Rahema Mamodo writes about the sense of community she has felt at her local parkrun ever since she started. It led her to make friends through regular physical activity and gave her the confidence to enter her first race!
My first parkrun experience at my local event in Solihull was great, I had never heard of parkrun before I was recommended to try parkrun by the leader of my 5k group, so I didn’t know what to expect.
I felt quite overwhelmed and nervous as this was going to be my first time completing a 5k and there were lots of other parkrunners there!
I started off towards the back of the pack, near the tail end and I had a great time. There was a lot of encouragement and support from fellow parkrunners who had finished ahead of me as well as from the marshals around the course.
Everyone was so welcoming and friendly that when I got back home, I decided to enter my very first race!
That very positive first parkrun experience has led me to return to parkrun again and again, to either to complete the 5k or volunteer each week, and I’ve been encouraging my friends to come along and join me.
As a Muslim woman, I’ve had a really positive experience at all parkruns I’ve attended. Everyone is made welcome regardless of who you are, and I’ve always felt more than comfortable at every parkrun I’ve run, walked and volunteered at.
Even when I’m not taking part as a runner or walker, for example when fasting during Ramadan, I can still easily volunteer and feel part of the community. I love volunteering as much as parkrunning or parkwalking and I’ve volunteered in quite a few different roles, but there are still a few that I haven’t tried yet and I want to give these a go in the future.
parkrun has become a regular habit now. I look forward to it every week and try my best not to miss a Saturday! I’ve made a whole new group of friends and feel very much part of the community.
It was just the spur I needed to keep me active, parkrun has made it all so easy. As well as entering longer distance races, I have also joined a local running club.
Now, I’ve become a Brooks Run Happy Team member, I’m also loving the opportunity to help out Brooks with their parkrun Happy Tour.
After completing 34 different parkrun events, I have always had a warm welcome and found them all to be really inclusive. One of the most memorable parkruns I’ve completed is the Woolacombe Dunes event with its course across the sand dunes. It has to be one of the toughest parkrun courses I’ve tried and one of the most unique, but I loved the challenge and need to go back to try it again when the weather is warmer!
I encourage other Muslim women to just give it a go and have a look at your local parkrun, be brave enough to make that start and join in. Even though it is called parkrun, it is perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) to walk the whole course if you prefer. You could also consider participating as a volunteer since there are a variety of roles available with full training provided.
I’d recommend parkrun to everyone. However you choose to take part, you will feel part of the parkrun community right away!
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