News - 14th August 2020
Pat Brimble 3

Great friends Pat Brimble and Sue Chambers, have found a genius way to do their (not)parkrun together but remain apart. Here Pat explains their special strategy.


I first heard about parkrun through my sister Linda who was already doing Newport parkrun where I lived at that time. Although I lived close to the Newport parkrun course and had started running around the area on my own, I was too nervous to go along to the event.


My first parkrun was while I was on holiday in August 2014 in Saundersfoot at the Colby parkrun, where I now live. I went with my daughters, Carys who was already parkrunning in her home town of Worcester and Rhian, who like me, was parkrunning for the first time. I completed the course at Colby and although I found it quite hard I was so exhilarated at the finish that I was hooked straight away by the friendly welcoming atmosphere. The following week I started running at my local Newport parkrun.


Pat Brimble 1


What keeps us all coming back to parkrun is the great atmosphere, seeing friends we have made there who support and encourage us and the challenge of trying to improve week on week. It is also a great way to start your Saturday, no matter what the weather we’re always ready to go at 9am.


Sue and I have known each other since I moved to Saundersfoot from Newport in 2015 and I am responsible for first telling her about parkrun. Her initial comment, when I asked her to come along was, “But I’m no runner, I’ve never run any distance before”.  I told her that she could just do what she felt able to and that everyone would make her feel very welcome.


When Sue finished that first run she said, “Well, I can run 5k now!” After that she was hooked and has never looked back. That was in May 2017.


When Sue was taking part in her 50th parkrun, I made a 50 banner and pinned it to her back, but it came off half way around. A kind parkrunner rescued it and returned it to Sue at the finish.


We love our parkrunning and it sets us up for the weekend, so, we planned to keep going when parkrun had to stop due to the pandemic. We initially ran along the coast path and back but a week later the coast paths were closed too. Then, we ran around the local lanes but decided we would rather run on paths than roads.


We then devised our master plan! We decided if we ran a loop of the estate where we live but each going in opposite directions and on opposite sides of the road we would be running at the same time but not together. We needed to do 3 loops, but the first week we were slightly short of the 5k so we added in an extra road which adjoins Whitlow and by incorporating this we had the exact 5k and the bonus of a sea view on each loop.


We’ve become quite a feature on the estate on a Saturday morning, with neighbours encouraging us and cheering us along the way.  We set off in different directions at 9am and have continued every week of lockdown a total of 16 weeks so far (as at time of writing).


Pat Brimble 2


Even though we could now run together, socially distanced, we still go in opposite directions and take it in turns to run the ‘slightly hillier’ way.


Last week, I ran on my own for the first time as Sue went to visit her Mum and family in Essex having not seen them since before lockdown. However, in true style, she devised her own 5k run around Billericay which she completed on Saturday and we messaged each other to compare times.


It’s been good fun to keep going and keep improving on our times.


When we’re able to go safely back to parkrun we’ll be raring to go. Until then, we’ll keep on running!


Pat Brimble

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