"I started running using the Couch to 5km app, as I approached the final week of the programme, I moved to South Africa and friends encouraged me to join them at parkrun. I did my first 30 parkruns in South Africa and when I moved back to the UK and Bedford, joined a free social running group (Bedford Run Club) to help make friends and get to know the area.
Parkrun was a natural Saturday morning activity to continue. In 2017, I completed my 50th parkrun and after that wanted a different challenge so in 2018 started to do some more "tourism" in order to complete my parkrun alphabet, which I managed in October 2019 on the same day as my 100th run. It has been a brilliant way to meeting up with friends around the country or having a weekend away. I love the consistency of the parkrun routine, but how each one has its own unique points. The community feel is fantastic and when I've been injured or been completing a longer run on a Sunday I have volunteered.
I have encouraged a number of friends and family to join parkrun and understand that it is not "just for runners". My 7 year old niece and sister-in-law enjoyed walking their first parkrun and not being "last" because of the supportive tail walker (something that inspired me to volunteer as tail walker) and my mum and stepdad completed their first parkun on Christmas day.
There are lots of community and mental health benefits to joining a parkrun, as well as the physical health benefits. It is not a race – the inclusivity is a huge draw for me."