Having discovered the joys of parkrun later in life, there was no way a few lockdown challenges were going to stop Hendrik and Simone Buzink from continuing their regular exercise. Hendrik tells us all about it.
My wife, Simone discovered the joys and benefits of running about 20 years ago. Then, on hearing about parkrun from friends she joined our local Wyre Forest parkrun in October 2016.
I tended to drop Simone off at Wyre Forest and then return early so that I could encourage her up the final, uphill section of the course which is notoriously known as ‘Cardiac Hill’.
Last July, as it happens on Simone’s 72nd birthday, I decided to join in at the rear in non-running gear, just comfortable shoes, to try and catch up with Simone as a surprise. Having never tried this before, I didn’t get anywhere near catching her up! However, I caught the bug and have been parkrunning ever since. At 73 years old, I can vouch for the fact that it’s never too late to start something new!
We both eagerly await the results coming through after each parkrun and I have become quite competitive. I had never previously heard of a PB and now I love to give myself a goal. I haven’t yet managed to dip below 30 minutes for the Wyre Forest parkrun course but it gives me something to keep aiming for.
We have also had the pleasure of parkrunning in New Zealand. Our son and his family live in Beachlands, SE of Auckland. This year, while visiting them, we discovered the Barry Curtis parkrun at Flat Bush, 20 minutes away from where we were staying. We had our barcodes with us so it was parkrun as normal but on the other side of the world! We loved it and returned regularly, completing 6 parkruns there in February and March. The course is flatter than Wyre Forest so our times were looking good too!
Then on 25th March New Zealand went into lockdown. Our return flight was cancelled and we struggled to find availability on any other flights. We had accepted the idea that we might have to wait several months more in our small granny flat before making it home.
During the lockdown period in New Zealand we made use of the once a day exercise allowance for our regular, socially distanced, runs along the Pohutukawa coastal area to help keep us in shape.
We did, eventually, get on a flight which landed us back home on April 28th, but now we needed to go into self-isolation for 2 weeks! This meant if we wanted to keep up our fitness levels then it would have to be in the garden. Our garden became our own personal parkrun course. It’s on a slope and each circuit of the garden took us just over a minute. 30 rounds got us to the parkrun distance. Doing this a few times a week became our norm.
Now we can get out and about a bit more, we have been running along the narrow roads close to our home 2 or 3 times a week.
There is no doubt that I do feel better when exercising regularly. I have always been active but pushing myself just that bit extra does me good. At the parkrun events it is great to be among a few hundred similarly minded people of all ages. We are really missing the excitement of our regular Saturday parkrun and will be taking part again just as soon as we are allowed to do so.
Thank you parkrun for your tremendous organisation.
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