My Parkrun love affair.
It’s two year since my then-nine year old daughter and I ran our very first Parkrun.
We had no real expectations. We didn’t know if it would be a one-off, something we would do occasionally or something that we would do every week. We were just giving it a try.
It took a while, probably even a year, but gradually my love of Parkrun grew almost to the point of obsession. Now my Saturday mornings are sacred.
At 9am, we do Parkrun.
A few weeks after that first time, I ran without my daughter and recorded a time of 25:08. I was 119th overall out of 356 runners. Most importantly to me, I was 19th woman home and placed third in my category.
Before long, the 25 minutes had become 24 and then 23. I got stuck at 23:23 for nearly a year, then had an incredible run of five PBs in five weeks earlier this year to take my time down to a very respectable 22:31.
I have been third woman across the line three times and come first in my age category nearly every week, even though runner numbers are now over 400 and often closer to 500.
My age percentage grading has reached 69.36%. To put that into context, the first few runners across the line normally have an age percentage in the region of 70-75%. For my gender and age, I'm on a par with the men who are crossing the line in 10th or 11th place every week. Not bad for someone who was never more than 'quite good' at PE at school.
It took me 18 months to reach the important Parkrun 50 run milestone, but my aim is to reach my 100 in little more than another year.
Over the last two years, Parkrun has changed my life. It's not just the running, because I've run for my entire adult life. It's the atmosphere, the community, the sense of occasion. It's something I do for myself. Weekend activities in the past have always been someone else's - football, rugby, swimming lessons. They've involved me giving a lift and watching and waiting, probably getting cold at the same time.
But, although I run for myself, I also feel lucky that most of the time when I do Parkrun at least one member of my family is there.
My daughter fell out of love with it for a while, but now she’s 11, she can run alone and is enjoying it again. My husband and two sons, aged 13 and 15, run from time to time too. I’m never happier or more proud than when all five of us run. And I’m looking forward to seeing two or three of my family get their 50 t-shirts this year.
And if my family aren’t running, I have Parkrun friends too. There is always someone to chat to before and after the run.
I have absolutely loved my Saturday morning Parkruns over the last two years and I'm going to keep on running for as long as I can.
Parkrun is a series of free, timed 5k events held every Saturday morning at 9am at hundreds of open spaces around the UK. You don't have to run. You can walk or jog or simply volunteer. To find your nearest Parkrun go to http://www.parkrun.org.uk
Blog: MumofThree World http://mumofthreeworld.com