Today Karen Harrison ran a milestone parkrun. Karen ran her 81st Rushcliffe parkrun and her 89th parkrun in total!!
Whilst it is not the standard parkrun milestones of 50, 100 or 250 runs that are celebrated by all on a Saturday morning and for which you get a lovely t-shirt, this is a much more significant and personal milestone for Karen. This is Karen's first parkrun after beating breast cancer!!
There is so much more to parkrun than just running 5K on a Saturday morning and trying with all of your might (if you are anything like me) to achieve a PB on a Saturday morning in all weathers! It's all about the people that you meet, the banter with fellow runners, the quick chats before and after the run and even during, if you have the breath. The encouragement you receive from both runners and supporters alike, thanking the volunteers as you run round and for me the making of some lovely friends.
I first met Karen on 20th Sept 2014. I know this fact as it was my very first parkrun. A friend introduced me to Karen at the start line. Karen told me how many parkruns she had completed how much she enjoyed taking part, how she had had got involved in the first place and encouraged me to come back the next week. Her enthusiasm obviously rubbed off on me, I turned up the following week and that's where our amazing friendship started.
Since then, as 'running buddies' we have completed a number of 10K's and even completed our very first half marathon, The 2016 Robin Hood Half Marathon. We have celebrated parkrun PB's especially when Karen achieved a sub 30 minute PB in October 2016. I personally could not achieved any of this without Karen and for that I would like to say 'thank you'!'
Only a few weeks after completing the 2016 Robin Hood Half Marathon, Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Now for most people their world would have come crashing down around them, but Karen was never going to let that happen. She made her mind up that this was purely 'an inconvenience for possibly 12 months' and that she would get through it. It was as simple as that!
Karen didn't make a fuss, she didn't want any attention. Amazingly, she carried on parkrunning even when she started having the treatment, because for an hour or so on a Saturday she was back into her normal routine again as she ran 5k, caught up with her friends and chatted over a cuppa, oh and one or two biscuits ! Even after Christmas when Karen wasn't well enough to run, she still came along most Saturdays to support and encourage Nigel and her friends, always looking a million dollars and with a beaming big smile. Karen has truly amazed us all with her positivity, her amazing attitude and most of all her brilliant sense of humour throughout all of this.
Karen is now into the final stages of her treatment and at a recent visit to the doctor she was given the news she that has been waiting for, the cancer has gone!!! One of the first things the doctor told her was that she could start running again! I don't think 'over the moon' even begins to describe how Karen felt hearing that.
Well today was that day, Karen has started running again! Karen's 89th parkrun is clearly her most significant parkrun milestone and a milestone that was well worth sharing with her fellow Rushcliffe parkrun friends.
My running buddy is back !