Angela and her son Thomas love participating in Cassiobury parkrun. Here Angela tells us why being part of something together as a family is so important to them.
I’m getting slower the longer I do parkrun and I couldn’t be happier about it!
The reason I’m slowing down is because I used to run by myself but I can now run parkrun with my son and it’s the wonderful hi-vis hero volunteers of Cassiobury parkrun who help make it possible for us.
My son Thomas is a wheelchair user. He has no independent mobility, is severely visually impaired and has learning difficulties along with a range of other disabilities.
He is also a complete charmer and is as full as energy and mischief as any other five year old.
We recently got an off road wheelchair that we can safely use to run with Thomas and he loves it.
Which got me thinking about getting him registered for parkrun – just as his able bodied sister is.
You might wonder why we bothered, after all it isn’t Thomas putting the effort into the run and he wouldn’t understand whether he had come first or 491st.
But being part of something together, as a family, on an equal footing, is a really rare experience for us and it is important – it shows everyone that there’s space for children and adults like Thomas in our community.
Also, he loves being on the move, out in the open air. He cheers at everyone as they pass us (I’m not that fast, so lots of people pass us!)
parkrun isn’t just about the running. Thomas gets all the participation benefits that everyone else does and we feel welcomed as a family.
Cassiobury parkrun volunteers have been brilliant.
Cassiobury is a great parkrun for a manual wheelchair – largely flat and tarmac all the way. There is a Changing Places toilet in one of the cafes in the park so we can change Thomas easily and safely if we need to.
There’s parking we can use close to the start. But most of all, there’s knowledge about wheelchair users amongst the Run Directors – they understand that Thomas has his own barcode and they’re great at telling other volunteers how to record our times.
It is the people and their attitudes that makes parkrun accessible to us and Cassiobury have willingness in spades to support all of us to take part.
We are a proud part of the parkrun community because all of our family are welcome there.
The only annoying thing is that pushing Thomas means he always gets a faster time than me – I really am getting slower all the time!
Thank you Cassiobury parkrun!
Angela and Thomas
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