Welcome to this week's parkrun Canada newsletter.
I am privileged to be the Event Director of the new parkrun in Calgary at Nose Hill Park and thought I would share some memories of my earlier parkrun days in the UK with you all. I started off by running in my local event in Southampton, trying to beat my personal best and reach my 50 and then 100 T shirt clubs which took over three years. I also realised the benefits of volunteering and on reflection, I wish I had done this more often, as you really get to feel part of this altruistic team of lovely people. The runners appreciate you so much and even when out of breath they manage to say “thank you marshal!” on their way round.
One Saturday morning I was a timekeeper and just after the runners set off I saw a woman walking towards us across the field, dressed in jeans and a T shirt. As she got closer I could see tears streaming down her face and she was crying. I asked her what was wrong and she exclaimed, through the sobs, that she had wanted to do parkrun but was late and didn't know where to go because she had never done it before.
The Run Director told her not to worry but as they had only just started she should catch them up. As we called over to the tail runner to hang on for her I told her to be quick and get changed. I naively thought she must have some running shorts or leggings under those blue jeans. This made her wail even more, “I don't have any running clothes!” she cried. I was completely taken aback and paused for a second before answering. “Well, that doesn't matter….just do it anyway!”
With that, the tail runner, a wonderfully friendly and talkative Italian guy, called Aurelio, (even his name sounds like an angel’s) came back to collect our tearful first timer and off they went……
I thought of the famous strapline for a well known sports brand - “just do it” and it’s ironic that you actually don't need such expensive gear or anything in fact to complete a parkrun….except the motivation.
I cannot tell you more details of our tearful first timer in her jeans but I did see her again and her pace got quicker as she got fitter. The UK is full of stories of those that have changed their lives by making parkrun a weekly event. I am sure it will take off in Canada and become as popular as it is in the UK and remember you don't need anything to take part but the motivation to just do it.
Nose Hill parkrun Event Director