News - 8th October 2020

27 weeks of (not)parkrun dedication!


Team Spencer, as they are known at The Ponds parkrun, are a typical parkrun family. They are always present on Saturday mornings either volunteering or running. What is exceptional about this family however, is their flair for creative dress-ups during parkrun special occasions. Lisa shares how her family have been coping since March 2020, when parkrun went on pause.


“It’s been so much fun watching through the compilation, remembering again all the things that have happened over the past six months.


Week one, we just managed to get out and stroll together. Our heads were so full of everything that was just starting to happen. Getting out as a family to log a “virtual parkrun” with the newly created #socialdistancerunning Facebook group was great. It was comforting to hang on to something normal (even if not in the normal way). We skipped The Great Big parkrun Quiz this first week because I think it was on at the same time we were heading out for our 5K.


In week two, we did the quiz all in bed before heading out for our 5K. From Week three onwards, we joined Vassos, Matthew and Mary on YouTube every Saturday night at 6pm. All four of us gathered around the computer arguing/guessing/shrugging our shoulders over whether there were more registered parkrunners named Mary than Matthew, or how many double-decker buses lined up will make 5K, or whether parkrun was older or younger than iPhones or YouTube.


As the weeks went on we have variously worn official milestone shirts. The parkrun fairy delivered some arbitrary milestone shirts. We’ve worn the propeller hats for special occasions – the littlest member of Team Spencer wears his most weeks. We’ve run some and walked some, completed freedom runs and just random courses from the front door. We sometimes chased street signs or other challenges. We completed the ‘Couch to 5K’ program and I have run the whole course for the first time in 5 years of parkunning!


It was great that our tween has been compliant in the family routine of capturing a weekly jumpshot. We loved seeing him do so with his own added flair every week. Both kids have run sub-30 minutes – a first time for the little one. I’ve mended a “broken bum-hammy” and “twanged calf”, we’ve waved to lots of familiar faces week after week, counted all the Wallies and Wandas, seen painted rocks, snakes, ducklings and swooping magpies, and are patiently waiting for the safe return of parkrun when the time is right.


I wouldn’t say we are necessarily parkrun-obsessed. Posting our weekly 5K #socialdistancerunning runs for weeks one to 13, logging (not)parkrun every week since week 14 and the parkrun quiz provided the continuity and the structure through the craziest year yet! These faux parkrun experiences has been so helpful and comforting in their simplicity. Because of these, my family generally have a positive experience despite the lockdown and the restrictions brought about by COVID-19.



We really appreciate the flexibility of not being tied to the 8am parkrun kick-off. But every weekend we have called “3, 2, 1 …(not)parkrun!” at some point on most Saturday mornings. It has been fun. But yes, we are eager to welcome back the real parkrun as soon as it is deemed safe and appropriate to do so.


Is it time yet??”


Lisa Spencer 

The Ponds parkrunner

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