Monday, 24 June 2013

Parkrun debut for Dexter and Shepley 10k

A couple of weeks ago I ran my first Parkrun at Greenhead park in Huddersfield and then again the week after knocking almost a minute off my previous time. Sarah-Jane came along with the boys to cheer me on and join in the atmosphere. The weather wasn't the greatest that day but the attendance and the warm friendly atmosphere was. All of these and seeing his Daddy do well seemed to encourage Dexter a lot, enough to say he wanted to run next time. Now usually we would say yes Dexter of course and then promises would be forgotten by us and him but this time we could tell he really wanted to take part and run with his Daddy. So Sarah-Jane and I talked and worked out that if Dexter came on a couple of training runs with me during the week we could judge whether or not he would be up to it. Then from there we could see if he could do a Parkrun in a few weeks time.

The following Monday came and I was getting ready to go for a run around Shepley, so I asked Dexter if he wanted to come too. I was half expecting to say no or not today but he didn't he was really excited and jumped up with a big YES, so we got him dressed in to his running clothes. We went outside I did some stretches and Dexter copied then I explained to him that I would do a lap of Shepley with him then drop him off and I would carry on. He was ok with that and was still really excited when we set off round the corner. We got about 400 metres into our run and on a little downhill Dexter fell head first to the floor sliding on his knee, his belly and his hands. The tears flowed and the cries were loud but after about 20 seconds he was calm again and to my surprise when I said let's keep going he said OK. I cut the lap down a bit but we still did 1.3km before we made a pit stop at home to get his grazed knee cleaned. It was bleeding a quite a bit but looked worse than it was and I left Sarah-Jane playing nurse with him as I went back out to finish my run. I was really proud of him for getting back up and continuing and I think he would have run further if it wasn't for the fall. 

Thursday is my normal day for another run but we went to see my friends newborn daughter. The boys loved holding Harlow and it gave them a bit of practise before Flynn is born in 13 weeks time.

So when Saturday came around I wasn't going to do Parkrun until my Mum texted me to see if we were going and if we wanted breakfast after. So we decided to go and we asked Dexter if he wanted to run too as I had signed him up to Parkrun the day before, he said yes still with the same excitement as before the run on Monday. Even with a fall he still wants to run, which is brilliant. So Sarah-Jane and I came up with a plan so that if he didn't want run all of the 5k he didn't have to. Sarah-Jane was going to walk to certain points on the course to cheers us and if I felt Dexter could carry on he could walk with his mummy and brother and I would carry on. We arranged meeting points at 1km, 2km and 3km where he could drop out if he was struggling.

We turned up at my Mum's to drop stuff off then walked round to the park we also picked up Liam (Dexter and Clark's cousin) who was staying over at my Mum's. 

It was pretty quiet in the park to start with so Dexter and I did our stretches then left Sarah-Jane, Clark and Liam to go to the start and they went to the playground for a bit.

Whilst waiting at the start the crowds started to gather and we got talking to a boy about 16 years old who was a seasoned runner with over 50 Parkruns to his name. I knew this only because of the 50 Parkrun t-shirt he was wearing. 

The run started and Dexter and I ran holding hands mainly because I was afraid I would lose him not the other way round. We ran down the main straight and at the bottom we waved at mummy who was in the playground.

Then we rounded the corner at the bottom to head back up and complete the small lap as I call it. As we start the first big lap I explained to Dexter that we would see mummy a few times around the run and if he felt like he couldn't carry on we could stop. He wanted to go on as far as he could which was great and as we reach 1km and our first meeting point we just waved and carried on.

 Dexter was having fun and was surprised at how many people were cheering us on. As we got to 2km started to say he wanted walk but I knew that he could carry on further he's just 5 and winges at the littlest things. So when we saw Sarah-Jane Clark and Liam we waved again and kept running.

As we reached the end of the first big lap I knew Dexter could carry on but I didn't want to push him too much on his first Parkrun and at 3km we met Mummy and started to walk.

I was very proud of him as 3km was the furthest he has ever run and he was going to carry on the route still and finish the full 5km. He was going to walk with Mummy whilst I carried on to the finish then come round  again to pick him up. I left them with 20 mins on the clock and finished with a time of 29 mins so I was chuffed with my final 2km. Once I had finished and got my barcode scanned I ran back down the route to meet up with Dexter again. I caught up with them at the 4km mark and I persuaded Dexter to run again and his cousin Liam joined us too. As Dexter was running in his England shirt with his name and age on people kept cheering his name to give him a boost. We came round the back of the cafe and had about 300 metres to go and we met up with a group of runner who were doing extra km's and they ran behind us and cheered Dexters name until he crossed the line to complete his first ever 5km and first ever Parkrun in a time of 40.09mins. I was ever so proud of him and it was at that point that I remember that he is only just 5 years old and he has just done a 5km run. He has promised that next time he will run faster, but if he just did it again full stop it would be great. He enjoyed the run a lot but I think he was more taken by his barcode, and that he had to look after it until the end.


It's only been 3 weeks since I started doing Parkruns but I already feel comfortable at the events. They have a real family feel to them and you know that after a few events you will know a few of them by name. This will come in handy when I try to encourage a few of them to join my run, the Shepley 10k which I'm organising. The numbers are slowly growing but are better now with its new date of September 15th, rather than its old date. I hope that we can get enough people for the run and I hope we can gather enough volunteers for Marshals too. We need about 10 people for Marshals and we are nearly at the 30 runners mark which is great for a community run. We would obviously like more runners so that we raise more money for the St Paul's Church in Shepley.

If anyone want to join in the Shepley 10k please get in touch via this blog or email me on

Please remember everyone keep running



  1. A great story. Dexter should be very proud of himself, and you should be too...for doing what you are doing. Jxxxx

  2. What a little star he is!!!