My first experience of parkrun was sitting in the car for several weeks just watching people come and go because I was so nervous. I thought they all looked so athletic, surely they would not want this turtle speed 50 minute-ish jogger to join them.
Eventually I summoned the courage to step up. How bad could it be? Just push through the (now unfounded) embarrassment. I am so glad I did, because on that very first start I bumped into a face I knew. The good ol’ “hey I know you from somewhere” conversation ensued and it turned out that Jennifer and I went to the same gym.
Off we went and I was now in amongst these runners and, well, was I wrong about them not wanting me! Everyone from the very start was so encouraging – the smiles, the well done, the generally happy environment was fantastic. And at the end, nearing the finish line of my very first parkrun I had started to slow down and wonder if I could even get there when up from behind comes this cheerful voice ” you are nearly there, just over that weir there and you’ve got it”. These were the first words said to me by Kerry.
I crossed that line beaming. Kerry and Jennifer invited me to join them for coffee and we instantly felt comfortable and just clicked. A match made in joggers. Needless to say I turned up the very next week with absolutely no hesitation, eager to see my new friends.
Fast forward a few more weeks and we were having our now mandatory post-parkrun coffee and Jennifer introduces this amazing woman who joined us for a coffee and chat. Immediately it was felt, I’m sure by all, that this was going to be a foursome of women that was going to take on the world! Runners Inc was formed. My sole sisters.
These women boost and encourage me in every way possible and not always in running. They have held me up when life was down, in work, they support in all that I do. Everything! My Saturdays would not be complete without a parkrun and coffee. It’s my debrief and destress of the week that has been.
If I could give any advice to those debating about heading to parkrun it would be to just do it. Rock up, say hi and just put one foot in front of the other. Speed is irrelevant. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how friendly everyone is.
parkrun is my stability in a crazy world. Well, I’ll be honest, it is more the small group of women I have come to call my “sole sisters” (yes pun intended!) and running and the coffee!
Now please excuse me while I go and tell them again how much I appreciate them.
We took another big step forward last Saturday as 5k events returned in Denmark, the ninth country to see events restart post-COVID, plus we welcomed back junior parkrun events in Scotland. In total nearly 60,000 people took part in 775 events around the world last weekend, including nearly 2,500 for the very first time….
I’m Alita and I am 32, and prior to parkrun I would complain at having to do a 100-metre warm-up at my local Boot Camp! That was November 2018 and I was on a health and fitness journey. I had lost almost 30kg. One morning whilst out of my morning coffee walk we saw…