When did you take part in your first parkrun event at Roding Valley?
4th January 2014! I went along to Gunpowder parkrun with two of my brothers. But it wasn't until January 2016 that it became a regular thing, partly because I got a bad injury to my foot that meant I couldn't run properly for about 18 months.
What made you come along that very first time? How did you hear about parkrun? Did someone encourage you to come along?
My brothers had been going and encouraged me to join them. I'd been a runner on and off for years, but always stopped once I had got a race out of the way. Then I would book a race, start running again, do the race, and stop again. It was a vicious cycle. As parkrun is there every week it gave me something to aim towards. I need that sort of motivation.
Please complete the following: I love parkrun because...
No matter what your background or ability, everyone is welcome. There is a strong community ethos and commitment from parkrun to help people live healthy lives, both mentally and physically. I love searching for a nearby parkrun when I go on holiday. I love discovering new places through parkrun tourism. And most of all, I love the friends that I have made through parkun.
Which is your favourite volunteer role and why?
I love being Run Director and really miss it since handing the reins over last year. It gives you a unique opportunity to talk to loads of different people and encourage those newcomers who hang around on the edges of the crowd looking nervous. Besides that I really enjoy doing the first timers briefing. It might be the first interaction a person has with the event and it is a chance to make a lasting and welcoming impression on them.
If you could change anything about Roding Valley parkrun what would it be?
It is such a lovely event. When we set it up I never dreamed it would create the amazing community that it has. The only thing I would ever want to change is the flooding of the river. Thankfully there are alternatives to the route, but those floods were another level of crazy this year!
Anything else? Such as who you come along with, favourite Roding Valley parkrun memory, favourite part of the course, milestone memories, fun facts about you...
One thing I was most proud of was the introduction of Roding Valley junior parkrun. Seeing Chris Chapman develop over the months as he started to run with us, and then watching his determination to get the juniors set up was just lovely. Their core team is made up mainly of RV parkrun regulars, so it's nice to think that we might have inspired them a little to get it off the ground. And what a lovely event it is!
Fun fact about me? I have completed 14 different parkrun events. The hardest I have ever done was Lanhydrock parkrun in Cornwall. That is a seriously tough route! The furthest away is Greenpoint parkrun all the way in South Africa. Mr Glasgow will be sad to hear I haven't seen a single episode of TOWIE and met one of the people from the show once in Nu Bar and didn't have a clue who she was. I am one of 6 children and all of us run. Having spent much of last year injured I am currently trying to get fast enough again to beat my mother in a race!
Favourite memory is a hard one! So many to choose from. There are big things like anniversaries, and events where we encourage people to stay and socialise after with tea and cake. They are always lovely and allow us to get to know everyone a little better. But one small memory that always stands out for me was when Lesley (from 'Lesley's bridge' fame) came for the first time. I saw her coming towards me as I was speaking to Peter Spelman, and she looked so happy. Turns out they used to work together for years and parkrun reunited them. Not only that, but I believe Natalie Crane also used to work with her. I know it seems really small and an odd thing to remember, but it just sums up parkrun for me, bringing people together, new friends and old.