fields parkrun. You know the drill....!! Smile, wave and star-jump!!!”