a new lease of life
In this week’s newsletter, we have an inspirational story from David Mushet as part of Organ Donation Week, you have the chance to win a signed shirt from Olympic Gold Medalist Alistair Brownlee, and there is the opportunity to join the parkrun UK team as an Ambassador.
Leading up to Greenock parkrun’s second anniversary, parkrunners were invited to note down in a book their reasons for participating. David Mushet wrote the following:
“I started parkrun after Richard Cooper suggested that the flat paved course would be ideal training for representing Great Britain in the World Transplant Games. Everyone was supportive and I kept coming back. Now some dodgy Greenock woman has talked me into starting one in Paisley!”
David explains how his organ transplant gave him a new lease of life and why he and his family are healthier and happier as a result:
"In 2002 I acquired Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, a chronic liver disease that affects the bile ducts and ultimately leads to liver failure. I experienced periods of chronic fatigue, and my skin became so jaundiced that I looked a bit like Homer Simpson.
Then in late 2012, after a spell in my local hospital, I was transferred to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and following some tests was listed for transplantation. Within two weeks I had a new liver.
My transplant completely transformed me and gave me a new zest for life. I had been heavily involved in football for a long time but unable to participate because of constant fatigue, so the thought of being able to try lots of new activities was incredibly exciting.
I knew my recovery would be a long process and I wouldn’t be challenging Usain Bolt any time soon – my first 100 metre walk took 30 minutes – but steadily I built up my strength. I was walking every day and doing exercises prescribed by my physiotherapist, and two months after my transplant I began cycling. By late summer I was healthy enough to return to work.
During my recovery my physio mentioned the British Transplant Games and we used that as a target. This annual competition is all about demonstrating the benefits of transplantation, increasing public awareness of the need for more people to join the NHS Organ Donation Register, and encouraging transplant patients to regain fitness.
As I had walked then cycled (both low impact activities) during my recovery period, I competed in the 5k Race Walk and two cycling events – the 5k Time Trial and the 10k Road Race. I won the gold medal in the 5k Race Walk, and was lucky enough to be selected to represent Great Britain at the 2015 World Transplant Games in Argentina.
Knowing I would need to improve my times and fitness, a work colleague suggested that Greenock parkrun would be ideal for me. I contacted the volunteer team to see if they could accommodate a walker, and they were incredibly supportive of what I was trying to do and why I was doing it. It was a similar situation with local parkrunners, who were very encouraging and always there at the finish to cheer me home. The community spirit was amazing.
As a family we became fitter than what we had been pre-transplant, with my wife, son and daughter accompanying me to different sports and events, and my wife Lesley started taking part in parkrun with me.
Over time I became more involved with parkrun as both a participant and volunteer. This led to me being part of the core team that established Linwood parkrun earlier this year, where I am now the Event Director.
My advice to anyone who has had a transplant is to follow the exercise regime advised by your physiotherapist, and come along to your local parkrun! You don’t need to run, or even walk for that matter, because simply immersing yourself in a friendly and welcoming environment is a positive experience in itself.
If you want to experience something completely different, contact your local Transplant Sport Team Manager and come along and participate in the annual British Transplant Games. Because, just like parkrun, it caters for all ages and abilities and you’ll meet lots of people who have been in the same position as you."
Organ Donation Week runs from 5-11 September - You can find out more here
back to parkrun!
Intersport: Back to school can only mean one thing…back to parkrun! If you’ve had a break from parkrun over the summer holidays, the arrival of September and return to routine puts that familiar 9am family parkrun slot on a Saturday back in the diary. Phew.
Now the kids are sorted, it’s time to kit yourselves out with some of our stylish new arrivals from your favourite brands. Whether you’re after a reflective vest, a windproof outer layer or some new high performance running shoes, pop down to your local Intersport (find your nearest store here)and we’ll help you pick out the best gear for your autumn runs.
Remember that you can claim 10% off at Intersport as part of our ongoing parkrun partnership price #PPP*. Simply show your parkrun barcode in store (#DFYB) to claim 10% off running products, or use code PARKRUN10 when shopping online at www.intersport.co.uk for 10% off your entire order.
See you at your next parkrun!
*PPP valid at all participating Intersport stores; see our website for details. ** Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion.
find your adventure with Fitbit
Fitbit: Variety is key to keeping your fitness routine fresh, so we’ve updated the Fitbit app Challenges to include something new. Introducing Fitbit Adventures.
This new addition is one that will really take you places - California’s Yosemite National Park, to be exact. Unlike our other Challenges, Adventures is a personal immersive experience that’s a non-competitive exploration of one of the world’s greatest natural beauty spots, to encourage you to move more.
So how does it work? Every day you’ll be challenged to reach a new destination on the trail which is determined from your past step data, so that the goal is challenging but still achievable. As you step your way through the adventure, you’ll see the stunning Yosemite National Park through the lense of world-class outdoor photographer Chris Burkard and find out facts about this international treasure.
Try the trail on the Fitbit app now, Read more about Fitbit Adventures on our blog here and keep your eyes peeled - because the Big Apple is up next! New York City will be added to Adventures soon, plus other great destinations are in the pipeline.
Haven’t got a Fitbit yet and want to explore? Take advantage of the exclusive parkrunner discount and shop your online store here.
In case you missed it, we just launched the latest Fitbit trackers, the Charge 2 and Flex 2. Packed with new features these will take your stepping to another level - check it out here.
a group effort
ARUK: This week we’d like to introduce you to three wonderful women who have collectively run nearly 500 parkruns! Becky Thurtell, Sue Armstrong and Judith Prentis are tackling the Great North Run in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UKon Sunday. But it wouldn’t be possible without parkrun UK, which has helped the trio get their fitness levels up and enabled them to take on the 13.1 mile half marathon challenge.
Becky has been joining in with parkrun most Saturdays since 2005, just a few months after parkrun started. Her local is Bushy Park, but she is now a keen 'tourist' and travels to a different parkrun most weekends.
Judith only took up running in January 2014, when she embarked on her very first parkrun. At the time Judith walked the entire course in walking boots, and finished with a time of 46 minutes and 53 seconds.
Since then she has come on leaps and bounds and attends her local parkrun at Wimbledon Common nearly every week. Last week she finished with a personal best of 30 minutes and 13 seconds. Meanwhile Sue has moved to Herefordshire from London and now goes to Worcester parkrun instead of Bushy Park.
The group, who became friends while studying a postgraduate course, decided to take on the Great North Run to raise money for vital dementia research.
Becky’s 89-year-old father has had Alzheimer's for nine years and lives in a care home, while her 83-year-old mother was diagnosed more recently and can no longer cope living on her own. She now has a live-in carer to assist her with personal care and daily household tasks.
Becky said: “My father no longer recognises me, which is extremely distressing for my whole family. My mum gets by with the help of carers, but things have changed so much.
“We’re raising money because we want to do everything we can to stop this devastating condition so future generations do not have to go through the same experience my family has had to go through.”
Sue is running in honour of her nan who sadly passed away with dementia in 2000. Sue said: “I’ll be thinking of my nan every step of the way. It was so distressing to see her change in the way she did.”
To donate to their fundraising page go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/BeckySueWiggyGNR
win a signed shirt from Alistair Brownlee
GO TRI: Ever fancied giving triathlon a go?
This summer Team GB triathletes made history in Rio, bringing back their biggest Olympic medal haul to date. Millions of Brits tuned in to watch and now British Triathlon are out to turn inspiration into participation.
In an exciting new campaign, #YourGOTRI lets you create your own personal triathlon by selecting a swim, cycle and run from a range of fun activities.
After creating your event you’ll then be sent a bunch of handy hints and tips to help you on your way, making completing your triathlon a complete breeze.
What’s more, create your event before Sunday 18 September and you could win a signed t-shirt from Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee and bronze medal winner Vicky Holland.
By completing a parkrun, you’re already a third of the way to being able to call yourself a triathlete.
Click here to create your triathlon today!
random stat of the week
25,988 different people have volunteered as timekeeper at UK parkrun events. Always there whatever the weather to help make sure we get our results!
This week’s UK statistics for parkrun and junior parkrun:
join our parkrun Ambassadors Programme
- Are you an experienced Event Director, Run Director or core volunteer?
- Would you like to help activate new events?
- Would you like to support other events?
If the answer is "Yes" then you could be one of our Event Ambassadors! The parkrun Ambassador Programme was created in 2013 as a national support network of around 100 skilled and experienced volunteers for parkrun UK events.
Ambassadors help design courses, meet with councils, generate funding, resolve disputes, train teams and generally help out at parkrun events near them. Working closely with HQ staff, Ambassadors are or have previously been Event Directors, Run Directors or active members of a core event team.
We are actively recruiting in the following areas of the UK:
- North & South Lanarkshire
- North West England
- North East England
- South Yorkshire
- East Midlands
- North East London
- East London
South West England
- Forest of Dean and surrounding area
Ambassadors are a fountain of knowledge of all things parkrun and how it operates. They are champions and guardians of the parkrun ethos. They also act as a link between events and help facilitate cross fertilisation of ideas, best practice, problem solving and solution finding
The role profile describes in more detail what is involved and required in terms of skills and time commitment. If after reading this you would like to be considered please register your interest by completing this form. If you need assistance in completing the survey please contact Cathy Martin (Administrator).
Head of HR & Volunteer Management
Let us know if you have an interesting parkrun story or photo to share.