Community profile – Alika Williams

Time to meet another Raphael parkrunner and today it's the turn of Alika Williams.

Alika has completed 59 parkruns, 48 of these at Raphael. She has also run at Harrow Lodge and Bakewell parkrun. She has volunteered for us as a marshal, handing out finish tokens and barcode scanning. Thank you for your support of Raphael parkrun, Alika!

She was the first parkrunner to log a time in our inaugural (not)parkrun table. To date, she has done 4 (not)parkruns representing Raphael.

Like so many of us, Alika told us she is really missing parkrun. We are very grateful she's completed a profile, as these have been the main way we've been trying to keep the wonderful community spirit of Raphael going during these difficult times.

So, it's time to meet Alika. Here is her profile. Enjoy x

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Name:Alika Williams

When did you take part in your first parkrun event at Raphael?

28th April 2018

What made you come along that very first time? How did you hear about parkrun? Did someone encourage you to come along?

I'd attended my first ever parkrun at Harrow Lodge a few weeks before. I remember arriving in reasonably new running gear and noticing everyone else in well-seasoned trainers and older clothing that had definitely seen its fair share of miles. All became clear after 1.5km when my foot popped out of my trainer because it was stuck in really deep, really wet mud.

I completed my first ever parkrun with mud up to my knees and splattered on my face. A couple of weeks later I heard Raphael was all concrete and I immediately changed my "home" run

I love parkrun because...

I've made so many friends. I'm very lucky to be able to say that I started going to parkrun alone and now (pre-lockdown) I go to parkrun with 5 others, who I would consider to be some of my most treasured friends, that I have got closer to purely thanks to parkrun.

My 77 year-old legend of a dad (I'm sure most of you will recognise him) comes to watch every week without fail and cheers us on. It's a real boost when you're thinking about slowing it down a bit and suddenly you spot him waving his arm in the distance. Maybe I owe him credit for all my PBs.

I love the solidarity of the parkrunners. I've seen so many people I recognise from Raphael whilst out on my lockdown runs, and the sharing of a smile across the street, which you know says "we'll be back soon, yes, I miss it too" is a really special, warming moment.

Which is your favourite volunteer role and why?

Barcode scanning - it means I get to run and still do my bit. Seeing everyone's faces at the end and offering a quick "congratulations" or "well done" is really satisfying. parkrun is such an incredible event, all credit owed to the volunteers. As a regular, or occasional parkrunner, we should all try and help out towards its success.

Anything else? Such as who you come along with, favourite Raphael parkrun memory, favourite part of the course, milestone memories, fun facts about you...

Not sure it's my favourite parkrun memory, but a few weeks after I started running at Raphel, I still hadn't made any friends. The RD announced that the following week would be in fancy dress (I can't quite remember why, maybe Raphael's PR birthday). Eager to fit in, and to really feel part of the team there, I arrived the following Saturday dressed as Harley Quinn (complete with bunches). From the moment I walked into the park, I knew I'd made an error. I think only 2 or 3 other parkrunners had arrived in fancy dress and theirs was very subtle. It was like a real life remake of the nightmare you have of arriving at school with no clothes on... anyway, I still ran, not sure my time was too great that week due to the movement restriction in those horrific blue and red latex leggings, but I sure as hell scooted off home the second I was done.