Why did you start parkrunning?
I never, ever, EVER intended to run. It was hot, sweaty, boring, and it made my knees hurt. Then I had my first child in 2013 and within three months I had taken up running after some kind of existential crisis about needing to be as fit and healthy as I could for him. My best friend is a keen runner and parkrun fan and she coached me through couch to 5k with such kindness (and occasional firmness) with the aim of getting parkrun fit. I did my first parkrun in September 2013, just over six months after having a baby and three months after starting c25k. I’m now on 115 parkruns and 35 volunteer roles (with a few 10k, aquathlons and half marathons thrown in - and another baby!)
The highlight of your running career so far?
The best thing about my running is that I am such an unlikely and reluctant runner that I think people look at me and think ‘anything she can do, I can do!’ My husband and kids now run and I love that my 4 and 6 year old see running as something we do, just naturally as a family. Seeing them enjoy running is a total joy to me.
In the spirit of IWD, I’m a feminist and a children’s health advocate, and we know that young women drop out of being physically active disproportionately compared with young men, with knock on effects for health. Normalising the joyousness and inclusion of physical activity for anyone who sees themselves as not a natural runner, and hearing that I’ve encouraged someone else to start running (especially another woman or someone who feels unfit) feels amazing.
Easy. Jesmond Dene. It’s literally my home parkrun as from parts of the course I can see my street and my workplace, and I have run through it pretty much every week since I started running. I’ll never PB on it though, but I try to make myself believe that its undulating nature will make me a better person and a better runner.
Favourite volunteer role?
I love marshalling and cheering people on. Especially if I can combine it with hanging out with friends and family. I especially love dishing out high fives at junior parkrun. I’m a natural enthusiast so I like shouting ‘boom!’ and ‘power up!’ as the junior runner make contact, and seeing them put on an extra burst of speed. I also like roles where I can fit in a run and a volunteer - though it feels a bit like cheating to get all that reward from one run.