Meet Ben Roback. He's a parkrunner & parkrun volunteer, marathon runner, triathlete, guide runner & volunteer for The Running Charity. He has completed 96 parkruns & has volunteered at 64 events. His parkrun PB is 18:25.
When & where did you start parkrunning?
31st August 2013, Highbury Fields parkrun, not long after my parents John & Deb started volunteering there themselves.
What prompted you to join parkrun?
I'd never heard of parkrun before seeing it happening on Highbury Fields. It seemed crazy not to get involved.
What did you think after your first parkrun?
I couldn't understand why/how it was a thing. Every race I'd done before involved payment, prep, a race number but parkrun was just a case of printing a barcode and showing up. It seemed almost impossibly effortless.
What’s your most memorable parkrun?
Dulwich parkrun is by no means my local parkrun but it's become my home run out of choice. I always put in my best runs in Dulwich and my most memorable was breaking 18:30 for a new PB in August 2019.
What do you like most about parkrun?
How effortless it is compared to other running events. It feels right starting the weekend with a run, whether trying to push for a new PB or taking it slow and having a social run.
Volunteering at parkrun - your thoughts?
I love it. After a football injury put me out of action for 3 months, I used volunteering to fill the void. It feels incredibly rewarding to give something back and play your part in making sure parkrun remains sustainable as a free event run by volunteers.
How are you coping without parkrun?
By trying to find suitable replacements. I miss the social and community aspect of parkrun, but the roads and parks are still out there to be run on come Saturday at 9.00am. The Running Charity have done an incredible job of maintaining the community and group spirit through their 'notparkrun' series and the WhatsApp group of volunteers and mentors has helped push me to keep running.
Any other thoughts?
I can't wait for parkrun to resume again, but more than anything it only feels right that it happens at a safe and suitable time. Safety and community wellbeing has to be more important than Personal Bests, but when the time does come to get out to parkrun again I'll be relieved like so many others.