Linda Allen was introduced to parkrun by her daughter. She also fell in love with volunteering, and can’t wait to get back to meeting her friends and chatting away on a Saturday morning.
This is her parkrun story.
I started running at the age of 57, when my daughter Liz Irvine encouraged me to join the Springfield Striders beginner’s course. That summer I ran the Race for Life 5k, and later in the year I did the Chelmsford 10k. When I was 60 I did the Great South Run, and a year later, in 2011, I did the Great North Run, a fantastic experience and the pinnacle of my running career!
My running tailed off a bit after that, until Liz told me about this new thing called parkrun starting in Chelmsford in 2013.
In April 2013 I turned up for the first time and was amazed at how many different kinds of people there were, and that I could still run 5k! It took a while for me to be totally committed to this Saturday morning routine – I would not put on the alarm, would not go if it was too hot, or if I had to de-ice the car, or if it was raining – but after a while it just clicked.
I became a parkrun tourist, and have now done 69 different events in my 246 runs and was fortunate to meet parkun founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt at Dinton Pastures. It is fair to say that parkun has now become an obsession. When I discovered the challenge badges I set about collecting them and now have quite a few including Compass, Staying Alive, Pilgrimage, Pirates and Stopwatch Bingo. I was set to complete the Alphabet Challenge on 20 March last year by visiting Zamek w Malbork in Poland, and was gutted when it had to be cancelled!
I also discovered that volunteering is just as much fun, and very rewarding, and whilst aiming for my 25 volunteer T shirt I started volunteering at Chelmsford junior parkun. I still help there regularly and have now volunteered over 100 times. I often volunteer at some of the other parkuns I go to, usually token sorting afterwards, or being Tail Walker. The best experience of tourist volunteering was without a doubt as Tail Walker at Portrush, N Ireland, my all time favourite parkrun which takes place totally on a spectacular beach.
(not)parkrun has really helped to keep me active during lockdown. Most of my 100 (not)parkruns have been walks rather than runs, but that has helped me discover the footpaths and lanes near home.
I turned 70 in July last year, and my son, daughter and son-in-law joined me for a (not)parkrun in the morning. I cannot wait to get back to meeting friends and chatting before, during and after parkrun. I have already booked a trip to the Lake District later this year and have earmarked two parkruns to do whilst away!
On Sunday 11 April, after almost 13 months of closure, we were delighted to welcome back 48 of our junior parkrun events across England. Spanning England, from Durham down to Wincester, there were more than 4,000 4-10 year-olds through the finish funnel, with over 1,000 taking part for the very first time. The…