News - 19th April 2021
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Microcosm of humanity

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Annette Lee loves parkrun and when the pandemic hit, her world changed forever with the loss of her parents. Looking to find stability in her weekly routine, the love of her free, weekly, timed 5km event only strengthened and she now considers it “part of her family”. 

 

I know I won’t be alone in saying the last twelve months have been tough, and without the release I normally feel at my weekly parkrun, the antidote to the feelings of isolation and boredom were taken away.

 

So, when my eight week old pup decided 4.30am was the new 7am, there were no excuses to put off a return to parkrun.

 

In all honesty, I needed parkrun badly, but I didn’t realise how much until I rounded the corner and saw the familiar sight of runners gathering.

 

Fellow parkrunners will know that feeling. Scanning the crowd to see the semi-serious, the mums and dads who dragged the kids out of the house to start an active weekend, the dogs raring to go, the beginners who just want to see what they can achieve in the comfort of a parkrun event: it’s a microcosm of humanity. A family.

 

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The parkrun family means so much to me, but it wasn’t just COVID-19 that took so much of my ‘norm’ last year. My mum and dad died aged 81 and 88 within 16 weeks of each other.

 

Exercise has always been my ‘go-to’ in times of stress but the loss of both parents, despite being expected, was devastating. My grief felt like a lead weight.

 

But, on Saturday morning, my first parkrun back was joyous. The mud on the field, the hum of the crowd, the fresh Autumn air and the run itself: the best feeling I have had for a while.

 

I’m normally quite competitive with myself and occasionally others in my age group but not today. Today was all about the family.

 

My parents were never runners and always thought it was weird I ran when my car could take me where I needed to go, but even they got to experience parkrun last week because I “took them with me” as I ran: they too joined the parkrun family.

 

Since parkrun’s inception, it has been a lifeline of normality across the globe for all kinds of runners and walkers. I’m sure it’s saved many lives, improved the physical and mental well-being of those who attend and bought people together with a common desire to be out in the open, forget about the stresses of daily life, forge new friendships, set new goals and just enjoy being alive.

 

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Annette Lee

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