Meet Lindsay McDermott, who has run 157 parkruns, 108 of which have been at Highbury Fields. When she was unwell, instead of forgetting parkrun she turned up on Saturday mornings & volunteered instead. Here's her story.
When & where did you start park running?
I did my first parkrun in September 2011 in Pollock Park, Glasgow.
What prompted you to join parkrun?
In May 2011, I went on a Swim Trek holiday to swim between the Cyclades Islands in Greece. My holiday room-mate was a keen parkrunner while I had never heard of parkrun before. She invited me and another Swim Trek swimmer to our first ever parkrun that September.
What did you think after your first parkrun?
I was amazed that I could get a time from a free event. In 2011 I had been running fee-paying 10k races as part of my then triathlon training. I noticed the demographic of the parkrunners included every kind of runner from the slower paced water bottle carriers to the fell running types wearing vest tops. I must have enjoyed it as I went on to do more at Hackney Marshes and Finsbury Park. In 2015 I started parkrunning at Highbury Fields.
What’s your most memorable parkrun?
It’s so hard to choose just one. I have fond memories of so many. I remember trying to keep up with Lizzy Muggeridge at one of my early runs at Highbury Fields. She was the 30 minute pacer and she got me over the finish line in 29 minutes 43 seconds, my third PB at Highbury Fields. I remember good times catching up with swimming, school and book group friends and family at parkruns in Brighton, Huntingdon, Cheltenham, Pymmes and also Edinburgh, Troon and Eglinton up in Scotland. I remember the sense of achievement in completing my 150th park run on Christmas Day 2019.
What do you like most about parkrun?
I like the fact that it’s inclusive the most. Everyone, no matter what their running prowess, is welcomed and no one, other than the tail runner, comes last. This extends to being welcomed at other UK park runs as a tourist. I have loved exploring new places through parkrun tourism and getting a real feel for the communities there.
Volunteering at parkrun - your thoughts?
I have volunteered 13 times, mainly during 2017 when I was recovering from a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. My favourite roles were pacing and tail walking. These give you a volunteer record and a run record too. I am in awe of the core volunteer team and very thankful that they make sure parkrun happens come rain, wind or shine. I only wish my running times were faster to enable me to run the course and then do a volunteering role afterwards.
How are you coping without parkrun?
Since parkrun was such a part of my normal routine it was initially strange not to have it. Being in the vulnerable category, I opted for Joe Wicks online PE classes rather than running. These offered me a more isolated form of exercise. I did his classes religiously until they stopped. Now that the pools are open, I am getting my swimming arms back. I hope to meet some Highbury Fields parkrun runners at the London Fields Lido soon! Editor's note - a number of Highbury Fields parkrunners have been spotted regularly at the West Reservoir Open Water Centre as well as London Fields Lido! Did someone say Highbury Fields parkrun Triathlon Team?
Any other thoughts?
I think parkrun is an invaluable part of our local community and society. During the COVID-19 pandemic I have enjoyed reading the parkrunner profiles every Saturday. I still feel part of the parkrun community albeit remotely. I have heard that parkrun has been described by some as the new church, I am aware that GPs prescribe parkrun as a form of medicine and junior parkrun encourages children to get involved in running. What’s not to love?