Meet parkrunner and multi-tasking volunteer Marina Harden. As well as having notched up 97 parkruns, she has also completed 203 tasks at 106 parkruns (almost all at Highbury Fields or Highbury Fields juniors). She also volunteers at & participates in numerous other events throughout the year. Enjoy her parkrun story.
When & where did you start parkrunning?
Highbury Fields 29th November 2014. I also supported the start-up of the Highbury Fields junior parkrun in March 2015.
What prompted you to join parkrun?
I'd known about it for quite a while through a friend that I volunteered with at London Youth Games (shout out to the amazing CLP). I think I registered almost a year before I plucked up the courage to actually attend!
What did you think after your first parkrun?
A combination of 'that wasn't so bad' and 'who knew the uphill section gradient increased on each lap...' (They don't tell you that at the briefing!) Editor's note - you have to listen to the pre-run briefing really carefully....
What’s your most memorable parkrun?
Penrhyn in North Wales, for the start/finish in a castle, the beautiful views and for being the catalyst for getting a good friend on her parkrun and 5k journey.
Also Lee on the Solent parkrun, a Solent seafront course where if you run during the rain and wind, will give you a fine 2.5k PB one way and full body workout complete with facial for the other 2.5k!
And also a virtual Christmas Day parkrun on Miami Beach, Barbados!
What do you like most about parkrun?
The people that you meet, the encouragement, the conversations, the friendships, the tourism, the challenges, the volunteering. Oh and you learn how to get a great photo of mid-air jumps too!
Volunteering at parkrun - your thoughts?
It's a must do for any parkrunner!
A great way to build confidence, learn new skills, contribute to the local community, meet people and have fun. Looking back at my stats it seems I jumped in at the deep end and my first volunteer role was as timekeeper on Christmas Day 2014. It's a role that can really worry some volunteers and I've messed it up on more than one occasion, but even if you mess up there's always a way of sorting it out. And at the end of the day it's a run not a race, so if the time isn't exactly as expected just reflect on all those positive endorphins you've created!
How are you coping without parkrun?
Saturday (aka parkrunday) just isn't the same. I've taken to walking and cycling far more than running since lockdown. But the parkrun friends I've made over the years are still there and play a big part in staying positive and active through these unusual times.
Any other thoughts?
I was hoping to have completed my 100th parkrun on my 50th birthday in April 2020. So here's an early invite to the celebrations in 2021 (fingers crossed!).