News - 13th May 2022

So much more than just a family outing

Fiona Dunbar 2

Fiona Dunbar’s family have all benefitted from regular parkrunning and volunteering after overcoming some huge obstacles in recent years.


Our parkrun journey started in a very low key way back in 2015. We went to spectate at a local event in Alice Holt Forest to cheer on a family friend who was taking part. We didn’t think any more of it until our elder daughter, Anna, was looking for a regular physical activity to participate in as part of her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.


Anna and I did our first parkrun at Woking in May 2018. Michael, my husband, did his first event in June 2018 and Kirstie, our younger daughter, did her first parkrun in August 2018. Kirstie, who is on the autistic spectrum, had been with us a few times before but at that stage wasn’t completing the whole 5k.


Michael underwent emergency neurosurgery five years ago for a cerebral abscess and parkrun really helped aid his recovery and regain his fitness. He couldn’t drive for a year after his surgery, so I started taking him to parkrun each week and it started to become a regular thing.


With plenty of parkruns under her belt, Anna achieved her Gold Duke of Edinburgh award. Michael happily made a full recovery and Kirstie began to complete the whole 5k parkrun course. As we now have a dog, I go with Kirstie and Michael but tend to walk with the dog. Kirstie and Michael have done over 100 parkruns. We try to find the local parkrun whenever visiting friends or family and have attended many different events.


Fiona Dunbar 4


In addition to parkrunning, Kirstie is volunteering at junior parkrun as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Award. She and Michael volunteer at Queen’s Parade junior parkrun in Aldershot most Sunday mornings and then bring the tokens home to sort.


We are so proud of Kirstie. Being on the autistic spectrum brings with it many challenges. However, parkrun has provided us with so much more than just a family outing. It has given Kirstie a real sense of achievement, improved her physical ability and is now an integral part of her weekend. Even when we are on holiday, Michael and Kirstie will always find a parkrun to do. A highlight of last summer was their Land’s End parkrun.


Fiona Dunbar 3


We are very grateful that parkrun has accepted Kirstie for what she can do, and we have enormous pride, as parents, that she has embraced this 100%.


Fiona Dunbar

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