News - 27th May 2021
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Adding value to life

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When Ben Alexander retired from professional rugby, he never thought he’d find a sport that would add as much value to his life as rugby. In stepped parkrun.

 

For 22 years rugby had given structure to my weeks, and it was my way of simultaneously exercising and spending time with mates.

 

And even though I knew what I wanted to do for work in retirement, I was worried that I could fall into a heap without the things rugby had given me.

 

While I was still playing, I read lots of articles about athletes suffering from depression in retirement, and when a former teammate took his own life I thought “Maybe the same will happen to me”.

 

But parkrun not only introduced me to the great sport of running, but it’s also helped me to fill the holes in my life that come with retiring from professional sport.

 

The parkrun and rugby communities are similar in many ways. Both are full of competitive, but supportive and kind people, and I’ve made many new friends along the way.

 

Whether it be running in road races, trails, 5kms or marathons, running has an endless list of challenges and I’m excited to tick as many off the list as possible in the years ahead.

 

For as long I can remember, Saturdays have been my time to compete, and parkrun has been a great competitive outlet whether I’m trying to shave time off my PB, or against mates.

 

Earlier this month, I completed my 100th parkrun in my second fastest time, and I’m keen to get my 25 volunteer shirt next.

 

Thank you parkrun!

 

Ben Alexander

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