Mary Davey came to Sligo parkrun in January 2017 and set out to walk her first parkrun. By the summer she had joined the core team, and took on the role of Run Director for the first time in December 2017. At the same time she joined a Couch 2 5k group and by early 2018 she completed her first 10 mile road race. Now a regular volunteer and parkrunner, Mary shares her own story hoping that it will motivate others.
After losing an incredible seven and a half stone with Slimming World, Mary Davey reluctantly agreed to attend Sligo parkrun with her husband who had been a parkrunner there since the early days.
Mary was un-enthusiastic to say the least. She had never been a fan of exercise, she had no desire to try it and she thought people who enjoyed it were mad! However, she begrudgingly turned up in the freezing cold on 21 January 2017 and set off walking. A few hundred metres in (and she still doesn’t know why…) she decided to try to run a little bit. Lo and behold she found herself thinking “actually, this isn’t too bad. I’ll go as far as I can and then walk again to get my breath back”. She continued like this, running a bit, walking a bit and 37 minutes later she was back at the finish line with a huge smile on her face.
She said afterwards that “the support from the volunteers and the other runners and walkers on the way around made a huge difference. Just when I thought I would have to give up, a voice from somewhere would say “you’re doing great”, “you’re nearly there” or “keep going” which gave me the encouragement I needed to keep going.” She had been well and truly bitten by the exercise bug – finally she could understand what people were talking about!
The following week she was back at the start line, and had already challenged herself to see if she could get around a little bit quicker. From then on Mary continued to take part, either by running or volunteering as often as possible given her time constraints as a busy self-employed mum of two teenagers.
Later that year the Event Director put out a plea for help, the core-team really needed more members to step up and join them. Mary answered that call, and before long she was doing her first stint as Run Director. On that first day, the Sligo parkrun course record was smashed by local athlete Emmett Dunleavey, who knocked two minutes off the previous record. Mary still reckons this was down to her inspiring pre-run briefing!
Since then Mary has been Run Director on a number of special parkruns, which has even seen her dressed up as Mrs Claus and The Easter Bunny.
After finding her unexpected love of exercise through parkrun, Mary joined a Couch to 5k club and started putting in some serious training which culminated in her taking part in the Cara Bundoran 10 Mile Run in March 2018. She was so thrilled to cross the finish line. “I couldn’t believe that I ran 10 miles without stopping, as three years earlier I was seven stone heavier and couldn’t go up the stairs without getting out of breath”.
Mary has continued to run at parkrun and at Couch to 5k, and has a few more long distance runs planned in the near future. She credits parkrun with lighting the spark that has led to her new active outdoors life, which is completely and utterly different to how her life was before.
To anyone who is thinking that exercise isn’t for them Mary says “come along and try it, you’d never know how it might change your life!”
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