[Originally written and posted at parkrunfans blog 10 December 2012]
I was born in the mid sixties and have a few partial memories of secondary school PE lessons including a 1500m, a cross country and being convinced by my schoolmates that I shouldn’t run the 400m in a house competition as another boy – whose name I don’t remember, but whom I can still picture – was a much better runner. He was. And fortunately I listened. These though are one off memories; at school and in the years since it never occurred to me to take up running as a sport or pastime.
I started running some time in 2004 initially mostly on a treadmill. I think I was approaching my 40th birthday at the time. I entered my first race, a 10k, in 2006 and have been entering events and obsessively recording all my running ever since. I’ve raced most distances from 5k to half marathon.
The latter half of 2010 was written off due to problems with my knees and in 2011 I had a seriously debilitating bout of sciatica which resulted in me running only 18 miles that year. I started running again in late February 2012 and half remembered a weekly timed 5k that I’d heard about a few years before. Whether that was a parkrun I was remembering I don’t know, but my searching on the net lead me to parkrun and specifically Dulwich parkrun which I’ve now adopted as my home event even if Crystal Palace parkrun is technically closer. Guess which is the flatter of the two?
I immediately loved the atmosphere and relaxed “feel” at my first parkrun. The seamless combination of serious athletes (running serious times!) and runners of all abilities and ages meant I was hooked. I volunteered within a few weeks of my first run and really enjoyed the experience. Not the most outgoing of people I’ve taken my time getting to know the community, but am getting to know several of the regulars at Dulwich as the weeks pass. At present I work many Saturdays during school terms and so I’m not a week in week out regular myself.
I’m looking forward to 2013, setting new PBs across a range of distances and parkrun being a significant part of that.