My name is Kathryn and I am 50.
I’d heard of parkrun from my friend Lisa who parkruns at Cairns, but when I’d looked into it there was not one close to where I live in South Australia. Then in August 2018 another friend Sally posted on Facebook that she had participated in the new Seacliff Esplanade parkrun which was right around the corner. Two weeks later I went along to event #4 and walked the 5km.
I was worried that it would be all super fit runners and I’d be a bit slow. I was a bit self conscious about not running, but I soon saw plenty of others walking and lots of friendly smiles.
I quickly became a regular, inspired to aim for a PB each week and I also got my two teenage sons Sam and Ben to come along with me. After a few weeks I started running for a bit and then walking some, trying to work up to jogging the whole 5km. I realised at parkrun it didn’t matter if I was a bit older, bigger or slower than others, it was about enjoying myself and hopefully getting fitter along the way.
A typical parkrunday for me involves getting up early, getting ready and then waking my boys up. We try to arrive by 7.45 at the latest so I can chat to my parkrun friends before the briefing.
I’ve tried a few volunteer roles, I think my favourite is Barcode Scanning but also enjoy Marshalling as you get to cheer everyone along. When we volunteer the boys enjoy pancakes for breakfast at the local surf club after parkrun.
I’ve had major health benefits from parkrun. Once I started jogging/running I had some initial weight loss. I was now jogging parkrun in around 35 minutes and stayed around that pace for most of 2019. At the end of the year, I decided that if I wanted to be faster I needed to lose weight and made a conscious effort to improve my diet and exercise more. In early 2020 I was getting PBs most weeks and when we shut down due to COVID my PB was down to 32 minutes. During 2020 I continued running despite not having parkrun.
Once some restrictions lifted our Run Director Yvonne suggested a group of us meet for running sessions during the week. It was good to get out and have that regular social contact especially while working from home. There were six of us women who would meet after work on Tuesday nights for interval training. These ladies have inspired, coached and encouraged me to do my first trail run event and in October 2020 and complete my first half marathon.
“There’s no doubt that the biggest gift from parkrun has been the friendships formed and sense of belonging to a local community.”
My desire to do better at parkrun led me to change my lifestyle and get healthier, during the year I lost 25kgs and have never felt stronger or happier within myself. I was hoping for a sub-30 minute parkrun when it returned in SA and was pleased to achieve this and now I have a PB of 27.36 (almost 20 minutes faster than my first parkrun).
Before I started parkrun I’d never run unless it was to catch a bus. Now I’m out most mornings before work and look forward to Saturday mornings because it’s parkrun day.
My advice is to not worry about what others might think, get out there and enjoy it, whether you want to run, walk the dog or meet a friend for a chat and walk. Put on a smile and get out there.
Since starting parkrun our family holidays have been planned around where we’ll be on Saturday mornings and we have done a bit of touristing in SA, Queensland, Northern Territory and Victoria. My goal this year is to get out and visit more of the local parkruns in SA, but my heart will always belong to Seacliff Esplanade parkrun.
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