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junior parkrun - 3rd May 2017

From Fast Lad To High-Fiver

GrahamMoff

parkrun came to Nottingham six years ago. As a competitive club athlete and coach, I thought this was great – a free 5k race every week.  I turned out regularly, chasing first finisher positions, PBs and age group records. I understood the parkrun ethos, but I have to admit I was a reluctant volunteer – too busy racing.

 

However over the next few years my relationship with parkrun changed. I suffered a number of injuries which made fast times difficult. I began to care less about minutes and seconds and learnt to just enjoy my running. parkrun became much more sociable – I’d turn up early, have a good natter and run with a familiar face – my kids, athletes that I coach or people that wanted to achieve a particular time. I became an unofficial, and occasionally official, pacemaker.

 

I started to do my thing as a volunteer. Feeling a little ‘tired and emotional’, I spent New Year’s Day 2015 out on the course at Rushcliffe parkrun – steering runners around a patch of ice in foul weather. Without exception, everybody thanked me. I felt 10 feet tall. This gave me a far greater buzz than charging round the park myself and what a great way to start the year. I’ve repeated my New Year’s Day marshalling ever since.

 

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This winter, two of my kids signed up as junior parkrun volunteers for their Duke of Edinburgh bronze award.  Not trusting two teenagers to get up and walk a mile to the park for 8:30 am every Sunday morning, I joined them.  THE BEST THING I EVER DID! For three months solid, in the cold, dark, wind and rain, we cheered on and high-fived the hardy bunch of under 14s who, almost without exception, were having a ball! – exercising, being outside, connecting with their families and feeling good about themselves. My weekly parkrun volunteering fix became the highlight of my week – it gave me a real mental boost that helped me through a difficult period. I was extremely proud to see my kids complete their volunteering stint and grow in confidence themselves

 

Having earned my purple Volunteer Club t-shirt, I still turn out at my local parkrun whenever I can, usually running on Saturdays – sometimes slow, sometimes steady and occasionally nippy. On Sundays I continue to support the junior parkrun. Last Saturday I was tail walker at Colwick parkrun and proud to record a ‘personal worst’ as last finisher in a record field. On Sunday I was high fiving the juniors at Rushcliffe junior parkrun.

 

parkrun – once a week a community briefly unites to invigorate the body and mind. Slow down to savour the special atmosphere. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Graham Moffatt
parkrunner A166502

 

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