Viveka from Sweden is a self-proclaimed non-runner, but she shared the story of how she became a parkrunner. She volunteers more than she participates and more often walks than runs, which is true for many parkrunners around the world. No matter how you participate, if you do, you’re a parkrunner and you’re always welcome.
The article below has been slightly edited to provide clarity after translation.
I don’t like to run, I don’t even like to jog, so why do I like parkrun? My very good friend Maria, who was involved starting up Örebro parkrun, started talking about parkrun in the autumn of 2016. I didn’t understand it. But she nagged and because my husband Anders likes to run, we promised to come to the first event in April 2017. Oh no! What had I promised? Me – who had not taken a running step in the last 10 years and had a bad knee was going to run with a lot of crazy elite runners. I was surely going to be absolutely last, so I forced Anders and Maria’s husband to jog with me. Imagine my surprise when I realized that:
1. I was able to jog 5 km without stopping
2. I wasn’t last
3. It wasn’t just elite runners but instead all sorts of runners, joggers and walkers
4. I thought it was really fun.
Yes, my poor body suffered for several days afterwards with, but it was worth it. We were there already the next time, and the next and … yes, you get it.
I even started jogging outside of parkrun. I must admit that I shocked both myself and above all my husband. I took the initiative to visit a chiropractor and managed to sort out the pain in my knee. In the autumn of 2017, I felt that I wanted to rest my knee and see if it got better. Maria then persuaded me to become a Run Director. Sure, I responded happily, even though I had no idea what I had said yes to! I could just as easily hang out at the finish or cheer on the runners out on the course when Anders ran. And as a reward, I got to have a coffee afterwards without having to do any hard training. Talk about a win-win!
Again, I surprised myself. Now, on some Saturdays, I was in charge of organizing a lot of runners, joggers and walkers. I thought it was amazing fun and absolutely magical. I am a ‘club’ person and love to work in a group with other people who are also real ‘super volunteers’. Ever since my children finished playing soccer and my husband and I finished being coaches, I have missed that life. I have also missed meeting new people and now parkrun provides these opportunities. Where else in life could you meet so many new people: from little Luna (then a little baby and now 2.5 years old) to Börje who is over 75, “crazy” Micke, Sara from Australia, people from New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, sparkling Nicklas, the dog Maggan and her lovely owner Lotta, old acquaintances/colleagues, children of all ages – well, at parkrun! I love the social aspect; saying hello, giving hugs, chatting and cheering everyone who comes to the finish and finally – coffee afterwards. I love hearing the buzz, the laughter, giving congratulations on PBs, the clink of coffee cups and happy children’s voices. It fills my heart with joy and pride.
The fact that one can participate in any parkrun in the world is, of course, a bonus. We have taken advantage of this on some occasions – London, Dublin, Uppsala and most recently in Malmö. In the spring we will visit Haga in Stockholm, and then Malmö once more. We look forward to the launch of parkrun in Växjö, as our son lives there, and we won’t have to miss parkrun when we go to visit him and his girlfriend.
It’s been a long time since I ran the whole way around the course, but the fact that I get to walk around our lovely course in Rynningeviken from time to time is a bonus. Maybe I will start by jogging slowly again, see if the knee holds up and maybe I will feel that I get a little better every time, or maybe I am just content with going around with the other walkers in addition to being Run Director and volunteer. Regardless, I am happy to be part of a lovely parkrun gang.
Run Director in Örebro
20 parkruns and 43 times as a volunteer – and a PROUD parkrunner
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