While seasoned parkrunners around the world are missing their Saturday fix, Parkville parkrunner John Stone is bucking the trend as a complete newbie who can’t wait for parkrun to return.
John, 64, has always been a runner, but only took up parkrunning in January. After having emergency surgery in 2017 to remove a brain tumour – and having to learn to walk again before he could even think about building up to a run, he heard about parkrun and decided to register and give it ago. He was able to squeeze in five parkruns – all at Parkville – before the coronavirus closed all events around the world.
Realising immediately it was an event he loved and would frequent, the parkrun tourism bug bit early and he looked up to see if there would be any parkruns for a trip he had planned to the United States in March. Then the world was turned upside down. “I took my barcode to the States. But we got there and everything had closed down. We had to cut our holiday short and coming back through an airport in the US, I actually picked up the coronavirus,” John said.
John was one of the fortunate ones in that he had one day of a “bad flu” with aches, pains and a temperature then about five days of fatigue. After quarantine, recovering from the virus and coming out of isolation, John’s mind went straight to parkrun… “I wanted to get out there and do a short run.”
“I’m now running every second day, and in my mind is parkrun. I want to stay fit for it. It’s still providing me with an incentive and motivation to keep at it. The fire is still burning there for me,” John said.
John said when he went to his first parkrun, he was “instantly caught up” in it. “The event atmosphere, being community-based from the ground up and non-competitive, but still having the feeling of an event – and being weekly, it gave me the encouragement to keep going along.”
John said he attributes his recovery from both the brain tumour and the coronavirus to his excellent physical health and cardio and pulmonary fitness, which he puts down to always having been a runner and more recently, a parkrunner. “If you want to get out of hospital quickly, stay fit,” John said.
John said despite being so new to parkrun, he was thankful to everyone who made it possible – volunteers, runners and walkers. “Thank you to everyone who makes this an event to look forward to. I will be at the first parkrun when it resumes in Melbourne,” John said.
John said the desire to use his barcode in other locations was still there and he hoped to return to the US for a parkrun as well as other parts of Melbourne.
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