Our May 2019
Tilgate parkrunner of the month is
Congratulations to Antony on his recent running and on becoming our parkruner of the month for May. Pictured above with Karin who we believe is responsible for getting Antony into this "crazy thing called parkrun in the first place". We asked Antony a few question to find out a little more about his parkrun likes and habits.
1) What are your parkrun numbers Runs completed / PB's earned / PB Time / Number of times volunteered?
84 completed, 16 volunteer, 14 PB's with a quickest of 25:44. I've also done tourism at 6 other park runs.
2) You started your parkrun journey in Nov 2017, can you recall how you heard about Tilgate parkrun and what did you used to do at 9am on a Saturday morning?
I started in November 2017 but did my first two park runs elsewhere, in Tonbridge. It was a friend of mine who got me into it and I thought I really wanted a friendly face on my first run. She was more than that. She was simply fantastic in helping me get over my fears about being the slowest person ever at park run. I then took the step of doing my first at Tilgate and it feels like home. That friend has also come to visit Tilgate and she describes it as the nicest ever - given she's done over 200 in about 30 places I'd say she's a great judge and has good taste.
I often do park run straight off a night shift so I used to go to sleep at 9am on a Saturday morning. Now I just delay bedtime to take in park run.
3) Do you have any particular routines that you follow during the week or on the morning of parkrun?
Nothing special. I always try not to run on a Friday though - doing shift work it's usually easy to plan when to run and when not to. And this might sound odd but after a night shift and before parkrun I have to clean my teeth. I have this complete fear that after a 10 hour night shift someone will smell my breath and be horrified - so they have to have a good scrub before I face anyone!
4) You've made some significant progress recently, have you got a secret to explain your recent performances?
I've certainly become more aware of when I can push myself and when I should just enjoy the run. I think the more relaxed about ties you are the better you can achieve.
5) What do you most enjoy about your Tilgate parkrun experience?
After my run I try and head down to the finish to encourage others across the line. I was that person once and I appreciate those that do it for me now and to be able to pass it on to others I hope helps.
6) Your Barcode, how do you remember yours and is it paper, laminated, permanent or other?
I've got the key fobs and the credit card one sealed onto the back of my phone. It's my way of never forgetting it. Although I've tried to pass the key fob one off as a supermarket loyalty card on more than one occasion.
7) Which volunteering role do you like best and why?
I've only done close down, set up and tail walking and they are all great - but there is something special about being in the park for set up. It's so peaceful and a real moment to reflect on how lucky we are to have this park in our town. I'm incredibly proud to come from Crawley and I've been lucky enough to work all over the world.
8) Do you have any particular parkrun goals or ambitions?
Simply to keep on enjoying it. And I'd love to do more tourism. I'm also determined to do a marathon in 2020.
9) Do you have a favourite parkrun moment?
Every week at Tilgate as I come down the hill at the Walled garden I call out to my Dad. He passed away in February 2018 and has a memorial plaque in the peace garden there. I always have to run on that side of the path so I don't shout in someone's ear - if I ever do I'd like to publicly apologise now.
But one individual moment stands out - it was the park run I never finished. I stopped to help a dog walker who's pet had suffered a stroke. I carried him back to her car from the lake. It showed me what the park run community was all about.
10) Has parkrun changed your attitude to running, fitness and general wellbeing?
Totally. I work in a pretty stressful job at times. I'm a journalist for the BBC and as I turned 50 in June 2017 I'd worked on some real horror stories in the run up to that milestone - the Manchester Area attacks, the London Bridge attacks, the borough market attacks and then Grenfell. I came home from that shift almost broken and I knew I couldn't carry on ignoring the feelings I had. Bear in mind I've also worked in war zones and in the aftermath of earthquakes and typhoons there was something very different for me about covering in particular Manchester and Grenfell. I know now I was suffering from PTSD. Running gave me that release from it. It's helped massively with my physical fitness but more important has been the mental health benefits I've received from doing it. I lost my brother in law suddenly and then my dad and running has not only helped me deal with that grief but it's turned into a massive positive as I ran the Stroke Association 10k and a half marathon in their memories. Every time I run I think of them.
11) What advice would you give to someone considering coming to Tilgate parkrun?
Do it - it's really true that anyone can and it's not all super thin athletes who will be miles quicker than you. The support and camaraderie is the best way to start your weekend.
12) Chevron or Middle path which hill do you prefer and why?
Chevron - I've only ever managed to run all the way up it twice, so I like to think of it as my short rest point. And I'm spurred on by the target to run up it regularly.
Well done Antony, and welcome into the Tilgate parkrun Hall of Fame