I had heard about park runs for quite a while. Friends of mine all loved it and ‘did’ it and talked about it. But these friends were sociable beings, always doing things in groups, super fit, good runners, supremely confident. Me? Don’t be crazy, I’m old, unslim (such a word? – there is now)and not all that good in ‘group activities’ so I stayed away.
Until I didn’t… reluctantly and nervously I succumbed and joined J at Jells Park at 8am.
I had no idea what to expect, what to bring, what to do, take my car keys, bring water, leave my jacket where?
This is a volunteer run community group showing people working together at its best. The welcome so genuine, the smiles so easy, leave your jacket here, its perfectly safe. A short chat to congratulate milestones (50 runs etc), brief chat for the newcomers and then we were all off.
A bell is rung and the front runners who had already run who knows how far before joining our run. This was a very serious time trial for them as they took off like the proverbial bats. They are remarkable as without fail I notice each week, they arrive at the finish line as I begin my second lap. There are mums with new borns in prams; family groups; a grandpa and his young granddaughter – who hold hands the entire route. I am not sure who is supporting whom, but this will be one of those remarkable memories for her that will bind them forever. There are young children and old ladies – me amongst them, and old men. Everyone out and doing the best they can, and no one cares whether it is fast, slow, sprinting, jogging or walking. It is the spirit of being out.
And Jells never disappoints – whatever the weather, it is a special place.
After the first run – followed by yummy coffee with new friends, I was hooked. And so is my special four legged friend who has run it with me every week since then.
I thank my fit, supremely confident, group movers for persuading me to join you. I thank the park runners and volunteers ( everyone puts their hand up to volunteer at some time or other)
And I shall now look for Parkruns wherever I travel. They have appeared all over the world, Swellendam in the Cape, the Drakensburg, Ireland, UK. and the rest As if I needed an excuse to wander the planet……