Lewis Cousins – A400052
Event Director, Run Director & Volunteer Coordinator
86 runs completed (28 at Didcot parkrun)
1) How did you hear about Didcot parkrun?
In April 2013 I gave in to my wife Sam and Abingdon ED Mike Shepherd to volunteer and help take photos at Abingdon parkrun. I offered to help out once as I enjoyed my usual Saturday morning lay in’s and over the next few months was completely taken by the parkrun movement.
In May 2014 along with Simon we decided to see if we could start up a local parkrun. After 8 months of hard work and trying various routes we settled on the current course and launched in February 2015.
2) What did you do on a Saturday morning at 9am before Didcot parkrun?
My mornings would consist of getting up when Sam was getting ready to leave for Abingdon parkrun and then switching on Soccer AM or Saturday Kitchen. Since being involved with parkrun I have saved a fortune in Sky Sports fees as I don’t get to watch Soccer AM anymore!
3) Your Barcode - is it paper, laminated, permanent or other?
I have numerous laminated barcodes stashed all over the place in the car, trainers, running bag and mobile phone case…….I don’t want to be listed as an unknown parkrunner again after forgetting my barcode while in Manchester. I also have one of the new parkrun wristbands in purple to match the volunteer milestone t-shirt.
4) Do you have any parkrun goals?
I don’t really have any personal milestone goals as I have exceeded my previous target of ten runs, however I am looking forward to reaching my 100th run in 14 runs time.
As the Didcot parkrun ED my parkrun goals are to keep on growing the event and working more with community groups such as blind runners and those with disabilities.
5) Do you have a favourite parkrun moment?
I have two equally favourite moments. The first one was Abingdon parkrun #144 on 10th May 2014 as this was the run that inspired me to start Didcot parkrun and become an Event Director. It was a proud parent moment as I witnessed my daughter doing her first ever parkrun. Tasha ran with her Mum while I marshalled on the Lock Road and I felt so proud as she passed me twice along the route before finishing with a smile. It then got me thinking of all the other lives that could change if there was a parkrun in Didcot.
The second one has to be Didcot parkrun #164 which saw local running legend Geoffrey Jackson at 87 years young become the oldest runner to join the parkrun 250 milestone club. Geoff is such an inspiration and has been a huge part of my running life with encouragement, support and guidance along the way. I shared my first run after 5 years of injury with Geoff and to share Geoff’s special moment with so many friends and parkrun family was fantastic, the guard of honour to welcome Geoff over the finish line was so emotional but well deserved.
6) Has parkrun changed your attitude to running, fitness and general wellbeing?
parkrun has changed my life forever and I can never repay what it has done for me and my family. parkrun has made running fun again but it is so much more than a run. The friendships borne from parkrun are for life and seeing the work parkrun is doing in communities all over the world will change lives forever.
What I love about parkrun is that no matter where you choose to run or volunteer you get that same friendly vibe that has changed Saturday to parkrunday.
7) What advice would you give to someone considering coming to Didcot parkrun?
I would say come on down, whether you are running, jogging or walking everyone is welcome. Your life will never be the same again but please remember to bring your barcode. (Don’t Forget Your Barcode #DFYB).
8) Which do you prefer……Laps on the field or the long path to the finish?
I prefer the laps on the field as you get to see all the runners as you pass on the laps. This is what make Didcot parkrun so good as at some parkruns you don’t get to see the fast runners or the Tail Walker and it’s great to encourage everyone as you pass each other.
9) What’s your favourite volunteer role?
This is a tough one as I love handing out the Finishing Tokens as you get to meet every runner as they cross the finish line and I also love Run Directing as the buzz from greeting the First Timers and Tourist then standing in front and welcoming 200+ runners each time is amazing.
10) What is your favourite parkrun to date?
This is a tough one as they are all fantastic. I love taking in parkrun tourism and have been fortunate enough to run or volunteer at over 30 different parkruns but if I had to pick one if would be Watergrove parkrun in Rochdale. It’s a tough, undulating and extremely scenic fell route and not for the fainthearted. I have unfished business there as my only run there took me by surprise and I was more interested in the views than actually running.
11) Describe what parkrun is to you in three words?
Life Changing Experience