Maija-Liisa Ström, is 82 years young and loves jogging, in fact quite a few kilometers every week: “Younger people think too easily that we older people can’t do this or that”, says Maija-Liisa. She is a regular figure at Tampere parkrun in Finland and well liked by everyone there.
People with colourful clothes are assembling at her regular Tampere parkrun which is shortly about to start. She wishes that people in her age could get the courage and come and test parkrun, “You should get a hobby before it is too late”, she adds.
“It is a common preconception amongst our generation that an 80-year old shouldn’t be active. I don’t think like that” says Maija-Liisa. Ström is a pensioner and is the oldest parkrunner at this event, although his time she didn’t come to exercise but instead to meet parkruns’ founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt.
“parkruns aims to help people who aren’t in such a good shape, healthy or wealthy. People who run fast attend but what is so great about this event is that an 82 year old grandmother is also able to take part”, Sinton-Hewitt says.
It’s ok to go slow
It takes about an hour to walk 5 km and many younger parkrunners goes past her, but going slow doesn’t mind her.
One parkrunner said that they dared to participate because they saw from the website that there were also people who go slower
Ström says that the great sense of community brings her week after week to parkrun. Many of her friends have got sick and some have died, so she embraces the chance to make new friends.
Ström thinks that older people stay too easily at home by themselves.
“Our generation has better physical condition than our mothers or grandmothers. Young people too often think that we can’t manage this or that. We stay the same but are able to do many things.”
Ström survived from a stroke and she thinks that it’s good to get involved into something before age brings sickness. “Physical activity comes naturally with parkrun and not just because your physical therapist says so.”
Drinking a cup of coffee afterwards is an essential part of the parkrun concept. For Maija-Liisa , even though walking slower than others, she still gets to talk people during coffee afterwards.
“It’s always a great way to end the event,” she says.
Thanks to Aamulehti for allowing us to use their article, translation by Johanna Riippi, Tampere parkrun
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