My First Parkrun
It was the 4th of November 2017 when I walked my first Parkrun at my local Parkrun in Tymon Park, immediately my consideration that it was for runners only was banished, the Parkrun is for EVERYONE, walkers, joggers, runners, dog walkers, pram pushers, any age, anyone. It’s a free, timed, 5k event every single Saturday at 9:30am, weather permitting of course.
I finished it in a time of 36:23, not too bad considering I walked it, I wasn’t allowed or able to jog at that time, but I was delighted to have an event that I could go to and take part in without feeling under any pressure to do well in.
The Parkrun has been a great activity to have for me because it has helped me greatly on both a physical and a mental health level. What I find really helpful is that I can literally decide on the morning whether or not I feel like going down to take part or not, so there is no pressure which is great.
I was chatting away to the run director while volunteering the other weekend and said to her that it won’t be this year, it might not even be next year, but one day I will come and run the Tymon Parkrun and get a sub 20 under my belt again, and I cant wait for that day.
As for now, I have improved my time from my 36 mins last November to about 26 mins most recently, so hopefully I can improve on that further in the coming months. I did have a little help from my pacer who looked happy to get me over the line in just under 26 minutes, and as you can see I gave it my all, lol. You can’t see from the photo but I had a huge smile on my face, while I was catching my breath of course.
Physical & Mental Health Benefits
Getting out of bed in the morning and heading off to take part in a 5k has it’s physical and mental health benefits. It will help improve your mood, you get plenty of fresh air, plenty of friendly conversation, your brain will thank you, your lungs will thank you, and you’ll certainly feel better after getting the exercise in. I got back from one recently and I remember realising how happy I felt after having completed it, and that was after leaving the house feeling just a bit blah, so taking part in the Parkrun really did improve my mood and perk me up for the day.
I certainly find it’s easier to go down and do the Parkrun than to go out myself, there is something about having other people around you at the same time that just makes it that bit easier. Taking part in the Parkrun means that you will get to complete the 5k with company, support and plenty of cheering to help you along the way. Sometimes I run it, other weekends I like to volunteer, either way it’s just nice to be a part of the event and the atmosphere.
I was explaining in one of my recent blogs “Is cancer harder to cope with when it’s all over?” (Link below) about how the last few years have been quite tough for me being so isolated, isolated from people in general with not being at work or part of a running club, and of course being in hospital or home recovering. I have missed a lot of conversations, a lot of chatting, and it’s not been easy. I’ve missed my running and just being out and about with bundles of energy, but now I get to go down there and volunteer or jog and just chat away to people and have a bit of fun, so it’s something I consider as a hugely positive aspect of my recovery. I spent months on end in hospital, I was not allowed to go outside, I couldn’t even breathe fresh air, it was so incredibly tough, I just wanted to be free again. I’m so thankful to still be here, to be able to just go out for a run and to breathe fresh air again, my wish came true, I’m back outside living my life.
The Parkrun has really helped me, it’s been an important part of my recovery, when I had the energy to go and walk it I walked it, over the course of a few months I was finally able to jog it and just enjoy myself again with no pressure. It helps me because I get to say hello to people, chat to people, and to be a part of something that I have such a strong interest in. Whether I’m running or volunteering, I always feel happier afterwards, it gets me out of the house and I always enjoy going down there and taking part, and being a part of the Parkrun family. It not only brightens up my morning, it brightens up my whole day.
How You Can Help
In return for being able to take part in the Parkrun every Saturday for free you can volunteer on the odd occasion when you can as it’s organised by volunteers only, and there are many different things you can do on the day to help, for example tail walker, marshal, token giver outer, barcode scanner, token sorter.
You might just have a bit of fun at the same time 🙂
Being able to take part in the Parkrun as a runner and as a volunteer has certainly helped me in many different ways, so why not come down and check it out? Find your local Parkrun, register online, print your barcode and come on down. Oh, and Parkruns are all around the world so if you’re ever abroad, check out and see if there is one nearby 🙂 My local Parkrun is Tymon but my home Parkrun is in Gorey, Co.Wexford, so you may see me at either.
Make the change now, come down and volunteer, or walk, or jog, or run, or even for a look, get out of the house and get some fresh air and say hello to a few people.
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