I finally took part in my first parkrun – whoop! whoop! It was great! Hogmoor Inclosure parkrun was the place to be at 9am last Saturday morning.
My preparation started months ago when I joined a ‘Couch to 5K’ running group in Liphook. I was 52 at the time and on the first run I thought I was doing rather well. The course leader then started running next to me and said “I believe there’s a 69 year-old in the group – is it you?”. My heart sank ever so slightly but I carried on regardless. As it turned out, the real 69 year-old is rather a whizz and has now completed 21 parkruns, to my feeble 1! Go Gerd!
My main reason for writing this is to encourage others to give parkrun a go, whatever your level of fitness. I had a few hiccups on my journey to the 5K goal, hence the months of prep, but I was determined to make it one day!
Whether you walk, jog, run or sprint you’ll have a sense of achievement and you’ll also meet some friendly and enthusiastic people along the way. The jolly introductory chat takes place a few minutes before 9am and then you’re off! There are marshals all around the course giving words of encouragement at various decibels. If you are tiring, then they give you the boost that you need to carry on. The course is not the flattest, but nor is it too tough – a good balance. When you cross the finish line there’s a great feeling of achievement (and slight relief) and then you can go home and carry on with your day knowing that you’ve done something good! Within a few hours of finishing, an email pings into your inbox giving you lots of personalised information about your run – you can’t help but feel proud when you read it (‘You were the 9th female finisher in your age category’ – hey, perhaps there were only 9 females in total in my age category, but I’ll never know and I felt good!).
I took a long time to pluck up the courage to take part in a parkrun. In the end I decided that I just had to bite the bullet and give it a go. I’m so pleased that I did and I’d encourage anyone else thinking of going along to just do it! You know you can!
Finally a huge thank you to the organisers and marshals – you’re all fantastic!
See you on Saturday!
Thanks to Max Powell for his photos: