After rediscovering the joy of walking at parkrun, Pat Newham has a message for all the would-be-walkers out there yet to join us at parkrun. The Park Walk initiative launches 18 January, all across Ireland.
After a nine month absence while I traded in an old hip for a new one, I resumed my parkrun journey at Griffeen parkrun, where I received a warm welcome back from my parkrun family.
That welcome alone was sufficient to put an extra spring in my step when Run Director Paul Richardson called the “off”. But, of course, my step is not yet as good as it used to be and I still need to make a mental adjustment to match my expectations with my ability.
So I started off in the middle of the group and quickly drifted to the back. But my backward drift was smoothed by the friendly words of encouragement from my fellow parkrunners as they overtook me. Then I settled into a walk at a manageable pace of my own.
And I rediscovered the joy of walking at parkrun.
At a walking pace, I was better able to appreciate the beauty of our park, with the trees swaying in the breeze, the swathes of green parkland and the rushing waters of the Griffeen river as I passed over the two bridges.
And instead of the usual quick “thank you” to the marshals out on the course, I had time for a mini chat as I passed them without breaking my stride and to say hello to other park users.
As a walker at Griffeen I was overtaken by runners on their second lap as they headed towards the finish line. This gave me an opportunity to return words of encouragement to them and to give the occasional high five! This involved a bit of walking backwards by me, which, in my view, merits being included as an Olympic event.
If you have never walked at parkrun before then now is a great time to start as there is currently a Park Walk initiative to encourage new walkers at all parkruns.
I will be part of the meet and greet team for new walkers at Griffeen so come along and say hello. You will easily find me at the Park Walk banner and I will probably look familiar to you. You may wonder if you have seen me before on Operation Transformation or Love Island but actually I have not been on either programme yet.
If you are currently a parkrunner then please encourage a new walker to come along with you next time.
And so, all you would-be walkers, now is the time to take the plunge. Come along and you will feel physically and mentally better. You can be assured of a warm welcome at your nearest parkrun. And if you live near to Griffeen in Dublin then I invite you to come walk with me.
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