I first signed up to parkrun in May last year, determined to get active and lose weight, determined to go 5km around the Lillydale Lake. I was scared, nervous and for 4 months I couldn’t bring myself to do it as I wasn’t a runner and I didn’t want to be last or embarrassed because I couldn’t do it.
Fast forward to September 2017, I finally built up the courage to take the plunge, I arrived 7:45 at my local, nervously watched and joined to start. I only managed to make one lap that day, but the community was so welcoming and supportive – people smiling at me or saying ‘good job mumma’, as I pushed my 9-month-old and 4-year-old in the pram.
Weeks later I took a chance on me, I returned again in the hope to make 2 laps this time, no matter how long it took me, as I’d seen last time I tried how supportive people were on the track. Again I had my two girls with me in the pram and again fellow parkrunners were so supportive with their smiles, words of encouragement and offering to help me with the pram. This time I made the two laps with a little bit of jogging, was so proud of finishing it in 47:45. I honestly could not have done it without the support of the parkrun community cheering me on.
Each week I pushed myself. Each week I got stronger and faster and more confident. I met some lovely ladies who helped me worked on my technique, who helped me with the pram at times, who helped me mentally tackle running and walking the track, setting goals and conquering them. I met some great people who each week smiled and asked how I’d gone at the finish line. These positive experiences kept bringing me back – rain or shine. Even miss 5 has joined in on parkrun (and volunteered with me) seeing how much mummy loves it.
I have made some amazing friends at parkrun and am now one of the ‘regulars’. I’ve just hit 31 parkruns and set a PB of 28:43 just this week. From someone who 7 months ago couldn’t make 5kms, to someone who has shaved almost 19 minutes off my first time, and lost 20kgs on the journey. I am so happy, proud, in love with parkrun and the beautiful, supportive community that goes with it. It doesn’t matter if you run, walk, jog or dance it – parkrun is welcoming to all!
Lena Charles and Bonnie Smith are Health Promotion Officers (and Best Friends) at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) in Melbourne. They are passionate and love empowering their Aboriginal community to make healthy lifelong changes. One way they do this is by promoting the benefits of parkrun. They love spending their Saturday mornings at parkrun…
I first signed up to parkrun in May last year, determined to get active and lose weight, determined to go 5km around the Lillydale Lake. I was scared, nervous and for 4 months I couldn’t bring myself to do it as I wasn’t a runner and I didn’t want to be last or embarrassed because…