Nigel Herbert stumbled upon parkrun with a good friend when they were both looking to improve their health and fitness. He has not looked back, getting more involved to help ensure others enjoy parkrun as much as he does.
I lived pretty much opposite my local parkrun event and for three years I wondered what was going on every Saturday morning with people gathering, running or walking together, congregating at the end and then going home.
Then, a very close friend of mine, Melanie, was in the position of becoming a kidney donor to her brother and needed to be in good shape for the surgery, so we decided to improve our health and fitness together.
I have a medical condition called ankylosing spondylitis so had never attempted vigorous exercise before, always skipping PE at school. A colleague suggested trying parkrun. We turned up at St. Helens parkrun and gave it a whirl, running, jogging and walking our way around the 5k.
It is a three lap course, so we had other parkrunners overtaking us, but they were all very encouraging. The first person I remember was, Craig, who seemed to be bouncing around the course. He commented on my friend’s rock band t-shirt.
We have become good friends over the years. Then at the finish I met two lovely ladies over a coffee, who have also become very good friends, they encouraged me to come back the following week.
I loved the fact that I was immediately part of a community, where no one cared that I wasn’t fast and everyone was welcoming. I met some lovely people who are a part of the St. Helen’s core team, they encouraged me to parkrun or volunteer. Being able to be involved as a volunteer is great as my medical condition means parkrunning is not always possible.
Well the rest is history. I have now completed 80 parkruns and have almost 300 volunteer credits under my belt.
I got more involved with the St. Helen’s core team through my volunteering. I think for the first 30 volunteer stints my role was finish tokens, so I got to know loads of the parkrunners too.
I was keen to become more involved and join the core team. At that point, a local junior event was being launched, St. Helens junior parkrun, and one of the local legends, Ant, approached me to join the new core team. I jumped at the chance.
Not long after joining the junior core team, the event director, Jo, asked if I would be interested in becoming co-event director. My parkrun role slowly developed, and I then applied to become an local event support ambassador. This is a role I enjoy the most, I get to support events, helping to ensure they are just as welcoming and friendly as my first event.
I’m a self-diagnosed tech geek and have always taken an interest in parkrun’s results processing. One thing led to another and I was asked if I wanted to join the parkrun tech team as a weekend tech support ambassador. Of course, I wanted that role too!
I have recently relocated to South Wales and have attended my new local parkrun at Aberbeeg. The welcome I received was amazing. I wasn’t surprised, because once you are part of the parkrun community, it doesn’t matter where in the world you are able to attend a parkrun, you will be welcomed!
parkrun is the family I have chosen! Not only has parkrun been good for me physically, but it has had an even bigger impact on my mental health, I owe so much to it.
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On the first day our parkwalker role was introduced, Shuhei Sumitani joined for his first parkrun. Since that parkrun in October, Shuhei has found confidence in the parkwalker role. Event Director Mariko writes how Shuhei has become a part of the wonderful parkrun community. When I met Shuhei, I was at the parkrun…