As a newcomer to the UK, Alberto Pose found parkrun offered him more than just a 5k run every week. Since then, he has completed 98 parkruns, 96 of which have been running around Highbury Fields. He has also completed 13 volunteer tasks at 12 events, all at Highbury Fields, where else?
When & where did you start parkrunning?
My first registered parkrun was on 8th April 2017 at Highbury Fields. I had recently moved from Argentina and I was intrigued by why people were running on a Saturday around the park. I recall searching on Google something like 'Highbury Fields 9.00am run' or something similar which brought me to the parkrun page.
What prompted you to join parkrun?
I enjoy running and being able to run with people. In addition, being able to run a proper time-tracked event every weekend was something that I have never imagined doing before moving to the UK. Having moved from a country that doesn't host parkruns (yet), I was quite surprised by the idea of a small number of volunteers organising an event with 300 people or more running.
What did you think after your first parkrun?
I was glad about being able to complete the run but I wasn't expecting to discover a group of friends among the organisers and regulars. I think that the atmosphere not only made me improve my 5k time but made me feel welcome while starting to live in a new city and country.
What’s your most memorable parkrun?
I think everyone recalls quite vividly the occasions where they broke their Personal Best (PB). In my case, I quite enjoyed the pacing runs since I find matching a target time challenging in a subtle way. There was one particular pacing event I did in February 2020 before the lockdown that I managed to pace 27 minutes & was only 10 seconds off!
What do you like most about parkrun?
The community around it. I see people from different backgrounds and skill levels together having a great time, challenging themselves and helping others. From another perspective, it has kept me motivated and improved my overall 5k time. It paved the way for taking other more ambitious challenges and sticking to a running training schedule.
Volunteering at parkrun - your thoughts?
I love volunteering! I find it quite refreshing. After several Saturdays, I discovered that it was better to take some time off and not to run at parkrun every week. In addition, given how many runs I had and how positive the change was for me, I thought it was a good idea to give something back.
How are you coping without parkrun?
I have been trying to adapt and focus more on my own training. I find it really hard to give 100% while running alone. I train thinking that whenever this is over, I hope to be better than when all this started.
Any other thoughts?
2020 was such a difficult year but I have been really lucky. I miss the sense of community even if I'm still in touch virtually with multiple friends I made while running. I'm quite grateful since I haven't been directly affected by all the terrible events unfolding. I really hope that we will get back to normal or to a certain degree of normality where we would be able to have parkruns.