Christine Hutchins loves being Tail Walker at her local junior parkrun.
Lockdown has given her chance to work on her training, showing her that she was capable of more than she thought. This is her story
I can’t remember where I first heard about parkrun, but it was probably from some friends. I decided to register, then in September 2018 I went along to give it a go for the first time. My local event is Bideford parkrun which takes place in Victoria Park. I was rather nervous and approached someone who looked like they knew what they were doing, explaining I was a First Timer. This kind person talked me through the start and finish procedures and explained the course.
I hadn’t done any running, jogging or training before. This really was my first time doing anything like this! I knew that I wouldn’t be running all the way round, so I didn’t have any expectations of myself, except to get to the end!
I got round successfully with a mixture of running and walking.
After my first few parkruns I heard that the junior parkrun in Bideford was looking for Marshals, so I signed up to do that. I managed to convince our foster child to come with me and help out too, as this was something that he could do to count towards his Duke of Edinburgh award.
At both the parkrun and junior parkrun events there is a lot of encouragement. I love volunteering at the junior event, it is a great pleasure and hugely satisfying.
Getting to be the Tail Walker at the junior event has kept me going too, giving me the belief that I can run further each time. Those juniors really do have a lot of energy, it can be hard to keep up with them!
Several people who volunteer for the Bideford junior parkrun also parkrun at the Saturday event. Recognising these familiar faces, and then building friendships, has made me feel really welcome and part of the parkrun community.
On hearing that it was possible to do two parkruns on New Years Day, I decided that this was something I wanted to do. On 1st January 2019 I did both the Bideford and Barnstaple parkruns. I did the double again 1st January 2020, finishing it off with a New Year’s Day dip in the sea!
When events and meetings started closing in March, I decided that I would start the Couch to 5K programme. Following the programme has gone well. We’ve been lucky with the weather, so I didn’t have to miss too many days due to rain.
The day that I had to run, with no walking, for 20 minutes was a revelation and helped to spur me on. The most I had run on the programme before this was 8 minutes, so it was a real step up! It was just what I needed, as it showed me that I could run for that length of time without stopping.
I have now completed the programme, although running for 30 minutes hasn’t quite got me to the 5km distance yet. I put this down to the dog joining me during my training. Pugsley looks forward to coming out with me, but I have to run on the spot quite a few times while he stops and sniffs. Bless him, he only has little legs, but he keeps going and I talk to him all the while as I run, “Well done Pugsley, keep going little legs.” In truth, this is as much to encourage myself as it is to keep Pugsley going!
I’m looking forward to putting my couch to 5k training into practice once parkrun is back. I’ll be aiming to run a bit more and walk a little less on those Saturday mornings!
I do hope it will not be too long before the parkrun family can all meet up again, to support and encourage each other every weekend.
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