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First Parkrun!

I was unexpectedly child free this weekend, so the coast was clear for a Parkrun. There was no rain, or wind... just a thick haze that looked likely to lift. I had spent a restless night thinking and dreaming about running. At one point I was running barefoot in the Parkrun, floating effortlessly along... thank you for your positivity, dream!

As we all know, however, running does require a degree of effort. This includes turfing oneself out of bed before 8am on a Saturday morning. I pulled on my running gear in a bit of a disassociated fog and knocked back several black coffees.

As I got nearer to the park, the proportion of lurid lycra-clad people grew steadily higher. They came jogging and cycling in lines from all directions, like slim, fit ants. I asked one of them if there was anywhere we could leave coats and was told no, I would soon warm up.

There were only a handful of first-timers and we were pulled to one side onto wet, muddy grass for our talk. Then we marched at funereal pace to the starting line. I heard someone behind me mutter “it’s like the executioner’s march”.

282 of us packed into the narrow lane and before I knew it, we were off! There wasn’t much choice about what pace I was going; I just got carried along by the herd for a bit and have no idea at what point I actually crossed the start line! I have always run on my own so it was very strange to be surrounded by people. We really are all shapes and sizes, aren’t we?!

It was also the first time I have run without headphones. All the better to hear the heavy breathing with! There were definitely a lot of people not running at conversational pace! To my surprise, I was able to have brief chats with various people. They were very nice; the beginners talk had marked me out and lots of people said well done. The marshals were also lovely and I am sorry I didn’t have the breath in the last km to thank them all.

There was one hill that we tackled twice. I overtook half a dozen people the first time and thought blimey, I’m ok with hills. Second time around I realised I wasn’t and walked the last bit! In fact, I walked three times in the final 1.5km for 10-15 seconds each time, just to catch my breath and recharge. Ah well.

Despite this, I managed a respectable 32’21”! I came 215/282 and my ‘age grade’ was 48.27%.

The fastest gazelle was a 17-18 year old man who ran the 5k in 16’35”; the last person over the line had a time of 55’37”.

The gazelle was amazing to see; he floated just the way I did in my dream.

😊

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Yayyy well done and a brilliant time. Was it grass or on a path? I still need to pluck up the courage and go!! I know I’ll come in last but it’s something I really want to try!

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Hi Shelley! It was all on a tarmac walk/cycle path, so no slipping and sliding around. Pretty flat apart from the one hill... they were very friendly! There were a couple of women walking the route and they were equally welcomed. It’s there whenever you are ready 🙂

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Thanks for answering, I’m away atm so might venture up the beginning of March. I’m running where I’m staying atm in the morning. Plotted a route, it’s downhill on the start of run then I’ve got to run back up (well a very slight incline) so I’ll see how it goes. I’ll post in the morning how I got on (or didn’t as the case may be) 😂🏃‍♀️. Again a very well done to you, happy running 🏃‍♀️

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Ooh good luck, I’ll look out for your post. Let me know when you might be going; I can’t get out every weekend because of childcare but maybe our paths will cross! 🙂

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Will do, I’ll wave as you speed past me 😂😂

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You won’t be last, there’s always a tail runner behind you. Take the plunge and enjoy.

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Lovely post. I feel like I was there! 😄👏🏼

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Thanks Grans 😊

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That's a fantastic time. I also did my first parkrun today, I wanted to set a base time to hopefully see some improvement, I'm currently on W7r3.

I came 302 out of 315 at a 🏃‍♀️🐌 pace of 47.33 mins!

I was absolutely exhausted, but managed to simulate running for most of the course.

I had the same experience recieving a really great welcome as a first timer and felt over the moon that I actually finished it!!

Especially as 7 weeks ago I struggled to run for 60 seconds!

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Well done Pudding! I am full of admiration for people who take the plunge and get involved with Parkrun early on in the C25k program. It’s taken me a good couple of weeks post-graduation and several 5k runs to pluck up the courage to do it. You are in a fantastic position now to chip away at your time and set PB after PB. 🙂

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Well done ktsok

Easy conversational pace is for training........... parkrun, inevitably, involves a teensy weensy bit of competitiveness.......... primarily against yourself, especially as you now have a parkrun pb to whittle away at.

Keep running, keep smiling.

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Thanks IT. The smile is staying 🙂

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Am glad you managed a parkrun! It does involve getting up early but hope you found it enjoyable. I feel the first time is getting a feel of how it works and the hopefully next time, it will be smoother for me. I had a Mo Farah look alike in my race, gosh he was beautiful to watch run. A gazelle to my hippo 🦛 ;-)

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Do you know how fast hippos are?!

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😄

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No but I suppose they can gather quite some speed, perhaps not with the same elegance though 😂

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They can run at speeds of 30k/ph... and you don’t want to be in their way! 😜

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Some of that is true of me... and maybe also their character 😂

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When you say character, I immediately think of a happy hippo wallowing in mud. Isn’t there a hippopotamus song? How does it go... “mud, glorious mud; there’s nothing quite like it...” 🤗

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Isn’t that a pig? I remember a kid’s story of the pig who loved his mud puddle but the farmer had a cleaning day... it all ends happily luckily!

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I think there is also a beer version 🤣 it lends itself to parody! But I always knew it as “The Hippopotamus Song” 🙂

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A ha :

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That’s the one! 😆

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Congratulations ktsok on completing your first 5k Parkrun, good time for a first, you described your experience of this morning in detail, I am sure you enjoyed your run today. 😊 🏃 The gazelle who was first as you say was quite amazing, guys like that are born to run at that pace, they can only train to get faster, their goal is to get a sub 15 minute 5K sometime during their life. 😊

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He was in a different league. It’s always great to see people doing something they really excel at. ⭐️

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Excellent and very well done to you for your great time and first Parkrun. Welcome to the Parkrun family. Well done again. Saturday is my favorite day of the week, made even better by Parkrun. I love it.

Damien

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That’s great to hear, I’m glad you get so much out of it. I also found it a lovely experience and will definitely be going back again in the near future 🙂

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Sounds great, and makes me determined to try myself. I’m sure it won’t be anything like your time but it sounds like an experience. I’ve already registered I just need to be as proactive as you and turn up. Well done

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Thanks micey! I registered about 5 weeks ago but have only just plucked up the courage to go. Of course, there was nothing to fear 🙂

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I’ve got a week off ahead of me, so no excuse not to do a few consolidation runs and turn up next Saturday, you’ve spurred me on thank you

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Great! Let us know how you get on 🙂

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Well done. That’s a good time.

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Cheers Knit 😊

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Great first parkrun time Ktsok Brilliant! 👍

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Thanks lexi 😊

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That sounds like great fun, so glad you enjoyed it. 😊

If you register does that cover you for a certain timeframe?

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Hi Jell! You register online once and that’s it. They email a barcode to you which you need to print out and take with you if you want a time recorded (I laminated mine). No need to book, no fee, just turn up and when you cross the finish line they give you a disc with your position. You queue up and they scan your barcode, collect the disc and that’s it! A couple of hours later the results go up on the website. You should try it! You will fly ahead of the main herd 🙂

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Thank you ktsok, just going to Google parkruns near me.

I really want my sister along with me, so it may be a while before I do one.

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Gazelle! Thanks for sharing .... i loved that image. I’ve yet to do my first park run . Always run by myself and usually take about 34 mins . I’m kind of scared I’ll be pushed too hard as I like running slowly!

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Hi Cherry! The only person pushing you would be you - there are fast runners, sure, but there are lots of people running at all different speeds. It’s easy to find people running at the same pace to tuck in beside. I just had a look and nearly 50 people finished at 34 minutes or more yesterday (which isn’t so slow for a beginner!)

I definitely went a little too fast (just under 6 minutes for the first 1k!) I always suffer later when I go out too fast, and sure enough, although the next 2k were ok, I dipped in my fourth, had to walk briefly a couple of times and got overtaken quite a bit! But that was ok too. It’s just another wonderful learner runner experience 🙂

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Contrary to what you may imagine I haven't managed sub 5 minute km , well done 😊

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Oh no! I meant sub 6 minutes!!! 😳🤣

I’m going to edit that now!

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😊

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Thank you 🙏

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I’ve just done my second park run and I’m a slow runner too (36:15 and 35:28 respectively) but I never felt pushed. They say run your own run and I definitely did. If you’re a 34 minuter then you’d be ahead of me anyway 😊

I’m really glad I did it, I actually registered years ago but C25K gave me the confidence to do it.

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Well done pancakes! 😊

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Love your story! Thanks so much for sharing... one day (if I’m brave enough!) x

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The idea of it is far more daunting than the reality; like most things in life!

I took my son to Junior Parkrun for the first time last weekend, which was lovely. 2km only and you are there for the kids, so it takes any (self-imposed) pressure off. It was a really good intro and gave me a little heads up as to how it all works.

Some ladies yesterday were there for the first time and asked if they could walk the route. They were welcomed and cheered home like everyone else.

So maybe take a child or a walking friend?! Or lace up the shoes and bite the bullet. You’ll be just fine. 🙂

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🏃🏃🏃😁

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Yep. All that sounds like a typical Parkrun to me! 😁 So far I've only done 2 local flat courses, so can't comment on hills. Mostly I make it round, but there have been a couple of bad days where I've had brief walks - not sure whether the failure was in the legs, the lungs, or the mind! Even with the uphill and the walks, you are not far behind my flat PB, though.

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Thanks Oldjigger. Yes, I guess once you have seen one you have more or less seen them all! I didn’t want to walk but my breathing was getting a bit chaotic so it seemed best... it always happens when I start too fast. When I run on my own I walk briskly for a while first then try to run slower for the first 5-10 minutes. At Parkrun the really fit ones were leaping about doing short sprints and so on; I’m not fit enough to do that and then run 5k! So in some ways I was not only starting the run faster but also a bit cold. Unsurprising that my body protested a bit later on! 🙂

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Only to be expected. Gotta warm up, even if only walking back and fore at the start, and gotta start slow and steady - continuing to warm up, I guess. All my best runs have been when the first 1K is the slowest

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It sounds like lots of fun! I’ve already looked where my local one is n I’ll definitely be trying it sometime soon. Well done! 👏👏👏

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Thank you! Let us know how it goes! 🙂

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Oh I definitely will! 😁😁

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Brilliant well done. Our park run is so friendly. Everyone leaves coats and bags by the finish line. It’s so encouraging and everyone is welcoming and cheering you on. I have gone since week one of c25k and slowly improving. This is my second time doing the programme and although I graduated last year I didn’t continue. So I started again and introduced the park run to keep me going and it has I love it. I Jeffed it yesterday and got down to 42 minutes from a starting of over 48. Your time is amazing and something to aim for and I love your commentary

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Thanks Jac. And wow; knocking 6 minutes off your PB is insane! I can see why you like it so much; it’s such a positive thing to come together for. 🙂

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Yep. My usual Saturday morning was lie in, get a cuppa at 9:00 (back in bed), get up about 10:30 for breakfast. Now, knowing I'm joining in with an event gets me up and out for Parkrun before breakfast. I am still a bit surprised about it.

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It is quite nice thinking you could have still been drifting around in a dressing gown drinking a cuppa by the time you got home from running a 5k! 🙂

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Loved reading your story!

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Thanks Redpink 😊

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Loved reading this! I'm.on week 7 so not ready for Park run yet (If ever!). I was almost there, running with you in my head, though. Well done!

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Thanks Momo! The Parkruns will be there waiting for you whenever you are ready, like a patient friend 🙂

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Wow what a story. Made me laugh and smile. Congratulations for doing park run. I prefer to run on the road as I am frightened of falling. However well done you🎊🎊🎊🎊🎊🎊

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Thanks Linhert! It was in a park but on a cycle/walk path, so it was a smooth tarmac surface all the way. 🙂

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Excellent. I live where there are a few hills so have to plan my route. I completed the 9 weeks last week and this am started the 9 th week again Am hoping to add 5 mins every run. There is no limit I tell myself before a run but when I am running I think maybe not. 😂😂😂

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I still get a bit of a surprise that the run can feel so difficult 😆

There are sections which feel fine, and the occasional sections where it feels easy, but there are a lot of sections where you just have to tell yourself to keep going!

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I live in hertford and the park run is grassy and undulating. Where do you go for your park run.

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This one was in Kent 🙂

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I have to do the same. Last week I was talking to someone who is training for half marathon. I called ourselves ‘runners’and had to laugh at myself

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Keep going it must get better 😉

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Brilliant time and post! 🙌

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Cheers CatMo. Didn’t we do well?! 😊

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What an uplifting story! Brilliant-well done you 👍🏃‍♂️🏃‍♀️

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Thanks abcd50! 😊

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Oh, it sounds like a brilliant start for your weekend! Wish we had Parkrun in my area. Congratulations on your time, and going up that hill twice 😮 👏👏!!

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Thanks Whatnog 😊

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Well done you should be very proud of your self !

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Thank you!

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Loved reading this post, well done..... and such a great time!

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Thanks Huffinpuffer! 😊

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Well done! My aim is to get to do a parkrun, but I don't think I'll ever get near 32 minutes. Also the psycological thing of running with others, well done indeed.

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Actually, it was kind of nice running with others. Like we were some sort of rainbow herd... 😆 I was a bit worried beforehand about silly things like snot flying out, or people hearing my laboured breathing; but almost everyone is in their own little zone, just doing their running thing. There is the odd acknowledgement of one another or quick one liner, but it’s supportive rather than intrusive. There were people finishing in 50 minutes... and no judgement. So you might be readier than you think... 🙂

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Felt so inspired by your post that I have signed up to the Park Run scheme today! I’m currently on W5 R2 so It will be a while before I feel confident to have a go but looking forward to hearing about your next run!

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That’s wonderful! And thank you; it feels rather lovely to be an inspiration! 😊

Well done... I think I signed up at a similar point in the program... it won’t be long before you feel ready 🏃‍♀️

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Aw thanks for your very thoughtful reply... I’m sure I can find a willing small child to borrow from somewhere... 😉😂 x x

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I am sure there are some willing parents of small children around, too 😂

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Well done a great effort......really good to hear your thoughts on it, my first one is next week 😳😳😳 so no doubt I will have a sleepless night beforehand. Good time as well, super result...👍👍👍

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Oooh good luck to you! There really isn’t anything to fear. It’s still just you and your legs, after all! Let us all know how your run goes 🙂

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Well done! I still haven’t picked up the courage to do it! Despite doing the stamina run today without stopping. 🏃‍♀️

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I don’t know what the stamina run is, but it sounds hard! It’s funny how we worry about things; I took at least 5 or 6 weeks between registering and actually going. I am so glad I did. I had to walk a little bit, which wasn’t the run of my dreams; but it was fine. You’ll be fine too 🙂

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It’s a one of three podcasts on couch to 5k+ which I’ve been doing since December. I’m not good at getting up early on a Saturday morning so that might be my blocker as well! Lol 😂

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A really inspirational post ktsok. Thank you. I did my first parkrun a week ago. I used it to do my c25k wk4 r3 with my daughter alongside. She is a keen runner (started with c25k ages ago, now preparing for a half-marathon) managing the app and telling me when to run and when to walk. Needless to say I took more than 50 minutes to complete the run but was thrilled to have done it - it's my 73rd birthday today.

I am going to do my next parkrun this coming Saturday, but not as one of my c25k runs as I'll be on my own this time and will def need to concentrate on not tripping on any roots etc. I will have just completed wk6 so will still be slow, but the atmosphere is so encouraging that I'm sure I'll be fine. It is an inaugural local parkrun which is why I'm so keen to do it. Roll on next Saturday:-)

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Happy birthday! What a lovely way to celebrate - I wish my mother was in good enough shape to come along to a Parkrun. I bet your daughter was proud as punch of you. And how nice to be at your local very first Parkrun. Yes, no tripping on tree roots please! Happy running 😊

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Oh my gosh! I love your review. It’s like reading a book. Please please send us more “in the life of ..” stories 😍😉

Well done! I’m yet to run my first park run. I can’t wait after this little story. So thank you!

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Will do! And thank you. I have pretty much ‘reviewed’ every single run in C25k and those since (in Bridge to 10k); it has become as much part of the routine as donning lycra and putting in the earphones. Feel free to read 🙂

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Congratulations on your first Park run, your time is great, after 5 I have got my PB down to 49 mins. I am aiming for 45 as my current goal, and I do the Park run every other week. This weekend saw me doing my first volunteering at the Park run. I did bar code scanning, I figure if I am going to use the Park run I need to do my bit to ensure it can happen. No volunteers means no Park run, and over 200 people a week use my local run. I had a great morning, the other volunteers were great, and several were not runners, they help to give something to their communities. One is even using it for their DofE award. Keep up the good work with your runs and attend your local Park run when you can, from the gazelles to the hippos to the Marshalls they are the going to be the most encouraging group you will ever meet.

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That’s lovely to hear. I nearly became a volunteer at our first Junior Parkrun last week but my son became nervous and wanted me to run with him. Definitely something to do in the future though - without the volunteers, it wouldn’t happen! There were quite a few teenagers volunteering at mine too; not sure if they were DofE but it was good to see. Well done and good luck with your 45! 🙂

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Well done. Beautiful description. I'm hoping to do my first parkrun next weekend

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Thank you! And good luck, you will have to let us know how it goes - I think there are a lot of people in C25k poised nervously on the edge of the Parkrun diving board who would love to hear about your experience 🙂

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I'm sure there are. I'm one of them! I will be sure to report back

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Yay, Go kt! That's a really amazing time, for a first time. My first run was 38 minutes, but I was running with other first timers, and making sure I could get to the end. We were given the very sound advice of standing at the back, to avoid getting caught up in the stampede when the whistle goes. All human life is there for sure. Anyone out there poised on the cusp, do it, honestly you'll feel amazing when you cross that line (and you will cross that line one way or another! )

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That’s great . I was wondering about doing one and when I complete the course I hope I will be able to feel that sense of achievement too .

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Yay!!!! First Parkrun. Well done you. Time was brilliant too 👏👏👏🏃🏼‍♀️😀. Sounds like it won’t be your last.....

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