News - 11th September 2019

Being around for as long as possible

Jodie Mum and Dad

Bernie O’Connor and her family love parkrunning together at Armagh parkrun. Bernie’s daughter Jodie has autism and needs one-to-one support. 


Here Bernie tells us about staying fit and healthy to be around for her daughter, and also the importance of parkrun for Jodie.


When I first started at Armagh parkrun five years ago, I had never run before.


I decided I was going to do a 5k fun run as our daughter Jodie has autism and I wanted to raise awareness.


The week after I went that first time, my husband came along. And then the week after that we took Jodie with us, and her older sister walked the course with her. It was so encouraging when people passed and said hello and cheered her along. We were all made to feel so welcome.


That was us hooked.


Jodie and family















Myself and my hubby have almost reached 250 parkruns now and Jodie is at 193. It’s such a fantastic achievement for her, and she brings along her infectious smile every Saturday morning.


Our eldest daughter is due her second baby in just over two weeks and she has been great continuing to walk with Jodie.


At parkrun we all know everyone and it is very motivating as a family to be able to do something together that has so many benefits. I have so many happy memories from parkrun over the last five years.


Jodie is not very sociable but at parkrun there is no pressure on her what-so-ever. She takes things at her own pace and everyone is very supportive.


parkrun has so many benefits for your health physically and mentally as you push yourself to do your best.


When you have a family member who needs your one-to-one support you need to keep fit and healthy to be around for them for as long as possible.


It’s motivating to know that Jodie is also getting the benefits of keeping active, socialising and being made to feel part of something.


We intend to make plenty more memories as our family and as part of the parkrun family.


Bernie O’Connor


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