Name: Linda Whalley
Number of parkruns: 94
Favourite parkrun (other than Wycombe Rye, obviously!) and why:
Skatäs in Sweden, on my 65th birthday. A beautiful single lap course around a lake in a sports park just outside Gothenburg, with runners from England, Scotland, Iceland and of course a few Swedes, 32 of us in total.
Why did you start parkrunning:
I started running quite late in life. In 2016 I retired from teaching Art after 45 years (18 at the RGS) and decided that I no longer had any excuse not to try and get fit(ter). So I joined a Hazlemere Runners 0-5K group in March 2017. After completing this it took me a while to build the confidence to do a parkrun, but I eventually gave in to Nick Brewer’s nagging and did my first on 22nd July that year, with Nick running alongside and encouraging me all the way round, and of course I was hooked!
Number of volunteers: 12
Favourite volunteering role, and why:
Marshalling at the top of the Steps of Doom because I think that’s where most people need encouragement. I did token support once and dropped a whole set of tokens, the young lad I was ‘supporting’ was very kind to me.
Favourite/funniest parkrun memory:
Favourite was at Lyme Park (a challenging hilly, uneven course). I was about 40m from the finish line and struggling, I could hear someone running up behind me and was expecting to be overtaken any second, but when she got almost level with me she started to encourage me and stayed just behind me all the way to the finish. To me that encapsulated the ethos of parkrun.
Funniest was my 50th parkrun when Rae & Nick, fellow Hazlemere Runners, gave me a 5️⃣0️⃣ balloon to carry round with me in my role as tail walker. I was surprised at how many runners wished me a Happy Birthday!
What does Wycombe Rye parkrun mean to you:
It means a chance to meet up with lots of friends and club-mates of all running abilities; being encouraged by, and encouraging fellow runners. There is a real sense of community, and it’s a great way to start the weekend.
What do you miss about parkrun:
All of the above, it’s much harder to be motivated as a solo runner.
What running are you doing now:
I’m going out 3 times a week around my local area, usually running between 5K and 8K. My club have organised two running challenges (running on our own of course) during lockdown and these have given me some motivation, but I have struggled to go out some days, luckily the weather has been kind.
What is the best bit of running advice you have been given:
When I was progressing from 5 to 10K I was finding it hard, but then I was told run at YOUR pace and that enabled me to take a lot of pressure off myself. I accepted I can’t always keep up with runners 30-40 years younger than me!
What is your favourite run apart from parkrun:
I can’t decide between the Marlow 5, a nice fairly flat course with a great atmosphere, or Penn 7, which I did for the first time last year in a team of Hazlemere Runners Superheroes. We definitely entertained the locals that day.
What run would you most like to do in the future, and why:
London Winter 10K 2021, because it was cancelled this year due to storm Ciara.
What is your most essential/favourite piece of running kit, and why:
Probably my shoes, after running for my first 9/10 months in a 15 year old pair of Reebok Classics I was amazed what a difference good shoes make. Also, in winter, my gloves, I hate having cold hands.
What is your favourite/funniest running memory:
For the Silverstone last November we had a big club outing and 60+ of us travelled there by coach. It was a fairly uninteresting course and I was finding the last 2K or so hard going, but as I entered the final stretch before the finish line, I heard my Hazlemere Runners club-mates cheering and whooping, ringing bells and waving blue foam hands. This ‘forced’ me to make the final push, cutting 1 min 39 secs off my previous 10K PB.