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News - 11th November 2021

That place where strangers become familiar faces


Feeling inspired by something a fellow parkrunner said to her, Caroline Southwell let her thoughts spill into a poem…



That place where strangers become familiar faces

and those known faces become the friends we never knew we needed.


Where some of us see the same people, week in and week out,

and some of us travel as far as we’re able to seek out new faces and new places

that inspire the mind and open the heart.


It’s that place where people encourage each other by default;

like it’s normal to be kind to others,

to lift others up with your words, your actions and your attention.


That place where we cheer just as loudly for the person,

who breaks 17 minutes for the very first time,

as for the person who huffs and puffs

and courageously struggles their way across the line in just under an hour.


This is the place where we applaud long time volunteers

and welcome new ones into our ranks.


Where we learn, maybe for the very first time,

the sheer joy that can come from contributing to support others.


It’s the place where we see the success of another

and we realise – their breakthrough was possible because of our support.


We come to realise how much we love being a part of a community,

a lifeline for others who may seem different from us

and who, over time, we recognise have far more in common with us than we first thought.


It’s that place where some of us run fast,

or run easy,

or walk fast,

or stroll with a friend to have that much needed catch up.


It is that place where we learn new skills as a volunteer,

or where we learn that speaking to a crowd of friendly faces isn’t so scary after all,

and where we regain our confidence to try new things.



That place where poetry and storytelling is allowed to land in newsletters ;)

where we learn things about ourselves we never knew before

and where we come to realise that so much more is possible than we ever imagined.


Caroline Southwell

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