News - 15th March 2022

Building confidence and learning new skills


Volunteering at parkrun has helped Sandra Harnor overcome the agoraphobia and panic attacks she experienced and build her confidence.


Six years ago, I was invited by Trevor Rawson, my yoga teacher, to be part of the team setting up Thurrock parkrun. While we worked on bringing the Thurrock event into existence, I trained for various volunteer roles and built my confidence up at the Basildon and Harrow Lodge parkrun events.


I was initially daunted at the prospect of attending parkrun as I had a type of agoraphobia and suffered from panic attacks.


I was determined to keep going back as I could see how much enjoyment so many people were getting from their Saturday morning parkrun experience. I was thankful to have Trevor and a couple of other friends to accompany me.


Learning new skills at parkrun gave me the incentive to keep returning. I enjoyed meeting new people too, including Ren with whom I often sharing lifts and we both enjoy dressing up for special parkrun events.


Gradually I have overcome the agoraphobia and panic attacks and I now have over 100 volunteers to my name plus a couple of 5ks around the Thurrock course.

I love being involved at parkrun, seeing people achieve their goals and being part of their journey. The core team at Thurrock are amazing and all the walkers, joggers and runners are great fun to be with.


Sandra Harnor 5


Since having to change our event’s start and finish locations I have been enjoying marshalling at the halfway point of the two lap course. I act as a clothes horse for those tops and jumpers which get thrown off as people are getting overly warm on their first lap. There is lots of good humour and I really enjoy cheering everyone on.


I fully intend to keep up my volunteering at parkrun and maybe, one day soon, I’ll try my hand at Run Director.


Sandra Harnor 8


I am so grateful to Trevor for introducing me to parkrun and all the Run Directors I have volunteered alongside.


Walkers, joggers, runners and volunteers at Thurrock, you are all truly amazing.


Sandra Harnor

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