Sandy and Brian Watt are a couple in their 50s who, sixteen months ago, NEVER went running. Today, they barely miss a parkrun. How did this transformation happen?
16 MONTHS AGO
WIFE: “I have heard about this thing called parkrun.”
HUSBAND: “This sounds like a lot of effort, what is it?”
WIFE: “It’s just once a week, every Saturday, and you run 5km.”
HUSBAND: “5km! Are you kidding me. When was the last time we ran 5km?”
WIFE: “My friend has been going regularly and wants us to come along.”
HUSBAND: “But you know that I enjoy my Saturday morning quiet routine.”
WIFE: “We don’t have to run. We can also walk or jog. You also download a barcode and get your time and can compare it to everyone else around the world.”
HUSBAND: “I don’t think I am going to bother as I already hit the gym 3 times a week.”
WIFE: “Too bad, I have already set us up at PARKRUN.CA. Here is your barcode. We are going on Saturday.”
HUSBAND: “If we must, but I am only going once just to say I did it.”
(and 47 parkruns later)
HUSBAND: “Good morning, time to get up, here’s your morning coffee.”
WIFE: “What are you doing up so early?”
HUSBAND: “Come on, its Saturday and parkrun is in a couple of hours!”
WIFE: “What’s the rush?”
HUSBAND: “We need to get there in time to warm up and have a great run today.”
HUSBAND AND WIFE: “This is the best thing we have ever done!”
My husband, Brian and I first heard about parkrun a few weeks after it began in North Bay, about sixteen months ago. Our very good friend, Erin Fettes, told me about it. She’s been my inspiration to stay fit for many years now. She doesn’t take any excuses when it comes to staying active! When she says “are we going to the gym?” and in my mind I’m saying “no, I’m too tired ….“, I immediately answer her “yes, I am going”.
So when she told me about parkrun, I knew I was going to give it a try even though I hadn’t been running for more than fifteen years. I talked to Brian about it and he agreed to give it a try also. We agreed that we would just try a brisk walk to begin with.
Ready, set, GO!
Well, when we got there, and David, our parkrun Director, said “Go”, Brian couldn’t help himself and started running. So I started running too. I’m going to admit, it was really hard. (Brian is 54 and I am 57). But there’s something about being with a group of like-minded people. It keeps you going!
We were a small group to begin with, but there were people of various ages and abilities. At no point did I feel like I had to “keep up”. In fact, we both got PBs! We soon became addicted to parkrun. We love it. Everyone is so welcoming and friendly. Afterwards, we always enjoy getting together with friends for coffee and breakfast.
Winter in North Bay
We were told that the parkrun would go until November and then stop for the winter, so we thought we could hang in there until then. We went every Saturday morning. We only missed if we were out of town. parkrun became our “no excuses” weekly event.
When November rolled around, parkrun didn’t stop! Soon, we found ourselves shopping for Yaktrax and running in the snow! We did have limits though, we weren’t hearty enough to run in minus 30 degree weather and stayed home on those days!
Sixteen months later…
So here we are a year and a half later. Brian is always trying to figure out ways to better himself and get a new PB. I, on the other hand, am just happy to be able to participate and enjoy the outdoors (well, who am I kidding, I like the odd PB as well!). But parkrun has inspired me to try other events that I never thought I would, such as an indoor winter triathlon and an outdoor tri-a-tri.
Brian has completed 37 parkruns (including one in Richmond, B.C. and another in South Shields, England). I have completed 47 parkruns (one in South Shields, England). We love parkrun and this is only possible due to the efforts and dedication of David Holloway, his wife and the volunteers.
Sandy and Brian Watt, North Bay parkrun
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