Hi, my name is Tom Mason, I’m 23 and I have been doing parkrun for the last 8 years. Some weeks I run with friends, some weeks I run with my family, some weeks I run as hard as I can but every week I have a Visual Impairment.
My eyesight is of a level that I cannot see to read text and I struggle to recognise people. The majority of people who see me at parkrun on a Saturday morning wouldn’t know that I don’t see as well as most other parkrunners.
While my running is quite changeable from week to week the one thing that always remains constant is parkrun. I love how it is there every week come rain or shine, always slightly different, but mainly always the same. This makes things much easier for me; not being able to see very well means I like to know where stuff is so I don’t even need to see it. It means I can remember where things like bollards, which I have previously tripped on, are so I can avoid them in future.
The informal and friendly nature of parkrun has helped me gain the confidence to run on my own at night, to run fell races, cross-country and races from one mile right up to full marathon distance.
I was recently asked to take on a new volunteer role of ‘parkrun youth panel Coordinator’. I’m really excited about this role as I love how much enjoyment parkrun brings to young people and I want to help give them more of a voice in helping to shape the future of parkrun and junior parkrun.
My role will involve setting the ‘missions’ for the youth panel and making sure that the information we get back helps parkrun HQ make decisions when developing elements of parkrun that relate to young people.
I can’t wait to get started, especially after seeing the wonderful response from the most recent mission where parkrun’s Head of Volunteer Management, Jaz Bangerh challenged members of the youth panel to make friends with someone who looks and sounds completely different to them at their local parkrun.
They were tasked with finding out three things that make them different from their new friend, three things that make them both the same and taking a photo or drawing a picture of them and their new friend together at parkrun.
We love hearing how the youth panel missions extend beyond just benefitting parkrun and are also helping to develop young people’s social skills too:
“This was quite a difficult task for the boys and took them outside of their comfort zone but it was very beneficial”.
We’ll be setting the next mission during the Easter school holidays.
What will your #parkrunresolution be? As we get ready to welcome in a new year, we’d love for you to make your own #parkrunresolution and join us for a special eight week campaign. Here’s everything you need to know. There’s no doubt that 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year and, now more…
It was wonderful to see another record attendance last weekend, with 27,500 participants across 218 events, in 5 countries. And, of course, we would particularly like to welcome the 1,640 first timers who walked, jogged, ran or volunteered with us for the very first time. Whilst it’s sometimes easy to get bogged down in…