Saturday, 14 June 2014
My 1st parkrunniversary what a different a year makes.....
The second Saturday in June 2013 will forever more be a special day in my mind for many reasons although it does feel like it has been about two years rather than one! This past year has been so full of excitement, fun, friends, family, challenges, new friends, new experiences, new roles and so much happiness and it's all down to that second Saturday in June when I turned up to my first ever parkrun at Greenhead park.
I've been running now for nearly 2 years but I think if I hadn't have turned up at Greenhead park that Saturday I don't think I would be half as fit as I am now and would definitely not have done as much as I have over the last 12 months.
Over the last 52 weeks I have run countless training runs with a smile on my face each time, and most of the time, with great friends tagging along too. I've smashed PB's and shaved seconds off them now and again too, from 25min 5k's down to 21min 5k's, a 45 min 10k PB along with a 2hr half marathon time, on a truly monsterous route.
I've run :-
Muddy obstacle runs
And a triathlon!
After every event I've felt exhausted but happy with a huge smile on my face everytime and no regrets at all. I've met so many new friends since last June and encouraged them as they've either passed me or I've overtaken them. We've celebrated runs together and helped each other if we've tripped or fallen, we've pushed each other to new challenges and helped everyone that has needed a little push to reach the next level. All this has only been possible because of parkrun and the community that you become part of when you make that first leap of faith and turn up to your first parkrun. Here are some photos of the friends we have made over the last year and it's not only me that has changed too.
My previous year, before parkrun, was not nearly as full and at times getting out on a training run was a drag. I entered two organised events and organised one event myself, but if I hadn't registered and printed off my barcode I think my love for running might have waned and I could have found myself sat on that couch again thinking, I'll go for a run tomorrow....I promise.
Thankfully I did print off my barcode and I did take that 20min car journey across Huddersfield to stand on the start line to be among the 436 other athletes that morning. The thing that makes me the happiest about that day is all the friends and family that have joined me on that start line since and how happy they have been since doing their first parkrun too. My son Dexter joined me the week after and a few months later, 10 days after giving birth to our 3rd child, my wife also joined in and hasn't looked back since.
I am immensely proud of SJ and Dexter and I think if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be on as many parkruns as I am. To date I have now run 48 and soon will be celebrating my 50th hopefully with a lot of my family too. It hasn't just stopped at SJ and Dexter I have encouraged almost all of my family to join in and take part regularly in parkrun, from Jessie to Jodie and even Nana completed the 5k a year after being diagnosed with and beating cancer. Many friends have also tagged along with us like, Steve, Rob, Paul, Becky, Luke and many more, I even arranged for the school fun run to take place alongside parkrun. So far I think I've encouraged around 50 or more people to lace up those running shoes and pound the paths of Greenhead park. I still try to encourage as many people as I can to try it, whenever someone on Facebook is talking about going running for the first time I inform them about parkrun and tell them they won't regret it and not to be scared about making that first step.
It's not just running at parkrun that gets you involved but volunteering too can help you become part of the community and give a little back, and best of all it's free. Free to run, free to volunteer, free to make friends, and free to give your all, every single time. SJ and I have also been privileged enough to join the team that organises and creates awesomeness every Sunday in the form of the Huddersfield junior parkrun. Still in its early stages but the junior parkrun is something amazing and special already, and has brought so many people from the community down so their juniors can run around the gorgeous Greenhead park, with many parents volunteering whilst their juniors run.
It's safe to say this past year has been AWESOME and I hope the weeks, months and years to follow are just as good.
Keep running everyone......