In October 2014 posters advertising a ‘parkrun’ began to appear around our local town and on social media. Not having any running experience prior to this, running wasn’t something we ever saw ourselves doing and definitely not getting out of bed on a Saturday morning to do! However, curiosity got the better of us and we decided to go to Cootehill’s second parkrun on 8 of November 2014.
So on a cold, wet winter’s morning armed with our barcodes we set off for Halton’s Amenity Park. We walked and jogged our way around the 5k route and reached the finishing line with times of 39:42 and 39:48, respectively. Not bad for two beginners! Aches and pains the following day did nothing to encourage us back to the next parkrun, but the pains quickly disappeared and we had been bitten by the parkrun bug.
Three and a half years later on 10 February 2018 we completed our 100th parkrun together. Alanna (12) was the first junior to reach this milestone at Cootehill parkrun and the run director and volunteers presented her with a special cake to mark the occasion. It was a wonderful feeling crossing the finish line together, “mother and daughter duo” – a real sense of pride and achievement.
During the past few years we have set and broken personal bests – our current PBs of 27:05 and 26:26 are a long way off our first times in 2014 and now we both manage to run the whole 5k. Holidaying in the sunny south-east didn’t stop us from doing our weekly parkrun, and we were delighted to swap the forest trails of Cootehill parkrun for the sand dunes and promenade of Tramore parkrun. On Christmas Eve 2016 we completed Kilkenny parkrun in the Castle Park while staying in the area.
parkrun has given us so much. The amount of friends we have both made by joining the parkrun community has been fantastic – the chat and banter every week is great – there is a real sense of camaraderie amongst the regulars and a warm welcome is always offered to visitors every Saturday morning. We cheer each other on, sympathise with those who are carrying injuries and celebrate when new PBs are achieved.
From never having run 5k we now find ourselves signing up to 5k races and partaking in charity runs. Presently we are looking forward to the Operation Transformation 5k fun run in the Phoneix Park on 24 February where we will both be running and cheering on the Operation Transformation leaders.
We can’t recommend parkrun enough. parkruns only happen because local people volunteer on a regular basis, something we’ve both done over the years.
Thank you to all at Cootehill parkrun for providing us with the opportunity to spend mother and daughter time together each week.
Alanna and Karen Pepper
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