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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

parkrun can be a stroll in the park

I was very grateful to receive a timely reminder this morning from Coventry parkrun Event Director (and general Coventry parkrun hero) Jason Douglas, which basically bores down to the fact that parkrun can be whatever you want it to be. I was reminded that it is not a race, and that if I can only manage a jog then that is fine and if I am not up to jogging then walking is fine too.

This reminder came just at the right time for me. After walking the kids to school this morning, and hobbling the whole way, I had come to the decision that I couldn't possibly risk running at parkrun this weekend. Literally minutes later the Facebook message came through and I had the sudden realisation that "not running at parkrun" doesn't have to mean that I can't be there. I do have other options available to me. I could walk, jog, or even volunteer.

Well this was a bit of a Eureka moment for me. I hate missing parkrun each week and I have missed so many over the last few months, occasionally volunteering instead. But now I have seen the light and realise that as long as I can manage to walk I can do my weekly parkrun. Now rather than miss out I can join in over the coming weeks and if and when it feels like the calf is ok, I can break out into a slow jog. This is like a huge weight off my shoulders. I no longer need to beat myself up trying to decide whether or not to do my parkrun each week, I can go along and walk or jog as feels right each week. I can see and talk to all my friends at parkrun, which is a huge part of it for me, and I can get another parkrun under my belt as I head towards my 50th parkrun and the parkrun 50-club t-shirt which has remained agonisingly just out of reach since the start of spring this year.

I can use a progressive walk, walk/jog/walk, jog/walk/jog, jog (I think you get the idea) approach each week to gradually build up my confidence and head back towards running a parkrun.

I really don't mind how long it takes me to get back to running at parkrun as long as this approach allows me to be there each week I will be content just to be there.

I have had various other suggestions such as:
- being the tail runner - the person that follows everyone round and makes sure the marshalls know when the last person has gone through. This would typically be walking pace so could work well.
- being a cycle outrider to take the lead runners in the right direction. With all the marshals around the course this has never been necessary at Coventry parkrun and in any case it wouldn't count towards that elusive 50-club t-shirt. But it is another alternative.

All in all I am just glad to have the had the obvious pointed out to me, that parkrun doesn't have to be a run, it can be a run, jog or even a walk and I can't wait to walk my next parkrun!

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