A little about yourself
I am Stuart Harper, I am married, we have two boys, aged 13 & 9. I live in Brundall and I work in IT for Aviva. I am a new Brundall Run Director for 2020. User of weather apps, Star Wars (I am a bit of a geek), lover of vinyl and music and a runner.
When did you start parkrun and why did you start?
I started parkrun at Brundall number two, I had heard about the new run and wanted to give it a go, how hard could 5km be? and it was on my doorstep. I did three further parkruns in 2015, but I did not get it or fall in love with it, I was cycling a lot and just did not see what the fuss was all about.
In 2016 I worked in Canada and did not cycle for six months and I came back a bit heavier. Work then went fairly weird, and the work life balance was total wrong. After a break from work with stress I thought I would try running again, so in 2017 I turned up to the 100th event (13/5/2017). I ran at about 28:10 and the following week I was slower, but I kept turning up week after week, I joined the Aviva running club and somehow I could see a 50 shirt coming, I was getting fitter and a bit quicker. Once I got to 50, I could see a 100 shirt and in October 2019 I hit the magic number! Now I want a 250!
What are your Park run stats
27th June 2015 was my first parkrun. I started around the 28 minute time for 4 laps of Brundall
PB for Brundall is 22:22, completed on the 3rd October 2018. I can’t break this! But want to. Need it to stop raining and for my legs to just run!
My overall PB is 22:19 I did this at Eaton parkrun on the 7th Dec 2019
Aim is to be under 22 mins at some point!
I have complete 115 parkruns and 2 test events (Yarmouth and Lingwood)
91 runs @ Brundall, Wilson index = 4, Most parkruns in a year 42 in 2019. 13 PB's. 10 digits short on stopwatch bingo. I need a 14, 17, 21, 29, 32, 36, 39, 46, 47 & 50. October is my favourite month to run, but an All Weather Runner
Why do you love Brundall parkrun?
I have lived in Brundall for over 20 years and I love the place, but parkrun is such a great thing, I know more people in the village then I have ever known, and people know me. Saturday mornings are now "a thing" and getting out to run is part of my weekend. I enjoy a 5k, followed by a coffee in the park with new and old friends its just a great way to start a weekend. I think Brundall has a real community feel and feels good to run here.
What does parkrun mean to you?
Really hard to put into words. But I am a parkrun advocate. It opens up the community for you and makes running simple, in essence it is just a pair of shoes, shorts and t-shirts, it’s just running/jogging/walking and enjoying a coffee and cake.
But parkrun changes you. Holidays now include a can we run a parkrun? Its such a simple thing, but it brings the community together people doing DOE awards, people running for the first time, people going to races because they found they were good at running, people connecting to their village and making new friends. The world has lots of issues, but parkrun is one of the solutions.
Where has parkrun taken you?
So I always said I hated running. But something has changed in the last 2 years! Saturday mornings are not stay in bed days, they are parkrun days. I have done a lot of 10 Km races, Run 5 miles races and completed half marathons, I've applied for London Marathon twice (but not being unsuccessful) and I am part of the Aviva Run community and people always say I am a cheer leader for running.
As I ran in an amber weather warning at a half marathon in Lowestoft, I thought what have you become! But did manage 1:53:04. It then dawned on me I had started to love running.
Why did you take the Run Director Role?
I got asked by Liz before Christmas and thought it was a bit of a joke. Then Vanja asked again in January as I scanned my barcode. I have known a lot of the RD’s over the last 5 years and though I wanted to give a little something back to parkrun and Brundall. After a quick think I said Yes.
The job was described as a couple of hours every week its actually a lot more and, but I am really enjoying it! In my last two RD stints I have tried to bring a bit of fun to the park, number 3 is a charm I promise!
Wearing the RD bibs is brilliant and getting a successful parkrun from volunteers, to the run, to the clearing up and sending the race report, gives you a great deal of satisfaction.
One funny fact about yourself.
I said I was a geek and I’ve met a lot of the cast of Star Wars, including a Jedi, a Scoundrel, a Wookie, a Princess, 2 droids and Darth Vader, plus a lot more of the cast.
Describe yourself in five word
Runner, Geek, Nerd, Tech, Music
Interview conducted by Jane Moneypenny (SIS)