Next weekend, I celebrate a little milestone that makes me quite proud – my first parkrun birthday.
I had registered for parkrun months before as I loved the concept but it took me quite a while to actually make myself go to an event. I spent a long time looking up times to find an event with enough runners that matched my times for me not to feel like I was holding everyone up. I picked Albert Park parkrun in Melbourne and, despite a drizzly morning, I tentatively made my way to the meeting area. I shouldn’t have been nervous as the welcome was as friendly and supportive as I could have hoped for. It must have been obvious that I was new and nervous as I was approached by lots of other parkrunners who introduced themselves and chatted about what it was all about.
More importantly, I felt nothing but encouragement as I did my run/walk around the course. And, crossing the finish line, I could hear someone cheering my name – one of the fabulous people I’d chatted to at the start had stuck around after her run to make sure I had encouragement over the finish line.
So, a year later, I’m well and truly hooked. I’m just home from my 21st parkrun (with another 7 spent as a volunteer). I have been a parkrun tourist numerous times, sometimes in a group but also on my own which shows how far I’ve come in overcoming my nerves. I’ve also become very attached to my local parkrun. It has become a big part of my weekend and, through it, I’ve met some great friends and had some wonderful adventures. And, as much as my work colleagues get sick of hearing about it, I can’t help but share how awesome it is – if you haven’t been to a parkrun before, find one and do it!!