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Step 29 – I went to parkrun

Walking had made a big difference and, alongside my many other small steps contributed to transforming my life. I’d heard about Parkrun and when one was started about 20 miles from us I went along. All the usual anxieties and doubts surfaced about being the slowest, looking ridiculous and so on; I was used to them by now and told myself to go anyway.

Parkrun is a free to join weekly 5 Km route on Saturday morning and is open to people of all running and walking ability. It’s timed too so you can monitor your progress from week to week if you’d like. At the Parkrun I went to, we had to go twice around part of the route. It was a lovely setting by a river in countryside. Everyone was very welcoming, and they were all ages and all shapes and sizes.

I’ve been to a few different ones now and find the same at each. People are very encouraging of one another from the first finisher to the last and it is clear that many people look forward to it as the start of their weekend. Some run, some jog slowly and some walk, some with buggies or dogs. It isn’t all about exercise, there’s quite a social aspect to it as well with people staying on for coffee and a chat afterwards.

Talking to people, some have stories of weight loss, helped by other Parkrunners commenting positively from week to week on how well they are doing; others have started running to help improve newly diagnosed problems such as high blood pressure.

Parkruns are organised by volunteers. If you’re interested and you wanted to see what it is all about but not necessarily take part in the run, then you could go along and volunteer at your local Parkrun. They’d be delighted to see you.

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