Pam Bennett took up parkrunning in 2019 aged 68yrs and hasn’t let lockdown get in the way of her regular, hilly 5k or the goal for her 70th birthday.
I first heard about parkrun when I got a flyer through the letter box about the start of the Marshall Drive parkrun and wondered if I should give it a try. It was ideally placed for me, with the course being just behind my back garden fence!
I work from home and although I am generally quite active I wasn’t doing any specific exercise and I had not done any running before. I did not know anything about parkrun or how it worked and I was curious to find out more. In March 2019, aged 68 yrs old, I went along to see what it was all about.
I did not have any suitable running shoes or kit and managed to get round the course in jeans and old trainers! That first parkrun was really hard!
I started out walking with a tiny bit of running and kept the tail walker company for a long time! The course is a pretty tough one as half of it is steeply uphill.
I quickly became a regular at Marshall Drive parkrun, volunteering too, often offering to be tail walker as most people are faster than me and so I can usually run some of the way as well!
Since the parkrun events were stopped back in March I have kept running every week by myself. I just did not want to stop because I knew I might not start again!
I run once a week on a Saturday or Sunday at around 7am. I’m an early riser and love being out at that time of day. I always run the Marshall Drive parkrun course and clock my 5k time. I love the cross-country feel of the course and being able to run on grass and soft paths rather than tarmac.
The only other people I tend to come across at that time of day in the park are dog walkers and Paul Waugh! Paul is Run Director for Marshall Drive parkrun and he often pops down to the park with some encouraging words to cheer me on!
Since starting to parkrun in March 2019 and with the support and encouragement of the fantastic Marshall Drive parkrun volunteers and event leaders I have improved my fitness and my parkrun times. I started out completing the course in around 48 minutes and can now do the same course in 38 minutes. Even so, on that course, I still have to walk occasionally to get my breath back!
Regardless of the weather I will be running my 77th time around the Marshall Drive parkrun course (45 parkruns and 32 (not)parkruns) on my 70th birthday which is 22nd of November 2020!
I’m hoping that parkrun can start again as soon as possible. I really miss the friendship and camaraderie of the volunteers and other regular parkrunners.
Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring. When you hear the word ‘healthy’, you can often worry that it means you can’t enjoy your favourite foods. But that just isn’t the case! Putting a fun and different spin on classic dishes can mean enjoying the food you love whilst also refuelling properly after your (not)parkrun….
How do you think your brain health has fared over the last year? Polling has shown more than one in 10 adults in the UK (14%) believe their brain health has declined since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our brains are responsible for everything we think, feel, say and do, so looking…