My parkrun journey started in 2016 when my beautiful partner (Kathy) suggested we try out this new community 5km run along the Torrens in Adelaide. Little did I know what an inspiring journey I was about to embark on and how much it was going to become a part of my everyday life.
2 ½ years later after several injuries, lots of sweat, 2 pairs of runners and some fantastic runs in South Australia, Queensland and Victoria I recently achieved my 100th milestone at my home “dojo” at Torrens. Ojo, I will be bringing my mojo with pride to your dojo.
During my involvement with parkrun, I have come to appreciate what the true spirit of this fantastic community event is. First and foremost its FREE with the only requirement you come each week to run, jog, walk, bring your dog, compete in a wheelchair, whichever suits your style and every now and then you join the volunteer ranks.
parkrun is a great way to join a group who share the same inspiration to be fit and enjoy some time outdoors.
From a personal perspective, I have had some ups and downs with injuries but managed to run through the pain (literally) where I am now running pain-free and training during the week and my times have dropped from high 24s to my current PB in the high 20s. It goes to show that even in your 50s (and much older for some parkrunners) you can run and improve your time and importantly your health.
What really is the inspiration for me and my family and friends who have joined Kathy and I on this parkrun journey is that no matter your ability, shape, size, age or mobility you can join in and we ALL run, jog or walk 5kms. While for most of us it’s an exhausting activity, the endorphin rush you feel when you finish and maybe set a new PB is priceless. I can honestly say I have not seen one sad face at the finish! Lots of red sweaty ones but all smiles (once you have breath back of course).
The community spirit then extends to volunteering and giving back once in a while to help the event keep running. Families can run together, dogs and pushers are welcome and it is entirely up to you how fast or slow you go as in the end, everyone covers the same distance.
Another fascinating aspect of the parkrun experience is you can become a parkrun tourist as we have, where now when we plan a trip, the first item on the agenda is where is the nearest parkrun! Next year we hope to go international and run Bushy Park the birthplace of parkrun which also happens to be very close to my actual birthplace. Not satisfied with that goal, you can also chase the parkrun alphabet and who knows what other interesting goals you can set yourself.
For myself, there are now three certainties in life… the sun will come up and go down and parkrun once a week.
If I stay healthy then who knows, 100 will turn into 200, 250, 500 and just maybe I might reach my 2000 milestone by my 95th birthday. Now that’s what I call a healthy goal to set.
A big thank you to all the Run Directors and the army of volunteers at Torrens and all the other runs we have completed so far, but most of a huge thank you to my gorgeous partner Kathy Wescombe for starting me on this amazing parkrun journey. Long live the parkrun spirit!!
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