Caroline Lytton has been unable to run since her teenage years. She has discovered that walking at parkrun is great for keeping her active and providing opportunities to chat to other walkers and hear their stories.
I have Charcot-Marie Tooth disease, a type of inherited, degenerative neuropathy which has meant I have not been able to run since my teenage years.
When I was diagnosed as a teenager I was told I could be in a wheelchair by the time I was 21. I wasn’t about to settle for that and realised that it’s a bit of a, ‘use it or lose it,’ thing with muscles, so I stayed as active as I could.
Nowadays, I can’t run or jump and I need a handrail to go upstairs, but I try not to let it stop me doing what I want. The disease is degenerative and I already rely on one leg brace (soon to be two) so now it’s mostly about keeping going while I can. I have to ask my husband to carry my cups of tea up the stairs, but that’s not such a hardship!
I didn’t think parkrun was for me, so I started volunteering in 2018 while my husband completed his parkrun. It took me a little while before I realised walkers were fully welcome as participants and that there was a tail walker volunteer role, ideal for me!
I’ve been confidently walking at a number of events since, at our home Bicester parkrun and further afield. I’ve had some amazing chats with other walkers and tail walkers all over the country. People walk for all sorts of reasons, but the welcome is just as warm from the parkrun community.
As a regular back-of-the-pack-er I really value tail walkers at other events to keep me company as I go round, so I like to be able to do that for visitors at our local event.
I really like feeling part of an inclusive, active community. Seeing other people walking and trying hard doing so makes me feel included and like I’m not the only one who has a goal that isn’t about beating their 5k time! I hope to pass on these benefits to others, helping them feel seen and included.
One top tip I’d give anyone who is feeling a bit nervous about walking at a parkrun is to go and find the tail walker volunteers in their natty orange hi-vis before the start, say hello and introduce yourself as a walker. The tail walkers are always able to lend a hand, advise on the course and so on, as well as keeping you company if you’re on your own.
You may not have heard of it but Charcot-Marie Tooth disease is one of the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy diseases with around one in 3,000 people having it. It is really under diagnosed. I’d encourage anyone who’s feeling a little wobbly, or having foot and ankle issues, to look into it, as there’s a lot that can be done with orthotics and bracing if needed.
We are delighted to welcome Compeed to the parkrun family as the first official blister plaster of parkrun! The new partnership aims to encourage and support the public to embrace active and healthy lifestyles, something Compeed (a Perrigo owned entity) has been facilitating for over 40 years thanks to its market-leading skin healing technology….
Jeannette Liebig was a keen parkrunner, going every Saturday morning until she was diagnosed with breast cancer last summer. It was only in the following weeks and months that she recognised the significance the parkrun community had on her life. Exercise has always been important to me. My husband, Alex, quit smoking years ago and…