A year ago I was midway through my C25K and starting to go to parkrun each week. I set myself a target on my 49th birthday. I would do my 50th parkrun on the weekend nearest my 50th birthday. The target was achievable, with a few weeks left spare in case any problems came up and I wan't able to run one weekend. Lots of my fellow posters on this site were very supportive. Thank you all for your kind messages.
So what happened? In a sense, I did too well. I missed two runs in August when I was away on holiday, but otherwise did a 5k parkrun every Saturday. I actually reached my 50th on Christmas Eve and decided there would be no point waiting until February for the sake of it. Now I have the red milestone t-shirt. Regular parkrunners will know this is a big achievement for anyone who attends and gives a sense of camaraderie to those wearing it and a target for those not yet there.
So I'm up to my 50th birthday week. Just another parkrun. Run 56. Only 44 to go to the black milestone t-shirt. Not quite. It turns out that the original plan worked after all. The results email from parkrun told me something that I hadn't realised. This weekend was my 50th parkrun at my home course, Lincoln!
14 months ago I wasn't running at all. Now, Saturday morning isn't complete without a run. To anyone just setting off or trying to keep going with C25K, my message is "stay with it". If you have completed C25K and are wondering what will keep you motivated, set yourself a target. Have something to work towards. In my case, it was the 50th run. Running has become really important for my physical and mental health. The last couple of years have not been easy in many respects, but running has helped in a great many ways.
Now I'm planning to visit different courses. My wife (not the person in the picture, by the way!) and I are going to parkruns which are near to places either of us have lived. We've been to Newark. Next weekend is Sheffield, Concord Park. Three streets away from where I was born 50 years ago. That will give me chance to have another birthday clap before a run, but also chance to start my 6th decade where it all began. Hopefully I might see some of you at some of the courses. If not, I hope your C25K is the start of a really important running adventure, as it is for me.