As parkrun celebrates turning 15 at the start of October we ask what does parkrun mean to you.
Karen and her husband Darren have been with Burnley parkrun since its humble beginnings, she reflects on what it means to them
So what does it mean to us?
As many of you know when Marion Wilkinson asks you to do something there are not many people who will say no. So when Marion asked us to help out every now and again on a Saturday morning to help get new people running in Burnley we both agreed. Who knew where that simple request would lead to?
We had both been at the start of the SOS running group which was and still is a running group which is formed of runners of various abilities that run socially together and is formed of various club and none club runners so we were both very comfortable with the concept of various abilities running together. We had however never heard of parkrun so had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for.
From thinking we would be making ourselves available every now and again parkrun had an immediate unexpected effect on both our lives, we were suddenly in charge of a free weekly event that was happening every Saturday at 9am. The laptop was given to us and we had a core team to make it work, Marion, Gary, and Paul as well as ourselves. Basically get on with it, you will be fine and surprisingly we were and Burnley is now a hugely successful event for the size of the town. Since then every town around us has set up an event after runner attending Burnley parkrun.
Suddenly organising volunteer rosters, checking the route, processing results, answering emails and then dealing with the social media aspects became part of our daily lives not just an hour or so now and again on a Saturday morning which is what we were expecting but looking back we would not change this, it has been an amazing journey to be part of.
It has been a fabulous experience for both of us, the start of parkrun happened around the same time that our son was leaving home to go to university so we had more time on our hands than we had previously and it gave us the opportunity to meet some wonderful people. People that have since become friends and we have seen that happen amongst many, many of our parkrun family.
Since we started the very first event on the second of June 2012 over ten thousand different people have joined us to run around the beautiful Towneley park and gardens with many of them returning time and time again covering in total 470,950km and achieving over eighteen thousand PB’S.
So many of our runners started unable to run 5k but have since completed every distance imaginable from 10k right through to Marathon’s and beyond. They have joined clubs and raced all over the country, some prefer the social side and just run for fun and personal achievements but everyone is welcome at parkrun.
We both genuinely love being part of the Burnley parkrun family but it is hard at times, there is at least one time every winter when we wonder why we do this. The core parkrun volunteer team genuinely believe that Towneley is the coldest place on earth in winter. When it is sub-zero with the wind chill factor freezing you to the core those two hours setting up the course and then cheering the runners/walkers on and then trying to be just as enthusiastic at 10am when the last runner comes through it is really tough. The next time you sit in your car until ten to nine and then dash to the start then finish and go for your coffee or back to your warm car spare a moment’s thought for the marshalls still out on the course.
Of course we do love it and it is so much fun to be part of, we have had so many memorable days at Towneley, lots of silly fancy dress, one of our favourites was our 118th run when we dressed lots of people up as 118 guys. We celebrate our runners every year on our anniversary but as parkrun turns fifteen we reflect what parkrun means to us and ask you to share what parkrun means to you?
So what does parkrun mean to you? why not tell us your story? We really want to hear it.
You can contact the Burnley parkrun team by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Burnley parkrun has an offical Facebook page why not take a look at https://www.facebook.com/burnleyparkrun
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Facebook Photo Album(Here)
Flickr Photo Album (Here).
Many thanks to those of you who contribute, please keep doing it as it really helps us keep the website going.
Keep up to date
Don't forget - as well as the website www.parkrun.org.uk/burnley you can keep up to date with the latest information about Burnley parkrun by following us on Twitter @Burnleyparkrun or visit our Facebook Page