I’d intended to write this blog piece earlier in the week but got distracted – which happens quite often when I intend to write a blog piece so think yourselves lucky!  Then yesterday I read Paul Sinton-Hewitt’s article referencing the history and ethos behind parkrun and the Runners World “cheating” debacle, and that prompted me to pick up my laptop.  Be warned, it is a bit rambling but hopefully you’ll get the gist of what I’m trying to say 🙂

Last Saturday I was heading off to London late morning and whereas in the past, I would have gone along to parkrun first and then had time to get ready for my outing, last week I decided not to go because I didn’t want to appear rude!!

How so?  Well, long gone are the days where I’d shuffle along at the last minute, loiter at the back of the pack and avoid eye contact, then run my 5k, get scanned and disappear back to the car park!  Oh no, now there’s chatting before the run briefing (and sometimes during – apologies), at various points whilst running and post my finish.  In fact, I’ve been known to still be chatting while the volunteers are packing up the course.  And on this particular day, I didn’t want to turn up, run and then disappear without talking to someone about our runs or life in general.  No-one would probably have noticed but I would still have felt a bit rude.

I’ve lost count of the number of people I now know as a result of parkrun and the confidence it has given me is amazing.  As a personal trainer, I’ve always said I could never run classes, I could never stand up in front of lots of people.  But as one of the run directors at Gravesend junior parkrun, I sometimes find myself standing in front of adults and children giving the run briefing over a megaphone!  Ok, so most of them probably aren’t listening but me, standing up in front of people …

During the summer, as run leader for a local running group, I also found myself holding weekly speed/hill training sessions plus circuit classes for the runners and their children, and the latest 0-5k programme has seen 50 plus people showing up.  Intimidating for shy little me but I get out there and confront my fears and if people think I’m stupid, so be it!  It’s now water off the camel’s back.

But the fact remains that the running community through parkrun has led to this new found confidence.  If it wasn’t for parkrun, I’d still be going off for solo runs around my local area, signing up for running events and turning up on my own (and not eating so much cake!)

So if anyone thinks running is an elitist activity and it’s all about winning races, think again!  It really doesn’t matter how fast you run, there will always be someone in the running community to support you.

For anyone who’s interested, here’s the link to Paul’s words

And yes, I’m cancelling my subscription to Runners World too!