Alison Turrill, 55, loves the sense of community at parkrun and wishes she’d started taking part sooner.
Now she loves catching up with her parkrun friends every Saturday.
There is a sense of community at every parkrun I go to. I love the simplicity and inclusivity of parkrun. Who you are, what you do for a living, all of those things are irrelevant. We are all a family at parkrun.
I’ve met and made friends with people that I would never have met otherwise. It’s incredible to see how encouraging and supportive parkrunners are of each other. After a busy or stressful week at work, I am guaranteed a smile and a laugh at parkrun.
The only way we judge parkrunners is by the size of their smiles.
I’ve had some beautiful parkrun experiences. At the exquisitely beautiful Cannibals Cave parkrun, a little girl walked up to me, took my hand and didn’t let it go the entire 5km. We didn’t speak each other’s language, but we were there together, walking in the rain as parkrun family.
I am so often in absolute awe of what we can learn from children
I also remember another young girl, in her dress and flip flops, at Kaymandi. I was working hard at increasing my fitness, I had climbed the hill and was running. My body was feeling fine, but my mind said ‘time to stop’ and just as I was about to stop, a little voice next to me said ‘we can do this’. Her timing was perfect. I kept going.
For all the women and girls out there thinking about parkrun – do it. I wish I had started earlier than I did. I was worried I would be too slow, as I have never been a runner, although now I love jogging the 5km. I was worried that people would look at me and wonder what I thought I was doing there, worried that I would not fit in somehow.
Once I started, thank you to my friend Deziré Kriel, I loved it from the very first parkrun I did.
Then I encouraged and cajoled a large group of my old school friends, also females, to join in. I still do, I encourage everyone I come across to join their local parkrun event.
parkrun is an opportunity for women to be themselves, without the responsibility of being the wife, the mother, the daughter, the employee, and away from the pressures and responsibilities of everyday life. It’s a relaxing time to make new friends, to meet people you might never meet otherwise, and where you can also participate by volunteering, and learn new skills.
After several very difficult years in my personal life, I needed something positive to focus on. parkrun filled this need completely. Being surrounded by happy, positive people every parkrunday is good for my soul.
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