On 10th March 2018 I tried something new for the first time. As part of my friend’s 40th birthday celebrations a group of us had headed to Huntingdon parkrun to start the day. I had registered for parkrun a couple of months earlier but had never really seen the point of driving 20mins or so in each direction to run 5km. Why would I do that when I could just go for a run at home?

Fast forward almost 4 years and this morning saw me reach the parkrun milestone of 50 runs. Who would have thought that possible when I crossed the line at the end of a run that had reminded me of cross country races from years gone by.

To be honest the thought of driving to a run is still partly on my mind. Indeed that 1st run at Huntingdon is still the only one of the 50 that I drove to from my own house. What really changed for me was the arrival of Pocket parkrun in June of the same year. Suddenly I had a parkrun almost literally on my doorstep and the bug bit. When I could I would be there at 9am on a Saturday morning and whilst I can’t quite justify to myself driving to a run rather than walking 500m, whenever we are away from home, finding somewhere to tourist is high on my agenda.

Since that 1st run I have now visited 15 different events across the UK. The majority of my tourism has come in and around West Yorkshire when I am visiting the inlaws but I have also added in local events when away on holidays.

My parkrun map courtesy of the great https://running-challenges.co.uk/ plugin

Among my 50 runs, the thing that probably makes me proudest is the fact that 10 of them have come with one (or more) of my kids. They love Junior parkrun as well but the fact that they also enjoy the longer distance from time to time makes me smile. I know that some people choose not to take a time when running with their kids but to me every run counts!

It is true that the kids are also in part an explanation for why it has taken almost 4yrs to get to this point. Granted we lost 18 months to Covid but unfortunately 9am on a Saturday does have a tendency to clash with football and dance. parkrun may have become a bit of a snatched opportunity when there is no match or a late kick off but that makes me appreciate it more when I am able to run.

I am sure that parkrun will continue to remain something I try to get done as often as I can moving forwards. Just another 50 until I hit the magic 100!

As a run itself my 50th was actually also my 2nd fastest ever. Given the slippery course I know I can go faster and am already thinking that my next tourist target may have to also be based on speed opportunity as well as being new. The weather held fine and with it being our EDs 50th birthday, there were plenty of balloons I could pretend were just for me!

So with 50 parkruns down, I thought I would have a little look at my stats!

Fastest parkrun: 20.43 @ Pocket 11/12/21

Stopwatch Bingo: 35/60

Wilson Index: 4

By Mike

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