The beginning but not the end 

Conkers parkrun non-run run report   -   November 28th, 2020

Everybody's parkrun story starts somewhere. Mine was 4th August 2012, when I was going through a rubbish time in my life. I had just given up alcohol and gambling which had given me so many problems in my life, and eight years later I've stuck to it and will never start again.

I was feeling a bit lost and wondering what to do with my life, I was never really a runner, I was a bit tubby but still liked a run around the block now and then. Well a neighbour asked me if I had heard of Conkers parkrun a free weekly run at 9am every week. So I decided to give it a go, thinking I would probably do it once and never again! So on that sunny Saturday morning I ran it, I hadn't a clue where the course was going and managed to run up a hill called ‘Cheeky’ and down a lovely stretch along a canal supported along the way by Conkers Marshall's. As I ran down the hill and under the bridge, I was tired but pleased with myself, as I came 30th out of 198 runners.

In the early days of Conkers when we went off and ran seven parkruns in one day to celebrate the longest day - probably around  June 2012 or 13.

Afterwards I picked up my finishing token without being quite sure what to do with it until I was told to get it scanned. Someone then told me there was a cafe at the Waterside Centre and I fancied a coffee. I went in nervously as I didn't know anyone, and sat outside in the car park, until I don't know who it was, said I should go inside and meet people, I am really glad that person told me that. I went in and I slightly knew Lisa Wright, she introduced me to other people and I was hooked. Over the coming weeks, I became a regular and met some fantastic people who I now consider life-long friends. Sadly one of those Ray Mortlock passed away this week, he was a true gent and it was a privilege to call him a friend; my condolences go out to his wife Julie. I wouldn't have met them without parkrun.

Image may contain: 8 people, including Sally Jeyes, Roger Cobb, Andy Orme and Ian Archer, people standing, outdoor and nature

How things have changed are Conkers since my first parkrun in 2012 - There are now many more  with 250* to their name.

I was chuffed to bits when the core team knew my name after a few weeks and now have so many memories of fancy dress runs, my first TR24 parkrun when we thought 416 was a big attendance. Other special days were Christmas day parkruns in a Santa suit with mince pies with mate's after and the New Year’s Day double run. I never used to get up before noon!! St Patrick's Day we reversed the course with everyone in green, and one of the highlights the Halloween parkrun with all the scary and wonderful outfits’ .There are so many great and happy memories to write down really.

Leading the volunteers back one Conkers parkrun some time ago.

Was thinking about parkrun the other day and what it meant to me. I love the run every week even though my PB days have long gone; it even made me join a local running club


I might have mentioned to people in passing about what I really love about parkrun, it is the people; it just brightens up my life. It's the social side sitting in the café afterwards and chatting to my mates about who went off too quick and blew up after a mile, who got a PB and celebrating someone's personal achievement, whether it be a milestone run or a birthday with cake to eat. In fact, I look forward to the café more than the run some weeks!

One of the first pacing events at Conkers - who can name all six?

So, that was my parkrun beginning. I'm so glad that person made me go into the café, thank you whoever you are, I owe you.


parkrun will start again, don't know when it will be, but we will laugh again on the start line and will share cake and chat in the café afterwards, it certainly isn't the end of parkrun


See you all soon

Andy x