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News - 18th May 2017

Deaf and Hard of Hearing parkrunners


Reece and Kane


Reece and Kane


Reece is 11 years old and Kane is nine years old. They are both Deaf and wear hearing aids.


Their Mum, Jayne, was told about the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Takeover Event at Huddersfield junior parkrun and persuaded them to come along and give it a go.


Reece and Kane both ran for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it! Reece says the best part was finishing, not because it was over, but because he loved the feeling of running so fast. Both boys enjoy being active doing Karate and are involved in Cubs and Scouts.


Jayne explained that both boys were born hearing but have a Syndrome called Alport Syndrome that affects their eyes, ears and kidneys, and being active is very important to keep them healthy.


Leah Swallow




My name is Leah I am 17 years old and I started attending parkrun in Huddersfield just after my 15th birthday. I have now completed 69 runs and volunteered on 30 occasions.


I am severe to profoundly deaf and wear two digital hearing aids. I am able to communicate orally but do sometimes use BSL. A friend of mine at school told me about parkrun, I had just started to enjoy doing a bit of running at school, I wanted to get fitter and healthier but I was worried about going to places with people I didn’t know. Being deaf my communication is affected and I sometimes find meeting new people difficult.


At my first parkrun my friend tried to explain what was happening; I couldn’t really hear the briefings from the volunteers but I just followed my friend. Over the coming weeks I introduced my Mum, step-dad and my grandparents to parkrun. We are all now regulars and have run 313 times and volunteered 328 times in total between us.


Once my family started attending with me we got to know more people. Sometimes being Deaf can mean you are cut off and isolated from things that are happening; at parkrun I feel included, you can run as fast or slow as you like and you can volunteer if you want to. Everyone has always made me feel very welcome and the Event Directors at Huddersfield have tried their best to make our parkrun accessible and inclusive for everyone; we now regularly have Sign Language Support and they are going to try and get some more information boards made.


When we went on holiday last year we went to parkrun in Paris (Bois de Boulogne) that was great fun! My confidence has increased and I now tell other people about parkrun, how welcoming and inclusive it is.


Clare Chilton




When I first started doing parkrun there were no web results – that shows how long ago it was!


In South Africa my brother and I were part of a running club and would run regularly. I was shocked when I arrived in the UK and found out that you could take part in parkrun for free! After the birth of my daughter, I felt like something was missing and I went back to parkrun – I couldn’t believe how unfit I was! What I love about it is that doesn’t matter: people with mixed abilities all run (or walk) together. It is such a diverse group of runners. In Hove, I meet people from all over the world who are just here for their holiday but who have come to join in.


Initially, I started parkrun to support my swimming fitness training (I am taking part in the World Championships in August) but now, I enjoy the running more. After each parkrun, I always go for a coffee by the seafront. I am always conscious of how mentally and physically fit I feel.


On Saturday we encouraged everyone with any signing skills to join in with the deaf awareness parkruns. We want as many BSL users to come together and support each other as possible and for this to become a regular nationwide event; with Deaf people and BSL users enjoying parkrun every Saturday. We also want to encourage parents to bring their children along to junior parkrun on Sunday too.

parkrun provides free-to-enter 5k events on Saturday mornings with a companion series of 2k events, junior parkrun, for 4-14 year olds on Sunday mornings.  parkrun or junior parkrun is available at over 600 UK locations.  You’re free to run, jog or walk, there’s no time pressure and everyone is equally welcomed and celebrated.  Our mission is to make the world a healthier, happier planet and we’re keen to welcome Deaf and hard of hearing people to our events.  If you’re interested, you can register here.


If you want to join our online community of Deaf and hard of hearing parkrunners, sign up for our Facebook page here.


A BSL introduction to parkrun can be found here.

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