News - 27th October 2022

Be yourself at parkrun

christine waller

Life begins at 40 is a catch cry I’d heard and I was never one embarrassed of having a birthday or sharing my age – in fact I enjoy celebrating everyone’s birthday and especially my own.


However due to some of life’s circumstances in my mid-forties when I thought I would be having the time of my life – things started to take a downward spiral. I was sad, numb, didn’t want to leave the house, couldn’t sleep and got to a very low point. So with the support of my husband we saw my GP. My GP journeyed with me as well as a psychologist and I was diagnosed with clinical depression and started on anti-depressants.


I initially struggled with needing medication until I realised that it was just one element that would help to lead to my wellness. In that moment it was such a relief in a sense to have a diagnosis for what was happening in me.


In the years that followed I have come to embrace my part in being proactive with my mental health included finding hobbies and exercise that I enjoy and I even started drinking coffee! I am a lover of all things jigsaws and all things parkrun. Engaging in hobbies tends to slow down my spiralling thoughts and helps me to be present in the moment and maintain good mental health.


The parkrun family has been in my life since 2015. It is a welcoming and safe space for me to come. I have made many friends as I have walked the course. People of all abilities are welcomed and celebrated and every time that I would go along to parkrun I would always feel better for the rest of the day.


You can be yourself at parkrun. Some weeks I’ve just come along at the end and joined friends for a cuppa – there’s no judgement that I haven’t participated in parkrun. They are just happy to see me! Other weeks I have really enjoyed being a parkrun volunteer and supporting the parkrun family.


Recently parkwalk has been highlighted at parkrun. When this was introduced, I was excited because I love walking the course, being present in the moment, koala spotting and chatting to people along the way while still getting my exercise, and I get excited for those out there running and enjoy cheering them on in their goals.


Here I am now at 50 years of age and I’m in a much better space within my life.


There are still days that are not smooth sailing (but hey! – we all have those right?) My depression will always be with me, but with the many supports I have in my life, including my parkrun community, its voice is a lot quieter and I am grateful.


If you ever come to Lochiel parkrun in South Australia you will be warmly welcomed and you just might see a koala!


Christine Waller

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