News - 4th May 2023

Loving junior parkrun’s friendly atmosphere


Craig tells us how junior parkruns have allowed his daughter, Kara, to independently do her own thing, and how much she loves warm ups!


My daughter, Kara, is homing in on her half marathon wristband at our local junior parkrun. She is nine now, has Down’s Syndrome and has been loving junior parkrun ever since we started.


I’ve been going to parkrun for about two years – I’d become aware of it through social media, and spotted permanent parkrun signage all around our local 5k parkrun location. We have always been keen for Kara to do the same activities as her 12-year-old sister, so she’s taken part in ballet, guiding, swimming and attended the same school as her older sister.




I had always enjoyed parkrun and thought junior parkrun would be a good opportunity for her to take part in an activity with me, in a friendly and open environment. junior parkrun not only challenges Kara, but it’s also something she can do independently and is not just following her sister’s path.


I think the biggest surprise, and the most fun, was the warm up. The volunteers there are great and cheer her all round the course.


Kara does warm up routines at school, so she started stretching as soon as we got there. Then, one of the volunteers, Brandon, started the group warm up and she found that a lot of fun, especially when I started falling over!




Kara has no issues at junior parkrun since the easy going participation format of parkrun allows her to take part in the same manner as everyone else and she receives the same encouragement and support as the first finishers. We’re usually at the back so we have to be extra aware of the early finishers lapping but that’s my responsibility.


“There are obvious benefits such as fitness, but I enjoy

watching her take part – she enjoys the standard format, knows

when everything is and it gives her confidence to remind me.”


Kara first started volunteering when I was a marshal at the local parkrun and thought it would be a good event for her to come along to. It was admittedly a bit cold that day, but she enjoyed the attention and clapping the runners as they went by. She loves the experience of marshalling with me and is very keen to take part by running, walking and jogging.


She’s also been a tail walker at junior parkrun which has the added bonus of an actual fluffy tail to wear and she was very proud of that!




The last time at parkrun, one of Kara’s friends from school was taking part and her mum was marshalling too. Kara was the tail walker, and the three of them ran the last section together hand in hand, which was so nice to see.


junior parkrun is a first step for Kara, then we are hoping to move into the 5k parkrun itself and take part in the other running activities we do!


Craig and Kara



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