Last week Renton parkrun, near Seattle, celebrated its first anniversary. They had an amazing cake, and welcomed a near record crowd. But the best birthday present of all was this letter from Renton regular Abby.
We had planned on sharing a “Why we are thankful” list for Thanksgiving, but Abby’s letter captures much better why we are so grateful.
“When I started coming to parkrun last year I was in a terrible state mentally (and physically). I hated the direction that my life was going and feeling out of control. I needed change and happened upon a friend’s *interested in* post about parkrun. I thought: “Free, I can do that!”
That first week I couldn’t even jog the whole route and I believe my first time was 48 minutes. At the end I thought that I was going to die, but I wanted to do better. I made my first goal to be able to run the whole way. A few weeks later I conquered that. Then, it was to get a faster time each week. Check. When I hit a plateau I decided that I needed to break 30 minutes. With some help and encouragement I did it (barely – 29:59). parkrun has become a place of camaraderie, a break from my hectic life, and a place where I can challenge myself, and there is never any failure. Just a next time.
I have found a confidence that I didn’t know that I had, and I finally realized that I am not just a mom that has to do for others all the time. I am also me and I can do something for myself. I can take one hour once a week just for me. I can and do keep reaching for bigger and bigger goals and after 30 parkruns I am crushing them along the way.
I can’t believe that in such a relatively short amount of time I have shaved 20+ minutes off my time, 14 pounds off the scale, 3 clothing sizes shed, and have never felt stronger and healthier in my life.
I love that I could PR (28:49) on such a special day, Renton parkrun’s 1st birthday. I couldn’t have done that without you and parkrun.”
Every parkrun weekend is special, of course, but we especially love welcoming new events to the parkrun USA family. That’s just one of the stories in our highlights from this weekend across parkrun USA. There’s something magical about the moment that a parkrun stops being an idea and turns into a living, breathing community….
On pre-Valentine’s weekend, Pensacola, FL was clearly smitten with its new parkrun. The University of West Florida welcomed 226 finishers to the newly cleared trail through its Baars-Firestone Wildlife Sanctuary. This was the largest North American parkrun launch to date, by far. We checked in with the team at Rec Plex North parkrun to…