My running journey began at Naas parkrun three years ago after my son-in-law signed me up.
At 52 years of age I had never run before and initially I struggled around every corner. But everyone was so brilliant at encouraging me that I continued to come and continued to improve. I began entering races and really enjoyed them too. Watching my times improve was fun, and when I looked in the mirror my only competition was staring back at me.
Just as important for me was the social aspect and this has proved to be life-changing. Naas parkrun quickly became a family, I made friends and I looked forward to every Saturday morning. I never felt inferior even though I didn’t consider myself an athlete. I am an anxious person and quickly discovered that exercise helped to treat my personal issues.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing either. I’ve had injuries too, but volunteering at parkrun is a fantastic way to stay involved and keep in touch with the parkrun community.
Over time I progressed to half marathons and doing extra training in the gym. Then when an opportunity came up to tell my story to be in with a chance of being sponsored by a major shoe store to run a marathon, I jumped at the chance. To my fear and delight I won the competition, and I will be running the Dublin Marathon later this year.
There are six of us from all walks of life, and I am the oldest but that’s not an issue. Age is just a number. The challenge of running 42.2k is very exciting, especially when I think back to three years ago when I struggled around Naas parkrun for the first time.
To anyone reading this who is nervous about taking part in parkrun for the first time, I’d like to reassure you that you will receive a warm welcome. Moving your body is great, meeting new people is great, and it’s never too late to start.
I show with pride that running and keeping active is good for everyone’s health and wellbeing, and with the support from my friends and family and Naas parkrun I hope to cross the marathon finish line safely.
parkrun has changed my life for the better. I will be eternally grateful to the people at Naas parkrun for helping me improve my emotional wellbeing – life doesn’t change, but I feel stronger and more prepared to deal with whatever life throws at me.
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