It’s been a long week, you may have even had a late night on Friday, but the weekend is finally here. Bliss! Bliss, that is, until you’re rudely awakened by an early morning alarm. ON A SATURDAY?! I’m sure I’m not alone in my occasional Saturday morning desire to throw the alarm across the room, roll over and go back to sleep.
So what is it that keeps us dragging ourselves out of bed early on a parkrunday to run, jog, walk or volunteer at a weekly 5km? I was curious, so I asked a handful of parkrun aficionados from around the globe for their favourite parkrun memories. With it being a physical event, you might be expecting to read tales of personal bests, head-to-head sprint finishes and milestones. But it turns out, that’s not why we parkrun at all…
Just discovering that I could do parkrun has been a major highlight! My son John introduced me to it – he’s a very good runner, and I was amazed to find that at age 70, I could take part too! 81 parkruns later, I’m still loving it! Since John moved to Canada, I chat to him every Saturday after I have completed my home run, so my very favourite parkrun moment was last May when we ran together, mother and son, at John’s new home parkrun, 4500 miles away from home. It was just magical and very special!
Margaret Roberts, Retired, UK. 80+ parkruns
I remember one Saturday, really pushing myself, feeling good and thinking in the back of my mind that I was totally nailing it. Then an 8 year old boy effortlessly cruised past me, running in cargo shorts and canvas shoes. I was shocked! But then I laughed at myself, and thought – good for you, kid! It truly goes to show that parkrun is for everybody, and you don’t need to have all the gear – or even be an adult – to take part.
Anna McNuff, Adventurer & Explorer, UK
The most memorable moment for me was a Saturday morning when it was pouring rain and freezing cold. I was so impressed that volunteers, local participants and tourists not only showed up, but were eager to take part despite the horrible weather. Everyone arrived wet and muddy at the finish line, but no-one let it dampen their spirits!
Valerie Gendron, Event Director, Frederic Back parkrun, Canada
I travel to a lot of different parkruns, but one sticks in my mind in particular – Ally Pally, 3 Dec 2011. As I came into the finish, I heard people calling my name. Various tourists I’d met out and about knew *me*! I hadn’t expected to find a community because I ran a different parkrun every week, but somehow I found one all the same.
Louise Ayling, notorious parkrun tourist and co-presenter of Free Weekly Timed podcast. 300+ parkruns (in 200+ different locations!)
One of my most memorable parkrun moments demonstrates the tenacity of our volunteers. Part of the route at our run was blocked by a tree that was blown over by strong winds. This was mid-winter – wet, dark and cold. There was just no way to get around it, as there is a stream on the one side and vineyards on the other. We couldn’t expect our parkrunners to leap over the tree. We had to come up with a plan and do so quickly! With an old axe from the farm’s toolshed and some brute force by two fellow volunteers, we managed to move the fallen tree from the route with minutes to spare!
Chris Visser, Event Director, Root 44 parkrun, South Africa
I’ve run so many parkruns, but my favourite moments have all been when volunteering at Junior parkrun on a Sunday. High-fiving all the kids as they run past, and seeing them smile back is unbeatable!
Teresa Stickland, UK
One sunny, autumn Saturday morning, I was keeping a steady pace and found myself on my own at one point of the course. Just as I was crossing a clearing of trees, a herd of deer bolted out in front of me! It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time, and made me appreciate the natural beauty of the forest and what a privilege it was to be able to parkrun there every week.
Naomi Barrie, UK
My favouite parkrun moment was our first time travelling Australian parkrunner who ran 2 parkruns in 1 day by crossing the international date line! I love it because it is the most extreme version of parkrun tourism, and shows parkrun’s truly global community
Jenna Bradley, Run Director, Richmond Olympic, Canada
With parkrun helping people young and old to make memories and achieve goals every single week, staying in bed on a Saturday morning no longer seems like such an appealing option. Beat the #FOMO and get down to your local parkrun this week!
Article by Becky Maybury, Event Director, Richmond Olympic parkrun
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