On their 5th wedding anniversary, we bring you the story of Steve & Beth, who ran Highbury Fields parkrun in wedding clothes on the morning of their wedding, together with quite a few of their family & friends. Here's the story that led up to that memorable day.
When & where did you start parkrunning?
Both in 2012, Steve’s was Highbury Fields event #39, Beth’s was a hungover affair in Finsbury Park.
What prompted you to join parkrun?
We were mid-twenties and didn’t feel very connected to any London community. We were already runners, each with a few marathons and halves under our belts and loved the idea of an inclusive, regular timed run within a friendly group of people. Plus, the 5k distance is so good for you and has definitely improved our running.
What did you think after your first parkrun?
“I can’t believe this thing happens every week! For Free!”
What do you like most about parkrun?
The joy of it. It’s so easy to forget the joy of sport when you’re solely chasing faster times. But with parkrun, the range of people, the range of runners (and walkers), the range of choice makes it more special than any other running event. It’s great to push yourself for a PB like we do most weeks, or just to push yourself to get out of bed and enjoy it.
Tell us about your wedding day parkrun....
We both agree that parkrun put us in such high spirits for the wedding day in 2015. We invited guests to join us, then we dressed up in a top hat and a white dress to run. Other parkrunners were so lovely, friends brought a picnic of croissants and bucks fizz, and our nieces and nephews were bouncing off the walls. We got married in Christ Church Highbury four hours later so it was perfect to kick off with the run on Highbury Fields.
It was a rare treat to run a parkrun together, too. The story goes that Steve made sure Beth crossed the line first - but still complains about what this did to his average time!
Volunteering at parkrun - your thoughts?
We were both shy about meeting people the first few times, but volunteering helps you get to know everyone. It feels great to encourage other runners, it’s a bit of a ‘thank you’ to everyone who’s volunteered for your own runs and it’s wonderful when your new volunteer friends give you a cheer on your next run. Win, win!
How are you coping without parkrun?
It’s miserable but we’re toughing it out! Steve’s been running a lot and even created his own lockdown 5k course on Strava. Beth’s been running, cycling and enjoying LOTS of open water swimming since they reopened West Reservoir in June. It’s not the same though, no one cheers your name or asks how your week was.
Any other thoughts?
Exercise seems even more important when the worry about vulnerable relatives and lockdown puts us on edge. Sport is a great outlet and gives a sense of control when the world feels as though it’s running away from us. This means we keenly miss parkrun’s routine, community and normality. We know it could be a while before it returns, but how exciting it will be when it does!