News - 12th March 2019

100 parkruns, 25 volunteers & a 60th birthday


When Lesley Thomson moved to Celbridge four years ago she never imagined that she would be sharing her 60th birthday with over 280 people at parkrun. She shares her journey to complete 100 parkruns and 25 volunteers by her 60th birthday.


Paul (my husband) and I used to go running every weekend and by chance ran through Castletown on a few Saturdays where we saw lots of other people running together. One morning I stopped and asked Declan (RD that day) what was going on. I didn’t need telling twice, the next Saturday Paul and I turned up at parkrun with our barcodes and instantly got hooked.


For the next year we ran most Saturdays when we were at home. Then we discovered we could parkrun anywhere – even on holiday! We did a parkrun in Copenhagen with only 50 other runners and it was amazing! We’ve since completed parkruns across Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.


When we got Cappucino (Cino) as a rescue dog in September 2016, she was very lively and needed lots of exercise but had very poor recall. We spent hours on the beach and dog parks trying to catch her. I decided to get her a harness and as a joke, I also bought a dog-running belt for Paul. Paul decided to try it out, and within a few weeks Cino joined us at parkrun. We take turns running with her and usually she helps us knock about two minutes off our times!  She loves parkrun and all the attention she gets.


When we reached 50 parkruns we were overjoyed at receiving our milestone t-shirts. At that stage Cino had done 25 parkruns. It seemed no time at all till Cino reached her 50 runs.  Next, Paul worked out he could get his 100 milestone by his birthday in November 2018. As my birthday  is in February, I set myself the challenge  of doing 100 parkruns and 25 volunteers by 2 March 2019 (my first time in the 60-64 age category).  It was harder than I thought; two parkruns I volunteered for were cancelled; but I got there!


On my 100th run, my two daughters, son-in-law and three grandchildren came to support me with balloons and home-made banners. I wasn’t the only one celebrating; there were also two 50 milestoners and another 100 milestoner, Sharon our Event Director reached 200 runs and the Celbridge Couch to 5k group arrived. Despite the rain, which never dampens the parkrun spirit, we had a really great time, everyone was smiling and happy with their own personal achievements.


Many people have likened parkrun to a family and we have certainly encouraged our family, friends and work colleagues to join parkrun. My son-in-law recently earned his 50 t-shirt and two of my grandchildren take part in junior parkrun. We have met an amazing array of people of all ages and abilities from phenomenal athletes who break course records and run Marathons and 50ks in their spare time, to no-less phenomenal people who meet their own personal goals including completing over 250 parkruns.


parkrun is for everyone and as my four year old grandson says “everybody wins at parkrun”.  It is a great organisation to be part of – We Love parkrun!


Lesley Thomson

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