News - 3rd April 2019
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Tackling loneliness with parkrun

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In 2017, then 83-year-old Margaret Smith from Brueton parkrun, UK became the oldest woman in parkrun history to join the 250 Club. Two years on, she encourages other older people to join the parkrun family to tackle loneliness.

 

I have always been very sporty and active. In my younger days (they’re not that long ago!) I was a keen cyclist and cycled in time trials at all distances, as well as racing on the track. When my husband and I retired, we went on a three-and-a-half month cycling tour of New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

 

After he sadly passed away having battled cancer, my son Peter, who runs at Bushy Park and Richmond parkruns, took me along with him when I was visiting him in London… and I absolutely loved it.

 

When I returned home, I found my nearest parkrun in Memorial Park in Coventry, and went along. After completing it four times, my son Peter sent me a text message telling me that parkrun was coming to Solihull, just two miles from my home.

 

Since Brueton parkrun started, it would be fair to say that I caught the parkrun bug, because I went on to become the oldest female parkrunner in the world to complete 250 parkruns!

 

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Now I have completed 304 parkruns, several half marathons, and four marathons, including the London Marathon which I ran in my husband’s memory, raising more than £3,000 for charity.

 

I forgot to mention one other very important fact for me, and that is around 200 of my parkruns have been completed with my loyal companion, my dog Luna.

 

She is husky-labrador cross and might even love parkrun more than I do! Luna is a favourite amongst all the other Brueton parkrunners.

 

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I think what GPs are doing, prescribing parkrun to patients via the #parkrunPractice initiative in the UK is fantastic – particularly for older patients. Being active, whether walking or jogging is so important. Every day I walk at least seven miles with my husky-labrador cross, and on Sundays this is more like nine miles.

 

But as well as that, encouraging older people to get outside in their local community can help cut the loneliness that older age can bring. I am now 85 years old and the parkrun family are fantastic, so caring and encouraging.

 

I look forward so very much to Saturdays, whatever the weather, it fills my adrenaline gap!

 

Margaret Smith
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Having a ball

Kim Tully and her Siberian Husky Yoshi are regulars at Hartstown parkrun in Dublin. By her own admission, Kim was inactive and looking for ways to make new friends.   Eventually she plucked up the courage to go to her local parkrun and now Saturday mornings for Kim and Yoshi are a whole family affair….

John Molloy

People of parkrun brought to you by Vhi

Name: John Molloy Age: 76 Occupation: Retired Accountant Local parkrun: Kilkenny Number of parkruns completed: 201   How did I get involved I parkrun? I retired in 2011. One of the things I was sure I wanted to do was to get more exercise. My son challenged me to take part in the Nore swim…