It was 2010 and a good friend, Jo, mentioned that Greenwich parkrun was being set up, near where I lived. As I was new to the area I thought it would be a good way to meet some new people and so I popped along to a training day for potential volunteers.
Little did I know that I’d walk away from that day agreeing to be the Event Director. I’d never taken part in parkrun or organised a running event!
Three weeks later I was a very nervous Run Director for the inaugural Greenwich parkrun. We had 18 finishers that day. Many of them were parkrun tourists but seven have gone on to become regulars at our event in Avery Hill Park.
Seven years on and I was lucky enough to receive an MBE from the Queen for services to emergency response and voluntary services to community sport in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. My role with Greenwich parkrun was a major reason why I was nominated by my peers for this award.
Greenwich parkrun is now a well-established event in south-east London, and often we attract more than 20 volunteers. Personally, I’ve also made a huge number of new friends.
But it’s not just me. There are a huge number of people that make Greenwich parkrun what it is and I’d like to dedicate this honour to them.
Huge thanks to my partner, Lauren, who was my co-Event Director for the first two years. Thank you for putting up with my constant parkrun talk! I also have to thank the Greenwich parkrun core team who make the role of Event Director so simple.
Finally, massive thanks have to go to Anita Afonso for convincing me to take up the Event Director role and, of course, to Paul Sinton-Hewitt for setting up parkrun all those years ago. It was an incredible experience to attend Buckingham Palace to receive my award – thank you for making that possible.
My daughter Alice is my reason for running. She has the CASK gene mutation, causing parts of her brain to be underdeveloped. Alice is non-verbal, visually impaired and is fed through a tube directly into her stomach for 16 hours a day. Alice also has epilepsy, scoliosis and poor muscle control. Despite all of this…
When Cardiff parkrun launched in 2008 it was the seventh event to join the parkrun family and the first outside of England. Following on from its 10th birthday last weekend, Event Director Phil Cook looks back on an event that has had a significant impact on the Welsh capital and blazed the trail for…