My first parkrun was Christmas Day 2016 at QE. I’d been in the pub the night before celebrating Christmas Eve, and I was a few pints in to my evening when a chap told me about parkrun and how I could do a 5k ‘race’ on Christmas Day. Always up for a challenge and new to running, I decided to drag my then girlfriend and my dog up to QE Park for 9 a.m for a run. What a way to start Christmas! I was immediately hooked, started attending every week and trying to do as many local runs as possible. I sought advice from my new local running friends about which courses were fast, which were pretty and which we could meet up at for a run and coffee.
That’s what parkrun is all about for me - running with your mates and making new mates who all have the same interest as you - running! This Saturday was my 100th run. I’m not one to shy away from a shindig, so I thought it would be a great occasion to get as many of my Vegan Runners friends (my first claim club), my Liss Runners mates (my awesome local club) and anyone else who wanted to join in for the morning. The great thing was that at least three people came up to me, saying they came along to give parkrun a go for the first time - amazing! At the opposite end of the running scale, ultra running legend, Susie Chan, who is now very local to Hogmoor was running as well and chatting to everyone - a great example of how parkrun works for all runners and is 100% inclusive.
This week, 269 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 74 were first timers and 47 recorded new Personal Bests. That’s pretty good going for a sunny Easter Saturday. I chose Hogmoor for my 100th because it’s super friendly, a brilliant trail course, and just my favourite parkrun. I love everything about it, even the sand! I especially love the lady marshal who volunteers every week and cheers at the same corner, she goes bananas every time a runner approaches, and her enthusiasm for the event as well as giving up very Saturday morning to get involved is the epitome of the parkrun spirit and why parkrun is so special to not just the running community but to the wider community. If you volunteer at parkrun, you rule.
I’d like to say thank you to all my Vegan Runner mates for making cakes, running and generally being blooming lovely. We had runners come from as far as Brighton and Maidenhead. I think we had nearly 30 runners. I hope everyone attending enjoyed all the cakes and ‘facon’ rolls! I’d like to apologise if my broccoli costume (I actually ran a marathon in it on Boxing Day, which was fun!) was as terrifying as it looked in the event photos and I hope it didn’t put anyone off their breakfast! A massive thank you to everyone else who came and ran, volunteered and made the event happen.
The good thing is we only have to wait a few more days, and then we can do it all over again. Although, I will be leaving the broccoli costume at home for a bit - it needs a good wash! Happy running, everyone
Photos by Rob Hannam:
Photos by Denyse King: