News - 3rd February 2023

Starting parkrun at 73

Martin Cuthbert1

Martin Cuthbert took up parkrunning as part of his plan to ward off type 2 diabetes and avoid medication. So far, it’s all looking good!


I’m 73-years-old and completed my first parkrun in November 2021, I’ve lost weight and my plan to control the type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise appears to be working.


In my 30′s and 40′s I completed 20 marathons and many half marathons. In my mid 40′s I eased off, only completing the occasional 10k and then nothing at all for the last ten years.


During the pandemic lockdowns I started jogging as it seemed like sensible activity at that time. I gradually built up from scratch. At first it was a mixture of a few hundred yards jogging, then walk before jogging again. I got further and more comfortable throughout 2020 and into 2021, building up over 18 months to a distance of 4k.


Once the parkrun events were able to restart after the pandemic, in mid 2021, it felt like the perfect solution for me.


My first parkrun was at Sale Water, one of our most scenic parkruns in Manchester. It follows the River Mersey and the lake in the Water Park. I was immediately chatted to and felt at ease. I loved the fact that, though you pushed yourself towards a faster time, you essentially went at your own pace and it was the ‘crowd effect’ that enabled me to extend my 4k to finish the parkrun 5k. Sale Water has about 200 finishers usually so a bit more intimate compared to the bigger local parkrun events.


Martin cuthbert 3



parkrunning in Manchester is so inspiring, my home parkrun is Stretford, which I generally do with my daughter, Jackie. We are lucky to have so many events to choose from locally and at every one there’s yet another group of enthusiastic volunteers when I turn up. I marvel at how well organised all the parkruns are.


I continue to feel a real sense of achievement every time I finish a parkrun and always enjoy the nice cafe and social chat afterwards.


parkrun really sets me up for the weekend and it’s become the focal point of my jogging routine for the week. I aim to complete 4k twice a week, plus the Saturday parkrun. I think at nearly 74 years of age that’s my limit for now, though I’ve recently improved my parkrun time by a few minutes which has been a real confidence booster.


I am losing weight through the exercise and diet, aiming to get off the type 2 diabetes spectrum without having to resort to pills. I also have asthma and I believe parkrunning has been hugely beneficial to my lung capacity, to the point where asthma isn’t really a problem for me anymore. I play golf once a week and also try and get out and walk as often as I can.


At a time when others of my age are generally fading a little, I think parkrun is getting me fitter than I’ve been for a long time. Also winters aren’t a problem, with a waterproof top, a cap and shorts, rain isn’t too much of an issue, and you’re soon back over the finishing line for a coffee.


Martin cuthbert 2



I’m so pleased I was tempted to do parkrun and stretch myself that extra bit.


Martin Cuthbert

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