Christmas Day 2016 sees me run my 100th parkrun and I am so pleased that I found parkrun many months ago.
It was the 14th April 2012 when I did my first ever parkrun. I went to Pontefract racecourse and I knew nobody there. I ran 5k in an organised event for the first time ever and I felt ace! Circumstances and other commitments meant that I didn’t get to do it again for another year. I returned to give it another go on 20th April 2013 when I started running parkruns on a more regular basis.
My running improved. My enjoyment of running improved. My belonging to a community had arrived. I was becoming a runner, and enjoyed more about parkruns than just the running part. The support and social interaction side was really enjoyable and something that had to be part of my weekends whenever I could make it to a parkrun somewhere.
Fast forward several years to early December 2016, I was now on 99 parkruns and had decided that Christmas Day was going to be the day when I ran my 100th parkrun. A day of giving, a day of celebration, a day of togetherness and happiness. Yes, parkrunday was on Christmas Day too!
Of the 100 parkruns, I have enjoyed going to quite a few venues:
- Pontefract – 70 (14x PB)
- Wakefield Thornes – 12 (3x PB)
- Nostell Priory – 10 (2x PB)
- Wolverhampton – 3 (2x PB)
- Holkham – 1
- Sewerby – 1
- Conkers – 1
- Highbury Fields – 1
- Temple Newsam – 1
I am also chuffed to have got a PB on 21 of those 100 occasions too! Not bad to say my running form fluctuates to such varying levels.
I am proud to have gone from running 39m04 in my first parkrun to running fairly consistently under 30mins now most times when I am doing my best. My overall parkrun PB of 26m17 came in November 2015 and I hope one day to get back to that kind of form again. parkrun is very much having a good time, even if you’re not aiming to get a good time. Enjoyment is as much part of it as trying to improve your running time for the 5k distance.
Overall though, I am so honoured to have been part of a running community that is free, open and accessible, friendly, caring, encouraging, supportive and a great way to help people start running, keep running, get back into running, and to just be a runner.
I’ve volunteered 15 times within that time too, and had the enjoyment of cheering people on and congratulating people as they finish. People are so grateful to have that support from other runners, it really adds to the magic of a Saturday morning run.
My 100th parkrun isn’t really so much about me, it is about being grateful and thankful for those people who have helped me along the way. The volunteers and race director teams who have enabled the events to go ahead, the other runners who have supported me and others along the way, the venues for allowing us to run in all conditions in the great British outdoors each week, and for our health which allows us to do this activity we love.
Thank you to everyone, and a big thank you to parkrun for being what you are to so many people. Happy Christmas, and happy parkrunday to you all.
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