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News - 9th September 2021

Enthusiasm, energy and friendliness

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Susan Mackenzie started a couch to 5k programme at aged 69. Having survived breast cancer, Susan wanted to make sure she stayed physically active, but in a friendly and sociable way.


Here’s her story of why parkrun is the perfect fit.


I first heard about parkrun during lockdown, when it wasn’t actually allowed in Scotland!


One of the instructors at my local gym, where I had been doing yoga, body balance and occasional workouts on the machines, is also a parkrunner, and she mentioned it to me. She even took me and a friend around the local route before the events were restarted.


Having never been a runner in my 69 years, I started the Couch to 5k during lockdown a year ago, and after my friend and I completed a Race for Life in September 2020 on our own with no crowds or race atmosphere, I began to find it manageable and enjoyable.


I liked the idea of a sociable group, and the lack of pressure to overdo things; having survived breast cancer, I know the importance of staying physically fit, but am not looking for any extreme challenges, so parkrun seemed to fulfil these conditions.


There was no compulsion to keep running at a fast pace and many people slowed to a walk in places.  My first parkrun exceeded all my expectations and I was immediately buoyed up by the enthusiasm, energy and friendliness of the participants, including all the lovely volunteers cheering us on.


I chatted to a lady only a little younger than me who was an experienced “veteran” parkrunner, and she motivated me to put in that extra push towards the end, meaning my time was quicker than expected.


Seeing the time recorded with everyone else’s really made me feel so proud.


My son ran it with me too and that was so special to me.


I’d recommend parkrun to anyone wanting to feel the benefits of physical exercise outdoors without pressure, as well as a brilliant way to help manage the anxieties we have all experienced during the pandemic: it really helps to lift your mood, and is a small commitment in time on a Saturday morning, getting your weekend off to a great start!


I hope to continue parkruns, and like the idea of the flexibility to turn up at one away from my local area as well as getting to know the regulars on the Livingston route!


Susan Mackenzie


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