Profile #8 – The Smiths

Thanks to Maggie, Andy, Katie and Oliver for this week's profile :)


parkrun vital statistics
Number of parkruns: 112 by Maggie, 60 by Andy, 45 by Oliver, 10 by Katie (227 total)
Number of different parkrun events visited: 2 - Billericay and Bushy
Number of volunteer stints: 98 by Katie, 42 by Maggie, 37 by Oliver, 28 by Andy (205 total)

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How did you find out about the event and start coming along as a family?
Andy: Maggie and I had been trying on and off to start running but somehow hadn’t found the time or motivation to make it work. I read on social media that Billericay was starting up a parkrun, so mentioned it to Maggie and we turned up to event 2. After that, we were hooked. (Maggie more than me to start with!) We have only ventured to one other parkrun – and that was to Bushy with the Billericay parkrun visit!

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parkrun isn’t a race, but who is first out of the door on a Saturday morning and who is last?
Andy: Maggie is always up first, especially if Run Director as she will be double checking everything or making any last minute changes. Katie is an unknown factor … if she is volunteer coordinator then will be up and ready, if it’s cold and rainy then it’s more of a challenge! There will be no sign of Oliver until the last minute when he miraculously turns up ready so somehow I tend to end up last!

What are your favourite volunteer roles and why?
Katie: There are so many roles to choose from! Volunteer coordinator, timekeeping and barcode scanning are probably my top three favourite roles. This is because I feel that these three roles allow the most social interaction and one of my favourite things about parkrun is talking to people.

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Maggie: When I started parkrun back in 2017, I struggled to get round, I must have stopped about 8 times the first time. I felt really unfit and it became a milestone in my head to get under 30 mins. When I finally did, I was so happy that day my daughter thought I was drinking! (Andy: She probably was!) So now I like to pace 30 mins to help others break that barrier so they can be as happy as I was that day! I should point out it still took me many months before I could run the whole course without stopping!

Oliver: I started pacing when I saw how much my mum liked it (and coincidentally I got a smartwatch for my birthday). I like it when I have a crowd running with me. Almost enjoyable. Just to point out that any discrepancy in my running pace is due to the course length and not me!

I also help my dad sometimes with finish tokens and I've been official photographer.

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Andy: A bit tricky when you are competing with the rest of your family for roles … I enjoy finish tokens as you get to congratulate people when they are finishing, I try to do this role whenever Maggie is Run Director.

I have also recently been doing pacer coordinator and it's great to chat with all our fantastic pacers.

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Katie – you are a familiar face to many - what have you gained from all your volunteering at the event?
I started volunteering at parkrun for my silver DofE back in January 2018. I found I enjoyed it more than I was expecting to and part of the reason for that was I realised that parkrun was helping me so much to build up my self-esteem and confidence. So when I finished my six months of volunteering for DofE, there was never any doubt that I would continue volunteering. parkrun has really made me appreciate people’s challenges and how it is helping them overcome them.

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Has parkrun encouraged you to take on any other running challenges?
Maggie: Billericay 10K in 2018. I never thought I would be able to run that far, David Hayday was really supportive and we went running a few times beforehand to build up my confidence.

Oliver: After mum ran Billericay 10K, I agreed to run with her on holiday (once). We signed up for the Lucerne 10K, and it was better than I thought it was going to be. It was part of the Marathon set of activities so we got to run the best parts of the route (through football stadium, red carpet etc) without the pain of training for a marathon (or indeed any training on my part). I ran with my mum for about one minute and then I was off!

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Andy: 2020 was the year I was going to master 10K. I signed up for four. All have been cancelled or postponed!

What do you do outside of parkrun stuff ?
Maggie: I’ve been collecting Lego Creator pieces for a number of years. I can spend hours on Killer Sudoku or Candy Crush!

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Andy: I love watching and playing sport (so finding it hard at the moment!) We have season tickets at West Ham, I have to bribe Oliver with some chips to come with me! I have been doing yoga for 6 years and enjoy playing tennis. I have recently started Lego Technic as I couldn’t let Maggie have all the fun!

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Katie: Nothing to do with Lego! I am interested in History (it is one of my A-levels). When we went to Japan, it coincided with the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. We went to the ceremony held in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park which the prime minister, survivors and relatives attended. There was a release of doves which symbolised peace. In the evening, paper lanterns were lit and placed on the river.

I also enjoy binge watching Netflix and Disney+!

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Oliver: Rugby – I play for Billericay Bees. I like playing computer simulation games.

What are your most memorable moments from parkrun?
Oliver: Top of the list is Christmas Day, although this is not a great memory! I had injured my foot playing basketball a few weeks before and was unable to do any sport so I signed up to do timekeeping. It was really cold, my foot was freezing and wet due to a hole in my trainer (not sure how that got there). I managed to survive until the first set of runners were coming through and then I passed out, face down in the mud…. My mum took me off the volunteer roster for abandoning my post and my sister mocked me for the rest of the day! Thankfully there are no photos.

Andy: Best part of parkrun for me is the social interaction. I have also had opportunities to do roles that I wouldn’t otherwise have had such as walking with Richard as a VI guide. I enjoyed our trip to Bushy although the weather could have been better! But my favourite memory is the day I managed to run at 25 minutes which Maggie has been doing her best to match ever since!

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Katie: Warm sunny days, family days and birthdays are all great memories. I have to admit my funniest memory is Christmas Day when Oliver fell down in the mud. Obviously as the caring sister I am, I sat my poor brother down on a bench and checked he was okay before almost falling over laughing.

Maggie: I love all the special events. One that stands out for me was in March last year when Billericay parkrun joined forces with volunteers from the local community and charity DKMS to raise awareness and build up the stem cell donor register. It was an amazing event and saw our largest attendance.

On a more personal level, achieving my 100 milestone at the same time Andy achieved his 50 milestone was a memorable day. We owe a lot to parkrun for getting us both running and feeling fitter.

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What are you most looking forward to when we get back?
Katie: I am on 98 volunteering stints so I am looking forward to getting to 100! I can't wait to see everyone again.

Andy: Meeting everyone again and talking to people other than my family!

Maggie: Seeing everyone and running in a group again! And maybe matching Andy’s PB!

Oliver: Lapping my family and retiring to the café with a slice of fruit cake. Shame no WIFI!

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Thanks very much Maggie, Andy, Katie and Oliver :) If you'd like to read more, here are the other profiles from this series so far:

dh linda and james parkrun3
alexa 94351089_1559908744180199_2806183506374295552_o 1F7F57D0-EBA9-42A4-B738-A7813057F3B9
shane and judith

If there's someone you'd like to nominate for us to profile, drop us an email at billericay@parkrun.com

Until next time!


The Billericay core team are:

David Hayday : Rachel Varnam : Samuel Hill : Dave Sweet : Maggie Topliss : Alexa Joel

Please check our Volunteer Roster to see if you are able to help out at anytime, there are plenty of roles available to do and all are rewarding and great fun. If you want to volunteer, email us at billericay@parkrun.com

As well as checking on this site regularly for the latest information and updates, don't forget you can also find us on Facebook.

Have you got a question? Try the FAQs section on our website. If you are still stumped send a lovely email to billericay@parkrun.com and we will do our best to help.

Why not trade up your paper barcode to some of those snazzy plastic barcodes and wristbands? You can get them at the parkrun barcode website and never worry about soggy paper ones again! ICE details can also be printed on them as well.

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If you would like to donate to this parkrun you can find out more HERE