My name is Linda Walker, I am 55 years old, and three years ago I was involved in the launch of Lancaster parkrun. Back then I thought that being a volunteer was about as near as I was ever going to get to running.
I had gone along to a couple of the meetings and put myself forward to be a regular volunteer. As a ‘non-runner’ this seemed a really good idea. My son, who has now run more than 250 parkruns, had always raved about them.
At school I absolutely hated sports and I remember having to run the 1500 metres in PE and being told we had to run it in under 15 minutes otherwise we’d be made to run it again. I managed to scrape in around the 15 minute mark – just a fraction under.
In my early twenties I thought I’d give jogging a try but only managed to run to the bottom of the road – about 100 metres – then I gave up.
So three years ago – as a 52 year old – I was at the very first Lancaster parkrun. My husband, himself a relatively new runner for around a year, ran the course and I cheered him on.
A week later I decided to join a little running group in Morecambe called Plodding Along. There were about half a dozen runners and I was made to feel really welcome. I was absolutely over the moon when I managed to run a whole kilometre without stopping. I got such a buzz from it. The next week I was back at the group and managed to run a bit further. I told my husband that when I could run 5k then I would maybe consider running parkrun. On 30 January 2016 my husband volunteered as the Tail Runner (now called Tail Walker). He told me that if I wanted to give parkrun a try then he’d be right behind me – literally!
I was a nervous wreck on the start line, but all the volunteers were amazing and I ran round in just under 41 minutes. At that point I guess I began my journey of my love for running. I have now run more than 100 parkruns – not bad for a ‘non-runner’. Recently I got my fastest ever time at Fleetwood parkrun of 32 minutes.
In 2018 I ran two half marathons. My first one was in London which was the London Landmarks Half Marathon, and my second one was the Manchester Half Marathon. I ran Manchester 10 minutes faster than London. I have run lots of 10k races and I am gradually getting faster and faster. I feel fitter and have lost a stone in weight. I’ve never been overweight, but running has toned me up. I feel fantastic and spend weekends away which have a running event tagged into them.
I can’t believe that a year ago I even joined the Lancaster and Morecambe Athletics Club and train once a week with them. At present I run about 15 miles a week. I owe so much to parkrun.
1. The promoter is: parkrun UK (company no.09411750 whose registered office is Lower Deck, Unit 3, Phoenix Wharf, Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, TW1 3DY) 2. The competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom, with UK addresses, aged 18 years or over except employees of parkrun UK and their close relatives and anyone otherwise connected with the organisation…
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