What an amazing event this morning's parkrun was. The weather was chilly, but it was dry and bright, which made for perfect running and volunteering conditions. A fantastic 356 people took part in the event - 19 first-timers, a whopping 34 new PB's and some great milestones too – just brilliant!
Many participants and volunteers sported superb festive costumes, totally embracing the Christmas spirit. There was also a festive food table with lots of goodies and an all-round feeling of festive good cheer. Here's a few of the fab costumes we spotted.
Mark and I offered to write this run report because we wanted to share with you what a difference volunteering and running at Arrow Valley parkrun has made to our lives.
This time last year we didn't even know parkrun existed! We thought PB stood for pigs in blankets and had no idea that just down the road from us was this wonderful free event called parkrun. An event where amazing people venture out in wind, rain, snow, sleet and shine to volunteer so that parkrun can happen. An event where anyone can run or walk around a 5k route in safety and even better get a time at the end of it (provided you've got your barcode that is). It's a totally inclusive event where many of the volunteers are also the runners and it's just amazing that it's right here on our doorstep – who knew.
If you'd known us a year ago we were very different people. We were couch potatoes, neither of us had run in years. If I'm being completely honest I was suffering with my mental health and well-being and Mark wasn't in great shape either. What a difference a few short months can make. I ran my first parkrun on the 28 April 2018 and, for those who don't know, I'm visually impaired so always run with a guide. You can read about my first parkrun here if you want to. Mark ran his first parkrun on the 14 July 2018 and he ran it with me because my guide runner was injured.
Arrow Valley parkrun has been a regular feature in our lives ever since and we've met so many amazing and inspirational people because of it. What's struck us about the running community is how inclusive and supportive it is. Everyone just wants to help and support each other – which is amazing. Over the last few months people have come to know us, shouting out hello's whether we are running or volunteering, we both run regularly in the week too now and we both feel so much better for it.
Since starting at parkrun, many people have also stepped in to support me because of my visual impairment. There's always someone who'll make sure I'm safe with a supporter if Mark runs and I don't. Another thing that's totally blown me away are the people who run with me as my guide. They give so much and I honestly don't think they realise what a huge difference it makes to my life as without them I wouldn't be able to run at all - it's just amazing.
It's also lovely catching up with our new running family afterwards for a cuppa too. Our Saturday mornings are not the same if we can't make it and we just wanted to say thank you! Especially to the core team and to everyone who has helped us, made us feel so very welcome and made us part of the parkrun family.
Merry Christmas to you all and a very happy and healthy New Year too.
As well as Mark and myself, the volunteers were: Liz ADEY, Rashida BASHIR, Christopher BIRD, Raymond BOYLE, Neil BROWN, Clare CARMEN, Beth DRISSELL, Sally EVANS, Norma FOX, Wendy GARDNER, Dylan GOULD, Melba JONES, Adam KNOWLES, Gary MANDERS, Pamela MORETON, Willow MUGGLESTONE, Katie MULHALL, Hannah PRZYBYLAK, Stephen REA, Robert SARGENT, Nick SECKER, Abigail SWARBRICK, Simon TAYLOR, Andy TERRY, Philip THOMAS, Katie THORLEY, Leigh WALTON, Ian WIDDOWS, Paula WIDDOWS, Ricky YOUNG – THANK YOU!