News - 25th November 2019

Through testing times

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David Robinson and his wife Rita started off as walkers at Colwick parkrun in Nottinghamshire. Struck by the welcome they received, they returned week after week, and Saturday mornings became a whole family affair.


Last year a cancer diagnosis shook the family. David tells us how parkrun has been his rock through the most testing of times.


Our first parkrun began at Colwick Park, around the lakes on a cold and wet February morning in 2012. I had thoughts of school cross countries when the PE teacher had ran out of ideas and sent the boys out for a run. But this was very different.


Rita, my long-suffering wife, and I have always been active in various sports and I had run to keep fit for those sports, but as for actual running, I needed the comfort of a running track. We had encouraged our two sons to be actively involved in sport and now it was their turn to encourage the ‘old folk’ into running/jogging a parkrun.


We walked the first time in around 50 minutes and on completion were struck by the welcome and support that was awaiting as we entered the finish funnel.


That welcome and support is what drew us back and was one of the differences from other sports I have taken part in. Each event, welcoming, well marshalled, informal, friendly and with encouragement for everyone, from the fastest to the less abled. Most inclusive and a feeling of family.


We progressed into taking part at other events around the County of Nottinghamshire and later, happy to be a tourist, knowing that wherever we took part we were made welcome prior to the start and at the all-important post event coffee. We are proud to say our tour list includes St. Peters, Sydney.


Our two sons, their wives and our two grandsons, 5 and 9, all actively take part and have all achieved various milestones.  Together with another close family and friend we adopt the name ‘Breakfast Club’. No prizes for guessing why. The group spans the ages 5 to 71 and we all love volunteering too. My volunteer t-shirt is my favourite.




In May 2018 I was diagnosed with cancer which shook us all. How could I be so fit and yet potentially so ill?


My son said to me that the fitness would be a big benefit throughout the coming treatments and bumps in the road. Together with the fitness and a runner’s mental attitude to push on, he was right. Now, keeping active, which may have changed, is still part of the healing process. I thank parkrun for that.


On a Saturday morning I am just another parkrunner and not a cancer patient. However, some of the main organisers are aware and I cannot speak enough for the empathy and genuine kindness and support given not only to me, but also my family.


At present I walk the course and when I am unable to manage that, they accommodate me with a marshalling position, which on the day I am physically capable of. Even providing a chair if needed. I know I will be one of many people with physical or mental issues and I am sure all are taken care of by the people at parkrun.


Through these testing times parkrun is a steadying factor in our lives, the support and encouragement and the fun are so rewarding. We are pleased to continue taking part and thank the parkrun family and everyone for making it happen.


We have just received our 250 milestone shirts…. Onto the 500!


David Robinson

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