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Forever
News - 18th November 2021

Absolutely determined

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Was it a bird? Was it a plane? No. It was six very special guests completing their first 5k after life changing spinal injuries.

 

Event Director Jo tells us about the incredible morning at Hull parkrun.

 

As we gathered at the start, in East Park, Hull, there was something in the air. Something special was about to happen to make it an extraordinary parkrun day.

 

Was it a bird? Hull Kingston Rovers (HKR) mascot Rufus Robin joined our party today, leading the walkers, joggers and runners off for the 5k. But that wasn’t it.

 

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It definitely wasn’t an automobile, as unless you count the park rangers’ buggy, vehicles are not allowed in the park (although rumour has it that Rufus tried to hitch a lift…)

 

Maybe a plane? No – not unless someone has turned my volunteer roster into a paper aeroplane.

 

Celebration was in the air; carried in in bucket loads by six very special guests all of whom had suffered life changing spinal injuries.

 

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Max (hit by a motorbike in a Hull park, taking half of his leg off), Mose (spinal damage after a tackle on the Hull Kingston Rovers pitch in Feb 2020), Juli (spinal cord injury after a horse riding accident), Liam (spinal tumour) Pete (injury caused by Rugby tackle right here in East Park) and Mark (complications of surgery).

 

Juli and Mose had been told they would never walk again.

 

They chose Hull parkrun for their “Couch to 5k” style achievement. With their dedicated team of physios and support crew, they joined everyone else at the start to begin their 5k adventure.

 

The fact that all of them were on the start line at all, is nothing short of inspiring.

 

They smiled, laughed and encouraged each other around our route, stopping occasionally to rest on the benches, but absolutely determined to complete the journey as a team.

 

Some of them would walk further than they had ever imagined possible.

 

“Who’s got the drinks?” Don’t worry, Mose, we’ve got them… (A question I heard at regular intervals as we walked). Mose was later spotted sitting on our ‘Gill’s bench’ with a cuppa. Well deserved, Mose!

 

This was a rather poignant, but powerful sight, Gill was the founder of Hull parkrun who sadly passed away in 2018 and Hull has a memorial bench in her name at the finish.

 

Gill, I feel, would have loved every minute of our party.

 

As we walked past the rugby pitch, the memories came flooding back for Pete – it was here that he sustained his injuries, and he simply described it as “the scene of the crime”.

 

A cathartic moment for him, I suspect. One of our volunteers, Leanne, said ” I had the most amazing experience of joining some inspirational special guests at Hull parkrun for my 100th volunteer milestone. I had the honour of supporting Pete Stephenson, Mose Masoe and his Couch to 5k team, who all have spinal injuries. I am truly inspired and amazed at what they achieved”.

 

This was the spirit which carried every one of these brave, determined souls twice around the lake, stopping many times for photos with the volunteers who were, quite simply, in awe of our guests.

 

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They had a party.

 

Rufus provided his own unique style of support, engaging with HKR fans young and old along the way, helping Mose to enjoy what he (Mose) describes as an “opportunity to say farewell to Hull”

 

There was a second 100 volunteer milestone for Mike – well done Mike!

 

All of our volunteers were there at the end to cheer our walkers across the finish line, some two and a quarter hours after they all started.

 

Not only did we provide the usual event where we set up, assemble volunteers, start, finish, time, scan and close down, but we made it possible for others to achieve something which they had never imagined.

 

Now that is the true spirit and power of parkrun.

 

Jo Vince

 

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