Name: Statia O’Carroll
Occupation: HR Business Partner Vhi
Local parkrun: Kilkenny
Number of parkruns completed: 35 and volunteered 70+
How did you get involved in parkrun?
I’m not the sporty type and I was looking for a way to include some enjoyable exercise in my weekly routine. I joined ‘Meet & Train’ in the Watershed Kilkenny where I met Grainne Kelly whom I knew from my Loreto days and she asked me would I volunteer and help at a parkrun which she was setting up. I said “yes, sure whatever, count me in and I will help” not having thought too deeply about what I was volunteering for, but thought I wouldn’t see my school friend stuck. Little did I know at the time how much enjoyment I would get through exercise, meeting interesting people from all corners of the world, whilst making some great friends locally.
What do you love about parkrun?
The 3 ‘P’s …..People, Pastime and Park – (Kilkenny Castle Park)
Who do you participate with?
My husband in recent times, we go together, unfortunately we don’t share the same PB, he is much faster, so anyone who is at my pace on the day! That’s the great thing about parkrun, you can arrive alone, but if you make the effort to be sociable you will always meet someone to walk, jog or run with who will encourage you along to the finish. If you want to do it alone, that’s fine also.
How has parkrun impacted positively on your family outside of 9:30am on a Saturday?
Leading by example. It’s great to see families out together with their friends, grandparents, children and babies in buggies setting a good example for a healthy lifestyle.
Do you have a health or fitness goal?
Due to a minor foot injury, I walk at parkruns when I am not volunteering in other ways. But when it’s fully recovered I hope to get back running more at parkrun and one day catch up on my husband’s PB! That’s the great advantage to parkrun, you don’t have to be a serious runner/jogger, though we do have many triathlon participants involved who share their training knowledge willingly. There is the opportunity to walk and you always meet great people along the way from all over Ireland and the world. Also, age is not an issue. I have met an 87-year-old while the youngest I met were both born four days after the parkrun!
Who is your dream parkrun running buddy?
My better half of course, if only I was a little faster to keep up with him… someday perhaps?
What was your best parkrun experience?
There are lots every weekend, but a group of us travelled to the beautiful Bere Island last year to do their parkrun and this year to the scenic Sligo parkrun.
What was the funniest parkrun moment?
A new participant was at Kilkenny parkrun and said he had tried to contact the Kilkenny parkrun office but it must have been closed. We had to explain he was standing in it! That’s the beauty of parkrun, its voluntary and there is no office for every parkrun but it’s the generosity of parkrun participants with a common interest of exercise and volunteering, who have contributed to parkrun growing organically using one laptop and staying on after the event to load up the results over a cup of tea/coffee in a nearby restaurant. Visitors/tourists will join us and stories are shared.
What advice would you give to someone who’s never been to parkrun?
Don’t be shy. Bite the bullet, register online, print your barcode and rock up to your nearest parkrun 15 minutes early as they start with a welcome five minutes before the 9.30am start. Before you know it, you will be aiming to be a few seconds faster the following week, while networking with a community of friends and contacts from all walks of life. Once you start, the words PB (personal best) becomes part of your weekend. You are not competing with anyone but yourself. Remember no matter how slow you go, there is always someone on the couch slower.
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