Corey Simmons began parkrunning at age 13, at Albert Melbourne, in December 2011.
Very early on, he was drawn to the inclusiveness and supportive nature of parkrun, and Saturday fast became his favourite day of the week.
My first two years of parkrunning were typical of someone my age, I’d go out too hard in the first kilometre, only to fall behind the rest of the pack as my energy waned. After seeing my times plateau, I started more consistent midweek training runs and achieved a new sub20 PB in 2014. Seeing that time on my watch was exhilarating.
In 2015, after training on the treadmill, I suffered an episode which saw me hospitalised.
The doctors thought it was my heart and demanded I stop running. I was devastated. After investigation, it was decided my heart was fine and I was able to resume running but my first run after the incident, I knew something wasn’t the same. I didn’t feel right and for the first time had to take walk breaks.
Each run became worse than the previous. One week, at the 3km marker, I thought I wasn’t going to finish and with the help of other parkrunners, I managed to walk the rest of the way. I was in and out of hospital multiple times, with tests coming back clear and doctors stating my issues were “in my head”.
In 2016, I received a diagnosis of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), a condition that causes abnormal heart rate, dizziness and fluctuating blood pressure, as well as chronic fatigue syndrome. This made so much sense to me as exercise and daily living tasks were completely exhausting me. I learnt that exercise is one of the best treatments for these conditions.
Since 2017, Newborough has been my home parkrun. I managed to achieve my 250th parkrun there and continued to push through many challenges with the support of family, friends and my parkrun family.
I returned back to training during COVID-19 restrictions and noticed a lift in my health. When parkrun reopened, I felt a renewed sense of hope for my running. Unfortunately by mid-2021, my health took a significant nosedive.
It was one of the hardest times I faced yet but I kept pushing through and reached my 400th parkrun.
It would be easy to see me at parkrun and think I look like the most miserable person there but in reality, there’s still no place I’d rather be.
Battling chronic illness has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I am hopeful my illness will not plague me forever. My plan is to keep going with parkrun and achieve my 500th milestone.
A recent research paper published in the academic journal Psychology, Health and Medicine has highlighted the wide-ranging benefits of parkrun for those living with a mental health condition. The impacts were found to be greatest for those who walk or run, as well as volunteer. A team of researchers undertook a detailed analysis of…
Five kilometres. 5,000 metres. 500,000 centimetres. 5,000,000 millimetres. 3.1 miles. However you think of it, parkrun is the same distance every week. However, some weeks it can feel a lot, lot longer! Here are five mental tricks you can use to make your weekly parkrun feel like a walk, jog or run in the…