Name: Paul Richardson
Occupation: Technology Programme Manager
Local parkrun: Griffeen parkrun, Lucan, Co. Lucan
Number of parkruns completed: 119
How did you get involved in parkrun?
I heard about parkrun in a business blog article in 2012. I thought it was a great idea, and that it would be fantastic to bring it to Ireland. I started to research and investigate what would need to be done and found out that Malahide was in the process of being set up, with Marlay shortly to follow. My initial thought was with one on the Northside and one on the Southside of Dublin the market was already saturated and everything to be done had already been done. Thankfully I was wrong, and I was asked would I like to bring it to West Dublin and the rest is pretty much history.
What do you love about parkrun?
The very positive vibe, and the sense of inclusion.
Who do you participate with?
I have a very large extended parkrun family so no matter what parkrun I visit I am sure to know someone. My running objectives can be varied so when I run I may be sociable going out of my way to interact with other runners, running as a pacer, or I could be head down running as part of a training plan. For a number of different reasons my own family don’t get to parkrun much, but they have all volunteered, and my oldest daughter has run with me on occasion.
Any parkrun milestones / achievements you would like to share?
I’m very proud that in the same month in 2018 I ran my 100th parkrun and also volunteered for 100th time in the role of Run Director.
How has parkrun impacted positively on your family outside of 9:30am on a Saturday?
Before parkrun Saturday morning was always a lie in and a late start. My family totally appreciate that I have routine and commitments on Saturday morning. This culture has extended to the rest of the family and they all have their own activities on Saturday morning and see them in the same positive way as we see parkrun.
Do you have a health or fitness goal?
Yes, to stay healthy! People who know me will recognise that I am neither the fittest or the fastest out there, but running has changed me both physically and mentally since I decided to “get serious” on the 2nd of January 2012. My current goal is to run two marathons a year, and to do that I should be running an average of five times a week, which overall is a good fitness goal. Speed and times are not important to me, but I would like continue running on the Dublin Marathon Pacing Team for another few years.
Who is your dream parkrun running buddy?
I’ve run with some pretty inspirational characters already, including some minor celebrities and other people of notoriety! At the end of the day I’ll run with anyone who is enjoying themselves, and if they’re not I’m quite happy to talk to them to help them see the enjoyable side of running and parkrun.
What was your best parkrun experience?
It’s hard to think of any single one, but three come to mind: My 50th parkrun which was hugely recognised by the community in Griffeen and I was presented with a lovely story book and signed dedication; my 100th parkrun when my family were present to help celebrate (very rare to get them all on a Saturday morning and in the country!), and the one and only time when I broke 25 minutes!
What was the funniest parkrun moment?
Some people who know me would probably say that I’m very serious about parkrun, and it’s true – I do take it seriously but I also have a lot of fun at parkrun and that is usually every Saturday morning.
What advice would you give to someone who’s never been to parkrun?
Everyone is welcome, and despite what they might think parkrun is for people just like them, because it’s for everyone. Come with a friend if you need that little bit of moral support for your first time, but if you are on your own don’t be shy about asking anyone at all for advice, or other simple question like “This is my first time, what do I need to do?”
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