My name is Adam Kisiel, I am a Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Australian Navy. I am an electronic technician currently posted to HMAS Warramunga in Western Australia. I have been in the Navy 24 years, I am 42 years old and I have had numerous postings around Australia and seagoing vessels. I have two young daughters and I am happy when they attend parkrun to see how normal it is starting the weekend in a fun and healthy way.
I have completed 96 parkruns, but when I started, running 5km was a real struggle.
I really got into running after my last operational deployment in 2018. I had just finished a nine month operational deployment and whilst ashore found myself running every few days during my lunch break to try and maintain some fitness and mental strength.
An officer I worked with told me all about parkrun and recommended it to me, but I was nervous and didn’t think I was ‘good enough’ to give it a go. He convinced me to try one Saturday morning and whilst significantly fitter then me, he ran with me the whole way encouraging and motivating me. I don’t think he knows how much he inspired and helped me to give it a go.
Once I saw how warm and nice everyone was, I was hooked. It is the best way to start the weekend – when I was trying to get faster it was my measuring stick to see if the work I had done during the week had helped. I encouraged other friends and family come, who have all become a part of the parkrun lifestyle. More importantly, the friends I have met and made directly from parkrun have been life changing. We encourage each other to just get out and give it a go, knowing the coffee at the end is worth it. I love that group so much.
parkrun has inspired me to run further and faster and I have used parkrun religiously in my training plan and within a year of starting running on a Saturday I had trained for and completed my first marathon. Something that will stay with me forever and would not have been possible without parkrun.
These days, parkrun for me is mainly about seeing friends every Saturday. During the COVID-19 lockdown last year we helped each other by still running when we could. We were physically distanced but socially connected and had a significant impact on our health and happiness.
Moving around with the Navy has given me the chance to do parkruns around Australia such as Hastings Foreshore in Victoria, Nepean River, Huskisson and Centennial parkruns in Sydney, and East Coast parkrun in Singapore. parkrun has given me the chance to see and run in places I would not have even thought about going to.
Now I am grateful for the lifelong friends I have made and the feeling of looking forward all week to a snappy 5k and seeing what people around me can achieve. The friends I have that run each Saturday are all different fitness levels, but we all get a real buzz from being apart of someone getting their own PB and smiling
I miss parkrun whilst at sea and away from home, but having a number of serving friends who participate we are already looking forward to parkrun in other locations when we get that chance.
I can’t recommend parkrun highly enough to serving members. I am not the quickest or the fittest but I find my mental health is strongest after a run and a catch up with some of the best people around. I can’t wait to run more parkruns around Australia (and eventually the world) and am looking forward to my 100th parkrun!
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