Although I run regularly, this year I have finally joined up and started to ‘Park Run.’ I love the idea and ethos of Park Run, a 5k, free, weekly timed run for all and have always been interested in the community. However living in a rural area, our nearest event is a 40 minute drive, meaning it takes longer to get there, than run it! Given I’m a busy mum, I’ve been hesitant to manage my time like this but on my #19for 2019 I decided I wanted to be competitive in a sport and Park Run can provide this competition, me against a stopwatch. I can’t run every week, we have other family commitments and Mr S works alternate Saturdays but I have been trying to do at least one Park Run a month.
My daughter who occasionally runs with me has started to get curious about Park Run so we agreed when she could run 5k she could join me too, she embraced the challenge and quickly proved she could do the distance. Today was her first Park Run and we ran the course together. She is at an age where I would be allowed to leave her on own and run on but this doesn’t quite fit in with my view of Park Run, its a supportive and inclusive activity. I want my daughter to fall in love with Park Run and use it to feel emotionally and physically fit as she approaches her teenage years. I’m accepting that at the moment, I’m not going to challenge my PB but my new mission is more important. I also think that with a little more training and practice she’ll be easily pushing my PB in a few months. I would be really pleased if Little Man started to run too, but at present it would clash with his swimming lessons which he really enjoys. A Park Run family would enable us to do it more regularly.
Whilst I maintain a degree of anonymity on this blog, the first letter of my home Park Run is quite rare so those doing the alphabet challenge often run it for this purpose. It is a lovely route, 2 laps, one small, one longer with a long winding hill on both laps (not so keen on this aspect!) Its in a beautiful setting, a trail run through woods and then open fields with some stunning views. Its a nice size event, ranging from 320 – 550 runners in the weeks I’ve done it, whilst this seems a big difference a neighbouring run was cancelled on the 550 attendance date. Fortunately there’s a big car park and even on the busiest run, it was easy to get a space in the car park for the very reasonable Park Run special rate of £1.
At present, I have done all my Park Runs at the same venue, typically the week I was going to try a different one it was cancelled and I went back to my home run. There are another two fairly close by, ie less than an hour’s drive which are on my list to try soon. I’ve also looked up Park Runs near my parents house and our holiday destination for a little Park Run tourism later this year. I like the idea of running a Park Run whilst away from home, I know I’m always interested when the visitors are introduced in the briefing to find out where they are from and their local Park Run, it does feel like a community. Not only do I run Park Run, I listen to the brilliant weekly podcast, With Me Now and am slowly picking up the lingo and challenges! Realistically I can’t do more than I am now but perhaps as the years go on, I’ll be clocking up the milestones. I’ve also followed the blog Maria Runs (mariaruns.com) for years and she’s a big Park Run fan so its interesting to read her posts.
Park Run is such an inspirational and innovative idea and one that I really enjoy being part of. I hope I can keep running for many years to come and enjoy being part of the special community.