Caroline Ford

"I consider myself a prime example of how even the non-athletic can achieve amazing things. Up until about 11 years ago I did zero exercise! With my 30th birthday approaching I decided to join the gym and try to get into some kind of fit 'ish' shape. After a couple of years of being a regular gym goer I could never understand why people wanted to run on a treadmill. Why run getting nowhere and stare at a wall? At school I always hated any kind of sport but I found running bearable so I decided that maybe I should take up running outdoors.

A friend told me about parkrun which was a weekly 5k timed run every Saturday morning. I really had no concept of exactly how far 5k was but I decided to turn up and give it a go. To my surprise about 400 eager runners were there at 9 am on a Saturday morning. I joined the back of the group and hoped I wouldn't be the last. The 5k seemed like a marathon at the time and with a mixture of a jogging and walking I made it around and to my surprise I wasn't the last! Also nobody is last at parkrun as the tail walker is always at the back.

I've now completed over 200 parkruns and even when I am on holiday I always look for the local parkrun. After parkrun I can often be found in the local cafe drinking tea and chatting with friends new and old. It's not only a form of exercise but also a social event and a great way to meet people.

Parkrun increases your confidence, it helps to reduce isolation, depression, anxiety, stress and gives participants space to think. "