Debbie Howe from Medibank’s Tech & Ops team completed her first parkrun last month. We recently spoke to Debbie about her motivation and parkrun journey.
How did you first hear about parkrun?
My local Healthy Mummy Facebook group host often posted notifications about meetups in Sunbury for parkrun. Then I returned to work after parental leave and realised that Medibank sponsored it, so it got me even more interested.
What prompted you to take up the challenge?
In November I was lucky enough to be accepted into an 8-week Live Better Intensive program offered by Medibank. This program was enlightening and offered me all sorts of epiphanies – one such epiphany was when one of the participants posted a pic of himself participating in a parkrun on the Yammer page. I wrote ‘We have one close enough for me to attend and deep down it’s a challenge to myself to actually get there one day rather than think about it’. It was at that point I decided I was doing it and I set myself a goal to do it by February.
Where was your first parkrun?
Sunbury… there were 105 participants! I was the14th female to finish, 38th overall, and 1st in my age group.
What most surprised you about your first parkrun?
The sense of community. At the start of the run, first-timers were asked to identify themselves. I was the only one and put my hand up thinking they were going to tell me what to do. Everyone cheered and clapped! They had awards for people and called out recognition for many participants and volunteers it was quite lovely. The organiser of this event came up to me at the end and we had a chat, she started the event to bring community together through her passion for running.
Hills would be the other thing. Although not surprised by ‘happy hill’ as I had heard about it through my facebook group I was surprised at its size and the fact that it kept going and going and going and going! The organiser at the end couldn’t believe I chose Sunbury as my first run given the hilly nature of the track. Going up the hill I wasn’t happy with Medibank for sponsoring such an event that put me in so much pain, but coming down that hill I was proud as punch to work at Medibank and had a smile from ear to ear.
So when’s the next one? Have you set yourself a goal?
I’ve set myself a goal and agreed with my partner that I’d do a park run every second Saturday. That’s what works for our family and I know if I keep it something casual I’ll continue to enjoy it and therefore continue to do it!
Any final words to encourage everyone across Medibank and ahm to jump out of bed on Saturday morning and get to their local parkrun?
parkrun for me was a step to getting some me time back into my life whilst doing something good for my health and wellbeing. It works on all fronts. I am not a seasoned runner, I probably fling my arms and legs the wrong way when doing it but I love it and reckon the adrenaline hit you get as a result is irreplaceable, what better way to kick off the weekend. I also love that my 3.5-year-old now goes to daycare telling people “my Mummy runs”, that tells me I’m setting some pretty good examples for him. What more motivation does one need!
These two photos show how lucky we are to have access to defibrillators at parkrun. 30 seconds after the first photo was taken Tanya went into cardiac arrest. Out for her regular Saturday morning run at Blackbutt parkrun, Tanya Barlow felt ‘a bit dizzy’ so sat down and that’s all she remembers. Luckily Blackbutt…
Mitch and his father never considered themselves runners, until they discovered parkrun. That lead them all the way to Hamburg to achieve something that neither thought would be possible. Wind back to October 2015 and I would loudly and proudly announce my disgust for organised running. There was nothing worse I could think of…