Everyone has a parkrun origin story and well, here's mine. I first joined Burgess parkrun as an antidote to the work hard, play harder lifestyle of my twenties. Agreeing to meet a friend in the park at 8.55am on a Saturday meant I had to drag myself out of bed. It stopped me from wasting the day, no matter how long the working hours that week were or how epic the party was the night before!
Looking back, that was five years ago, and my big nights out are much less frequent these days. However, the significance of parkrun in my life has just continued to grow at an exponential rate since then.
Through volunteering, I have made a brilliant group of friends who have been there for me through all sorts of ups and downs. From reaching for that elusive PB, to overcoming periods of injury, finding a like-minded group to have fun mid-week training sessions with, to having a close local network that looked out for each other during lockdown, parkrun has really given me so much. I've even had physio massages, assistance building furniture, help with my local charity events, career advice and celebrations for England’s (short-lived) wins during the 2018 World Cup. My parkrun journey has been so much more than just a run in the park.
What I really love about parkrun is how it is there for you in all stages of life, no matter who you are or what life is throwing at you. As a young child, you can get involved in junior parkrun, then as a teen, parkrun is an excellent opportunity for getting fit, training for school cross country or having your first taste of community volunteering. As an adult, it can be whatever you want or need it to be - an excellent hangover cure in your twenties, a PB-builder in your thirties, a fun power walk during pregnancy and post-partum, or a bonding activity for young families. It can be a sociable way to stay involved in the community during illness or injury through volunteering, a way to keep healthy in older age, an opportunity to meet new people and make friends when you move to a new area. There really is something for everyone!
Whilst I've missed parkrun a lot during the pandemic, I've been very grateful for the Burgess segment competition, where a group of us individually run a different segment in the park each week and compete on Strava to see who gets the best time. It's given me something to focus on, got me out of the house (again), this time exploring new areas of the park, and it's meant we've kept that strong sense of community, which has always been so great at Burgess. It was also wonderful bumping into members of the parkrun family on daily exercise runs during lockdown - that really lifted my spirits during such a strange, unsettling time.
I can't wait to get back to it when parkrun unpauses, which I hear may be sooner than many of us dared to hope! In the meantime, do stay safe, everyone.
Until the next time,
#loveparkrun #BurgessFamily #parkrunfamily