The joy of parkrunning… Saturday was a special morning…. A lot of Saturday mornings feel special at Arrow Valley parkrun due to the dedication of the core team and volunteers, and the community feel of people and dogs, young and old, coming together to enjoy a beautiful space and to walk, jog, run, volunteer, spectate or join in in their own way, the brilliance that is parkrun at 9am - to kick-start the weekend.
Each week there are experiences shared, goals met and stories to be told. This week belonged to Lizzie Tovey and her support crew; Lizzie, who has been parkrunning and volunteering since last year and I don’t think she’d mind me saying is already an enthusiast/addict like myself.
Lizzie is extraordinary, and a force to be reckoned with and here are some of her own words (from this year’s London marathon fundraising page with which she raised enough to sponsor a guide dog puppy, the beautiful Eira): ‘it’s scary having to put your faith in another person or animal in order to guide you on your way – I should know because I’m sight impaired, having limited central vision in my left eye and hardly any vision at all in my right eye. But it’s amazing what you can achieve when you set your mind to it’. Lizzie decided that this was the day for her to try running untethered. She has previously run with a tether connecting her to a guide runner, which is how she did the London marathon too, attached to Corin Elliott (86 parkruns , 76 of which were at Arrow Valley), who was also a big part of today, in fact I think he suggested it. Without the tether the run is a lot scarier for Lizzie, but this doesn’t deter Lizzie Tovey, even the morning after a Christmas night out with friends as she has determination in bucket loads!
When she approached the finish today, on her 37th parkrun, in a time of 34:07 she was in a sea of red, created by her crew who surrounded her and kept her safe; the bulk of which were from Run Alcester, a club headed up by Corin, who was described as brilliant on Saturday morning, in keeping talking the whole way round and amongst others who acted as buffers in a Kipchoge style formation (if you don’t know who Kipchoge is look him up) they helped Lizzie to cross that line. Many of the parkrun family watched that moment and the disbelief and emotion that Lizzie evidently felt choked us all, including her husband who was also part of her crew. She will be known as Lizchoge to me now!
One incredible story out of 357 runners and 36 volunteers, who I would like to personally thank for running with me on Saturday. I was so pleased to be able to be running following some Winter bug or other and so amazed at what Lizzie was achieving that I think I smiled the whole way round this week! The weather was right for running (although the wind was a tad bitter), the atmosphere was something else, and even dogs running near me looked playful and happy. Thank-you parkrun for all you give to so many – it improves both physical and mental health and changes lives – FACT!