News - 2nd March 2021

I am 70 years of age (not old but not young either!). I live in Carterton, New Zealand and my home parkrun is Greytown Woodside Trail.


parkrun has been running here for over two years now and I first heard about it when friends mentioned that a parkrun was being started in the area. It took me a few weeks to gain the confidence to go along and I did it with another friend for support. I really don’t like attending things where I don’t know people and might feel out of place. This certainly didn’t happen for me as everyone was friendly and chatty and very welcoming. The Run Directors made such a difference and I felt very included.


parkrun is now something I do every Saturday that I can; rain, cold or sun, and it can get very cold on those wintery, frosty mornings. My circle of friends has now grown to encompass many of the other regular walkers and runners. It is lovely that our parkrun is still relatively small with about 50 to 60 people turning up. It doesn’t take long before you become one of the crowd, and if you’re worried about coming last that will never happen. There’s always the volunteer tail walker behind you.


Apart from the fact that it’s good for me I really enjoy the social side of attending. There’s plenty of time to catch up with friends and chat before the 8am start. I usually walk the course although I have been known to run it or even run/ walk it. It all depends on how I feel on the day. It’s great to try and beat my own PB but I also enjoy the times when I take it easier and natter to other walkers on the way.


It is so nice to see families come along, Mum, Dad and the children or Dad pushing his child in a walker and of course we are lucky that dogs on leads can also join in. Old and young and everyone in between turn up regularly to enjoy this lovely country course. There’s a kind of challenge, for the very swift of foot, to see who can make it back before the 8.16am train
pulls into the station!


I have earned both my purple Volunteer shirt for doing 25 weeks of volunteering and also my red 50 shirt for having walked and run 50 parkruns.


As our parkrun grows older there are more and more red 50 shirts seen out on the course. Volunteering is also a great way to help the event happen and to get to know all the runners and walkers. Slots are available each week for timekeeper, finish tokens, barcode scanner, report writer, marshal, tail walker and car park marshal.


When I think back to my first times at parkrun and remember my nervousness attending and now look at how many people I know and converse with it is quite amazing. I meet a couple of women now for coffee, I go to a painting class with one lady, several other women have joined our group on other walks such as the Remutaka Incline and the Escarpment walk. Having the get together after parkrun at the local eatery the Offering is a marvellous way to find out what others are doing and to get involved. It’s like a large family tossing around ideas and joining in on upcoming events. There is so much going on out there and lots of support.


I had a brush with cancer at the end of 2019 which I’ve thankfully come through but during all of it I never stopped parkrun. It was so good to feel that I could do the 5km walk and I’m sure it helped speed up my recovery process. It was my own personal battle to prove I was okay and I had great support from my parkrun family.


Vivienne Hawken
Greytown Woodside Trail parkrun

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