News - 16th November 2022
Mark Thompson 1

After a career in the military, Mark Thompson was delighted to find that at parkrun, you can’t come last and you’ll get just as many cheers wherever you are in the parkrun pack.


I spent 26 years in the Royal Navy and it’s fair to say that the forces have a different approach to fitness! A particular phrase bellowed in your ear was, “Don’t be last!” which I expect was intended, in a bizarre military way, of providing encouragement.


I was medically discharged mainly due to issues with my back, so the notion of running 5k was not high on my ‘To Do’ list. But, while were camping in Wales, my girlfriend told me about parkrun.


Due to the, ‘Don’t be last,’ military mantra that had been drummed into me over many years, I was terrified of the potential shame of coming last at my first parkrun. Of course, I now know that at parkrun no-one comes last and over the past eight months I have witnessed it first hand.


I have just completed my 25th parkrun. I can now run the whole 5k, thanks to the Couch to 5k programme. We have done a couple of volunteer roles too, with more planned.


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At all the parkruns I have attended, there has always been a tremendous ‘family feel’ about them. Always. Even if I am running alone, I still feel part of the community and this has done wonders for my mental health and self-esteem.


I love that everyone cheers you on as you go round and everyone gets a great reception crossing the finish line.


parkrun is now a big part of our lives, and whenever we plan to go somewhere, we first check if there is a parkrun there.


parkrun has given me a new lease of life, a sense of achievement and a feel of family, too.


Mark Thompson 2




Mark Thompson

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