This is where our story starts, with my mum (on the left). She has always been active – a swimmer at state level and she represented Australia orienteering in her youth. After she had me, having only ever done a half marathon, she took up running again and has gone on to do eight marathons.
At some point in her running career, she got taken along to a parkrun in Brisbane by some friends. She loved it, but sadly there wasn’t an event in our native Townsville (North Queensland, Australia) to go to. Thankfully in 2013, Riverway parkrun in Townsville was born and mum and I went along to the first event. Being a teenager and the fact that parkrun in Queensland starts at 7am, I didn’t really keep up with my mum who’s done a whopping 168 parkruns and volunteered on 48 separate days. Me on the other hand, I’ve done a modest 41 parkruns and volunteered on eight separate days – most of which have been in the past year. My mum is a run director, was an interim event director and a force of nature. She is the most joyous person I know and gleefully cheers on runners while she’s both volunteering and running herself. She’s able to start as a one woman cheer squad and by the end have everyone in the surrounding area joining in too, myself included. She’s my role model and parkrun inspiration.
I moved back to Scotland in 2014 and had done a few runs here and there but couldn’t really get myself out of bed in the morning – there’s a trend here! After going home to Oz in early 2017 and being jetlagged enough to make it to a few parkruns, I decided to continue the trend after returning to Edinburgh. One of my flatmates had taken up running and was curious after I’d gone the first week back, so I brought her along the next week to give it a go. Then a small chain reaction started. We kept going together every week, as we had that incentive of knowing the other person was going to commit so you had to get up and have your porridge and hop in the car. Another of my flatmates had taken up running on her year abroad in France, and as she doesn’t like feeling left out, when she returned home to Scotland she started going to Perth parkrun with her dad.
I met my boyfriend in April last year, and despite telling me adamantly that he wasn’t a runner, he decided that if he accompanied me on my runs he would get to spend more time with me and consequently we ran the Great Scottish Run 10k together – along with both of the aforementioned flatmates. He comes to parkrun too. Friends of my flatmates have now come along to parkrun and after seeing plenty of my #loveparkrun posts on Instagram. I’ve encouraged curious yet tentative people to give it a go too! As a flat, there’s now only one flatmate who’s not attending parkrun with us – but we’re slowly convincing her to come along as well.
When I first started coming to Portobello parkrun I had never been able to crack a sub-30 5k. It felt like an unreachable goal. Now, I’ve managed a sub-29 (at Perth parkrun, sorry Porty!) and I’ve cut my PB at Portobello from 33:38 to 29:06. I’ve had a belter of a time, patted plenty of dogs, cooed at babies, celebrated my 21st birthday by getting a PB, made myself very well known to Andy our photographer by smiling big and jumping lots, and made it onto the Facebook page cover photo (I’m the one pulling the terrible face in purple but that’s okay). Myself and my flatmates have recently started volunteering at the Meadows junior parkrun and I hope to become a run director there soon. All because my mum has more enthusiasm than a dog at dinner at time.
Pictured left to right are my mum (Kristine Tracey), my boyfriend (Joaquim Goffin), me, the flatmate who was abroad (Catriona Cameron), the flatmate who first started coming with me (Mhairi Macdonald).
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…
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