What does Park Run mean to you?
I wrote this blog last year but though it was apt as we find out that the return of park run has been postponed from the end of October. It was inevitable really as the nature of park run is to get groups of people out and socialising. Pretty much goes against what we are now being advised to do. I really miss park run though; more than I realised.
The other day a friend of mine moved home and his final sign out from his local park run really touched me. He This was his post:
“So that’s me signing off as resident of Newport Parkrun on a 25 min run. To say that I have loved every minute of my involvement in Newport Parkrunning would be to sell it short, I’ve adored it. It’s been my focus, solace, achievement, rest, heart and mental space. I’ve made so many friends that I hope to keep in touch with for all time, I’ve been inspired by so many runners and newbies and I hope I’ve helped a few along the way.
Parkrun has captured my ethical heart and chimes a chord in how one should and could live their life, looking after others and not needing anything in return other than seeing others better themselves. It’s 21st century community outside of my friend Zuckerbergs digital space. Look after her, she needs nurturing, Parkrun depends on people giving time, as soon as that stops she dies and that would be a devastating event.
I thank Parkrun for letting me get involved and to you all for your friendship, there’s far too many to name, and I’d forget some, but you know who you are. I wish you all the very best, of the 18 yrs in wales, the last 6 have been my happiest and feeling settled, who’d a thunk it?”
Park Run has clearly changed his life and his following posts where about how nervous he was going to his new local event and yet by the powers of Park Run someone had already been in touch with the local event director and he was welcomed with open arms; as is every single person at park run. So why has Park Run changed people’s lives?? Surely its just a little run round a local area? Its not though its so much more than that! Its a community, a family, it inspires people to better themselves and it encourages people of all ages,religion, sex and walks of life to get up and do something that’s good for both their mental and physical health. Park Run has helped non runners become runners, helped runners lose weight, deal with loss and mental health problems; it’s inspired youngsters to start running; its bought together local communities and it showcases some beautiful open spaces across the country. Its now become almost a ‘holiday must’ to look for an event close by (I even looked in Florida when we went and there were a few but just a bit too far to drive!) . For me it has changed from being a competitive run I used to do every now and then to being social event that my daughter has finally (mini fist pump!!) got involved in. For many years she didn’t understand why I wanted to get up and run on a Saturday morning. Then one morning she uttered those words ‘ can I come to park run with you?’ Firstly I nearly fell off my chair but secondly I was so proud of her for making that choice herself. She’s now on Park Run number 5 and we’ve already done some tourism. Its so hard to engage teenagers nowadays and young girls have so many issues and peer pressure to deal with that they are one of the biggest groups reporting mental health issues and inactivity. If Park Run inspires them to get active even for one day then that is a a huge step forward. (Plus I love our Saturday mornings together 🙂
The Park Run ethos is that no one gets left behind and absolutely everyone is welcome. There arent many initiatives in this day and age that are completely free, and can claim they have changed the lives of so many people across so many nations. Park Run is truly a unique being and like my friend said it needs to be nurtured, it needs to be promoted across all levels from GPs to pensioner groups. It has to be protected from losing its very core values so it can continue to inspire and change lives.
So what does Park Run mean to you?? Has it changed your life? Were you inactive mentally or physically and has it bought something fresh and new to your life? Have you met new friends? Used it as a way to settle into a new area???
Please share your stories so we can celebrate this very special thing that is ParkRun