News - 14th August 2023

Happy experiences and memories made at parkrun

Run Zac & Alex 2

Charlotte Edwards is the Independent Living and Healthy Lifestyle Tutor at Petty Pool College, an education provider for young adults with learning difficulties. Her initial experience of the parkrun community convinced her it would be a great place for learners and their carers to be together outside of college and interact with their local community. Here, Charlotte describes their experiences and the benefits parkrun can offer to them all.


Many of us here at Petty Pool had heard about parkrun but hadn’t taken part in one due to family and work commitments or lack of knowledge as to where the events take place or how to go about taking part. However, as we now know, all it takes is for one person to say they’ve done it, for them to share their experiences and engage and enthuse others to get involved. It’s like a bug, it’s catching!


After parkrun was mentioned in passing, it transpired that a couple of members of staff are regulars. As we discussed it further, the fear of the unknown was taken out of the equation as we learned that parkrun is for everyone. It was really encouraging to hear that many participants regularly attend with their whole family.


Once we organised a date to attend our first parkrun as a team, the excitement began to build!


Initially, the invite went out to all members of staff to come along and get involved in our local Delamere parkrun. We searched up the parkrun website and quickly realised how easy it is to obtain a barcode and set up an account ready for the event.


We had a good turnout of staff members; some with their families and dogs, an experienced parkrunner, and some first timers. We experienced first hand how welcoming, friendly and inclusive the events are and thoroughly enjoyed the picturesque Delamere parkrun route. All members of staff agreed it would be beneficial to get our learners at Petty Pool College involved.


We sent a letter out to our Petty Pool College parents, carers and learners inviting them to come along to experience a parkrun with us. We encouraged them to look on the parkrun website and to register.


During our healthy lifestyle lessons, which all our students access, the learners experienced doing a walk, run or jog up and down the 1k driveway so they could experience what that distance feels like. All the learners enjoyed it, and some challenged themselves! Many completed far more than 1k with plenty achieving 3k or more. I’m sure some would have achieved the full 5k if time had been on their side.


We explained to the learners how the support from the cheerful volunteers would help to motivate and encourage them along the route and that they could complete the 5k at their own pace with no time restriction.


We also tried to convey the feeling of accomplishment they’d feel as their barcode was scanned upon finishing the 5k, with their completion time ready just hours later and how brilliant they would feel at the end of the event, the whole experience providing that ‘feel good’ factor.


The learners didn’t just take our word for it, we played them a YouTube video of other people taking part in parkrun and talking about their experiences. There was a real buzz in the classroom that day.


On the morning of the parkrun, the learners arrived with their parents and carers. The members of staff who attended were trying their best to look out for the learners. We managed to talk to one student, Alex, who came with his mum. It was the first time attending parkrun for both of them. Alex was eager to get going. They listened to the brief given to the first timers delivered by the parkrun volunteers. Alex and his mum were really positive about being there.


When the parkrun began, Alex was off and running straight away – his mum did so well to keep up! He had a big smile on his face for the whole of the 5k.


At the halfway point, we saw Zac and his mum. Zac was keen to run and left his mum for dust!


Run Zac action


We all met back up at the finish line later. This was also the first parkrun Zac and his mum had done and they really liked the idea of making it a regular event.


Run Alex & Zac 3


Finally, we met with Lewis and his mum and dad, they had completed the 5k together. They too were really impressed with how welcoming and organised the event was. There were happy experiences all around and happy memories made.


Pettypool - Lewis


For the staff, it was all about seeing the learners being happy and involved in something outside of college. parkrun is so good for the learners’ social and mental wellbeing, but also for their health and sense of being a part of something. The staff obviously benefit from all the above too, so it’s a win-win. I would absolutely recommend other schools giving parkrun a go and getting involved.


There are so many benefits to a parkrun! It’s a great atmosphere, you feel part of something big, you get to meet people in your local community while enjoying the gorgeous views, and most importantly, it’s free and it’s for everyone.


Charlotte Edwards



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