This week’s blog is from Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community Engagement and Shared Value from The Co-op.
In a previous role, she was working to promote the importance of volunteers in local sport and encouraging other people to get involved, and decided to join in herself which began a love for parkrun:
I’ve been attending parkrun for over four years, running more than 60 parkruns with my local group in Stretford and further afield.
At the time when I first engaged with parkrun I was working in sport and encouraging people to volunteer in local sport. I thought I should really ‘walk the talk’ and get involved myself.
What I enjoy most about parkrun is that it’s outside exercise with the local community and that it isn’t a race, but rather a run. Before engaging with parkrun, I hadn’t run much since school, so this provided me the chance to get involved with in running alongside people of all abilities.
I have also found running helps keep me happy and healthy; giving me time to think, de-stress and process the day.
I also enjoy the fact that the volunteers, who are integral for the running of parkrun, are treated as equals and are really respected.
Lots of my friends and colleagues attend parkrun such as Hazel Remeika. Hazel has also been involved 5+ years, officially running over 30 runs, as well as volunteering at parkrun and has taken her son to junior parkrun.
Community spaces are important to me personally because it allows people to come together with other people, to do something that they wouldn’t do on their own.
Shared spaces are greatly valued by our members, with 87% saying that they are very important to them and their communities. Members have talked enthusiastically about all manner of different spaces and the role they play in bringing people together and improving wellbeing – such as parks and woodlands.
I believe that community spaces are absolutely crucial for the wider community. Green spaces to run around and enjoy provide communities with spaces to both be active and come together. The best thing being that the more parks are used, the more they get used, as people recognise what a valuable role they play in their day to day lives, whether an organised run like parkrun, or just walking the dog
Regardless of your fitness (it’s about coming together) join me and thousands of others at parkrun this weekend.
Co-op are working with parkrun to educate and encourage parkrunners to make #HealthySwaps in their lifestyle, and to join the #HealthySwaps revolution. Make your pledge at https://healthyswaps.parkrun.org.uk
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