Dave Hartley is one of our regular parkrunners at Palmerston North and I’m inspired by his commitment each week.
Its great being able to put names to faces and anyone who’s done our parkrun will know Dave – he’s the guy in the wheelchair, and he’s given me permission to tell his story.
Dave was born with spina bifida and is the eldest of 2 boys. His brother lives here in Palmy with his family and his mum lives in Wellington. He regularly shows up early for parkrun on Saturday mornings, in all temperatures, although a frost one morning got the better of his car and hoist and he missed the start, but he still arrived to support fellow parkrunners at the finish line. He has done 31 out of the 36 events and has also volunteered to help keep parkrun free. Dave is also keen on the longer events and the first event he entered was a half marathon! Why?
“I entered because the friend I had been exercising with (who is also in a wheelchair) said he was planning to train and do the Manawatu Striders half marathon. I thought, why not? It was a hard race to train for, but I finished it in 3:57. It gave me the exercising bug and I decided to get ready for the next event. My plan last year was to do the half again but due to bad weather, illness and a general feeling of lack of motivation, I only managed to be ready for the 10k. I had plans to do another half again this year, but there was a detour on the route that would have made competing in the wheelchair difficult, so I opted for the Manawatu Striders 10k again.”
Dave also took part in the Wings for Life App Run – Running for those who can’t – by wheeling around a track in the middle of a rainy night in May with a number of other keen parkrunners when most of us were fast asleep – an amazing bunch of people.
I asked him what brought him to parkrun….
“I felt like I had been a bit slack with my exercise and I didn’t have anyone to train with. I’ve had so much fun coming to parkrun. I’ve met lots of good people and got myself into the habit of a coffee after my run. Sometimes I go alone, sometimes I meet a friend.”
So… if anyone is keen to join Dave for an after run coffee, he’ll be at the Elm… they do great coffees!
A big high-five also goes to Kate, Leanne and Suzanne for giving us a course that caters for everyone - a wide sealed relatively flat (ish) path with amazing views. I’ve done 3 other parkruns, and while I thoroughly enjoyed them, they were certainly not wheelchair or stroller friendly, especially in these wetter months.
Today our numbers might have been down but well done to the 99 of us who got up to run, walk, wheel and socialise, thoroughly enjoying a great start to the morning. We had 3 first timers and 2 who have previously taken part in the original Bushy parkrun… we hope you enjoyed our parkrun just as much as we do. - Wendy Watts, Palmerston North (Run Report)
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