Each week Co-op will be featuring guest bloggers to tell us about their experiences first-hand. Stephen Chapman is not only a Co-op Store Manager but is also a co-event director at Dewsbury parkrun. Stephen gives us an insight into his parkrun family.
I work as the store manager of the Co-op petrol station and food store in Roundhay on the outskirts of Leeds and in my spare time I also support my local parkrun in the position of co-event director. Both Co-op and parkrun are a major part of my life and I’m proud to be a part of both!
Since starting parkrun back in April 2012 I have taken part in 260 parkruns and have been lucky enough to visit 40 different events so far, from Edinburgh to Guildford – although I still haven’t managed to tick off the closest parkrun to my house but it is definitely on my to do list. There are so many beautiful and varying parkruns across the UK; my favourite locations so far have been Fountains Abbey, Dalby Forest and Sewerby Park, but no matter where you take part, it is the fellow runners and volunteers who make the experience so special. parkrun never ever fails to amaze me, it is such a special community that truly is all inclusive.
I’m relatively new to Co-op after joining just six months ago, however upon joining it reminded me of parkrun with the strong sense of community and passion for championing a better way of doing business. My store is very active in supporting the local community and I know this is the same across the length and breadth of the UK, which is what makes this partnership so special. It is so rewarding to know that I am supporting my local community at work and also at the weekends and I’m really excited for how this partnership will develop.
I have been on the core team at parkrun Dewsbury since it launched with 30 participants. It has been an amazing journey supporting it to grow to over 170 participants every week. I have always been in involved in the volunteering and planning meetings at Dewsbury so it was a natural step up to co event director over a year ago. I have volunteered for 222 days now and I absolutely love it, my fellow volunteers and runners have become close friends and we’ve formed new friendship groups. parkrun isn’t just about running, it is about socialising, enjoying exercise and having fun.
parkrun is a real family affair. My first parkrun was part of my sons 18th birthday party celebrations when his godfather dragged me along the day after – but I was hooked. Even on the morning of my daughter’s wedding I managed to squeeze in a parkrun, although I missed the most important part, the post run coffee and chat. I can’t wait until August when my granddaughter is old enough to take part – we will have four generations of my family running on the one day!
When John Ramsden turned 70 he marked the occasion by walking 700 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End. 15 years later he has added the parkrun 250 Club to his list of achievements. We asked this former London cabbie, who has been running since the 1960s, to share his secret of running longevity…
People have been asking me a lot lately why I am always taking photos at parkrun and never actually running, so I thought I would explain how not being able to run has helped me fall in love with volunteering. After a successful marathon last year, and running parkrun through the winter, I fractured…