Run review from Steve Davey (A1861098)
I thought I would start this run report with a global overview of park run!
From its humble beginnings with 13 runners at Bushy Park in October 2004, parkrun now takes place in 23 countries with around 1400 events; including 735 in the UK, of which the Rickmansworth park run of course is but one. Though it is ’but one’ Rickmansworth park run is like each park run venue special in itself with unique memories and associations. Indeed, shifting focus from the global to the local of the Rickmansworth park run it was on this course (before the conception of the park run here) that I proposed marriage to my wife Erika. For many years, Rickmansworth was my home and the Aquadrome my sanctuary. I have literally spent months of my life - walking and running round it in all seasons. I feel very blessed to be able to return in the context of parkrun. Where better I thought to come to and run my 101st park run. And where better to wear for the first time my 100 parkrun t shirt. And where better to support my friend Ceci to complete her very first parkrun. Erika, and myself moved home to Eastbourne before the Rickmansworth park run was up and running. I have half-jokingly said to Erika that if the park run had been set up here before we moved, then I would never have left!
Highlights relating to my own unique memories of parkrun and associations are as follows. Firstly, supporting at the Hastings parkrun an adult with learning disabilities, whose joy at participating and finishing surpassed even mine. Secondly, running the Orkney parkrun with Albert, the owner of the guesthouse I was staying in, who invited me to join him in his weekly run. Thirdly, being briefed by the run director on a 7 minute ferry journey to the Shetland parkrun, which is held on a small island just off the mainland. Fourthly, running a park run with my cousin Moira (her first park run) in Glasgow where my mum’s ashes are scattered near the finish line, and where I put them long before this park run had existed. Lastly, on finishing the Rome parkrun being given (along with other runners) panettone cake by the first placed runner named Luigi, after he had also handed out the finish tokens. Just last week whilst volunteering at my local parkrun, I became aware of a three generation family consisting of mother, son and grandson running their first park run together in this way. There was also a couple in their eighties, with the woman volunteering at the finish, whilst her husband ran with the aim of breaking the age category record for the course, which he has done at other park run venues.
Everyone whether as runner and/or volunteer has their individual park run story and I hope mention of some of my highlights has triggered special memories of your own and brought a smile, or a sense of pride, or both, at what you have experienced and achieved. However, park run not only concerns the past; it is about the future, whether looking forward to taking part in whatever way, in the next one or beyond. My own particular ‘beyond’ is one day running the Mooloolaba park run (start time 0700 – struth) in Australia. Mooloolaba is where following my aforementioned proposal to Erika – we got married. I figure if I run a park run where I proposed then I have to follow this up with a park run where I got married, notwithstanding it is on the other side of the world! But before then for sure I will return to the beautiful Rickmansworth park run. For now though, the biggest mention must always go to the fantastic team of volunteers without whom park run would not be possible.
THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS. Thankyou Rickmansworth parkrun. Awesome. Another great memory for my parkrun mental scrapbook. I would like to let my friend Ceci have the last word - after her first park run. I asked her how it had been for her. Ceci replied 'I did it and I feel better for having done it. I am part of it now and will be back to do it again soon'.