Thanks to Paul for concluding our set of 40 profiles meeting some familiar faces from our event! Hope you have enjoyed them!
parkrun vital statistics
Number of runs: 132
Number of different events visited: 4 - Billericay, Chelmsford, Basildon and Mile End
Number of volunteering stints: 14
When and where did your parkrun journey begin and what were your first impressions?
I had heard about parkrun and checked out the local one at the time - Chelmsford. I signed up and then took ages before getting around to doing my first parkrun – on the 22 Aug 2015 in a time of 35:50. The reason it took me so long to go to an event was the concerns that many a first timer has: would I be at the back, what would happen if I had to walk, do I need to be able to run to take part? But a holiday away with my cousin Amanda and her husband and fellow parkrunner Danny Piggott and their lovely son Oscar convinced me to give it a go, as we did a few runs along the beaches of Guernsey and they convinced me that the parkrun community are a friendly lot!
They were right and of course, you are never last! (Not that that really matters as it is a run not a race.) I was impressed by the organisation of Chelmsford - There were 415 people there and it was so welcoming. The First Timers briefing was nice and clear and I soon found a pace I was happy with.
How did you hear about Billericay parkrun and how was it different to what you were used to and how was it the same?
I had been going to Chelmsford on a regular basis and then heard through the grapevine that parkrun was coming to Billericay. It might have even been announced at Chelmsford. As Billericay parkrun is within walking distance for me, I decided to make it my parkrun home!
To begin with it was smaller than I was used to, but that was a nice change as Chelmsford had got really busy. Doing several laps was also a new experience and learning how to overtake and keep to the left! And of course there was the killer hill that you had to do three times!! Chelmsford only had one killer hill so that was new. As the event was smaller and local I also knew more people so it gave the impression of being more friendly.
What are your favourite memories from the event?
It’s really hard to pinpoint favourite memories, but a few do stick out. Running in the snow for the first time was just great and I think that was the moment I realised that I had the parkrun bug.
Completing my 100 was great and I think it was close to Billericay’s 100 as well if not at the same time. That was great and wearing the 100 bib was a proud moment.
Helping out and volunteering is always magical, and I once decided to jog on the spot during the whole parkrun as it was bitterly cold – I managed about 4 km at that time.
I think the highlight has to be when I saw the photographer out and about and was running with my daughter Bethan. Those who know me will know that I do love a photo, so decided to do the Mo Bot. Bethan’s reaction was priceless!! Sadly I can’t find the photo!
Here it is!
When you've volunteered at parkrun, what have you noticed that others might not realise?
No matter what level of fitness or age, the faces of the runners really do light up when they hear you clap them on, offer levels of encouragement or give them a high five!
What memories do you have from the other parkruns you've visited?
Mile End is lovely, and takes me back to my University days – which seems like yesterday but was in fact over 23 years ago! I had a geography teachers meeting on a Saturday in London so decided to get in a parkrun beforehand. The trains were delayed so I ended up starting after everyone else and had to catch everyone up. Another friendly parkrun, and even a spot to grab a shower and a cup of tea afterwards.
What do you do outside of parkrun stuff?
I am a geography teacher at a local secondary school and do love my subject. We visited Swanage Bay one year and took a boat trip to see Old Harry, a stack of rock caused by coastal erosion – I’m pointing it out in the photo below. Apparently asking one of my girls to take the photo was “such an embarrassment!” I really can’t think why?
I decided to give my two daughters a little geography talk about the coastal erosion, they were very embarrassed but the people around us were fascinated and started asking me questions.
I love learning so much that I completed my doctorate in Education in January of this year at Canterbury Christ Church - 6 years after starting it. When Eleanor my daughter was asked what I had done my dissertation of 68,000 words on, she replied that “it’s about images in a geography textbook”. Thanks darling!
I have far too many hobbies to mention here, but I do love getting the paints out and doing some watercolour or oil landscapes. I love watching Bob Ross on TV and then trying to recreate a scene. Here’s a little Christmas scene to get us in the Christmas mood.
As a school coordinator for the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, you've seen lots of young people complete their volunteering challenge with parkrun. Why do you think parkrun lends itself so well to involving local young people in our events?
I have been involved with DofE for years and since 2012 have coordinating our school DofE unit. I think the young people that take part in the DofE find the volunteering section really difficult to complete, particularly if they want to help on a regular basis but also learn new skills along the way. That is way parkrun is so good. Students can help out once a week, and build up confidence learning new skills and put something back into the community. It really helps to build a sense of community in our young people and I know from experience that many will continue to volunteer after their DofE time has been completed.
How have you been keeping active since March and have you completed any/many (not)parkruns?
Sadly I have found it really difficult to keep running this year. I love parkrun, the sense of community and the fact that it is on at the same time, and I find this motivates me to get out the house and run. With parkruns not happening running has not been as regular. I have done a few 5kms and am now trying to get ready for the 10Km Cancer Research Winter run on the 7th Feb – so if you see me out that day running give me a wave!
What are you most looking forward to when we come back?
Just running with others and sharing the smiles, pain of going up that hill and the beep of the scanners and you get that time.
As we approach the end of our series of Billericay parkrun profiles, what have you learnt about our local parkrun community?
Having read the profiles I think the themes that come through loud and clear is the joy that everyone has in being part of a community event. It really does give people a reason to get out of bed and go for a run, jog or walk around the beautiful Lake Meadows. Putting my geography hat on, parkrun profiles have proved that the Park and the parkrun holds a real meaning to all those involved and makes our park a special place for so many different reasons. The Billericay parkrun community is diverse and everyone as a story to share. Perhaps we should have some parkrun memories posted around the course in the future…
Huge thanks to Paul and everyone who has contributed to our profile series since March!
If you'd like to read more profiles, here are the others from this series:
The Billericay core team are:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
As well as checking on this site regularly for the latest information and updates, don't forget you can also find us on Facebook.
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.
If you would like to donate to this parkrun you can find out more HERE