Alison: Parkrun Case study with Paula Parle Halton Borough Council – 2018
Participant Quote: We are our own worst critic sometimes; we worry about failure and what people might think. But it shouldn’t matter; we should just take part and do what we can.

What was Your Starting Point?
I had lost 3-stone at slimming world and this made me a little more confident about starting some physical activity. I had always felt nervous about joining any group activities, I was overweight and unfit, and I didn’t feel I would fit in. Childcare and family commitments also ruled out some options. I had heard about the couch to 5K app and downloaded it onto my phone, as this was an activity I could do on my own.

Actions Taken:
I used to get up at 6am to do the couch to 5K program as this ensured I did it before my husband and children were up and so I had no excuses to back out. It was an ideal time of the day for me as there were not many people about to see me; it seemed only runners and dog walkers where out on the streets at that time.

I managed to follow the couch to 5K program of walking and running, gradually increasing time spent running each week. When I could run 30-minutes none stop I thought it might be a good idea to go to parkrun at Phoenix Park Runcorn. I was petrified of going to parkrun, thinking I’m not good enough, I nearly backed out, but I went along feeling very nervous. Anna the parkrun director came over to chat before the run, as they always talk to new runners to make them feel welcome. This really helped, it is a lovely way to welcome people and make them feel at ease to run or walk at their own pace, nobody is judging you. Thanks to the couch to 5K training, I completed my first parkrun in less than 34 minutes; I was really pleased with that achievement and motivated to continue. The parkrun community are so friendly and welcome people of all levels. I met people from Run Sandymoor and they encouraged me to try their running club, I took a lot of convincing but I’m so glad I did join. I was supported at the running club as they are so friendly and will support new people with a running buddie, they also do muster runs so that the slower runners are not always left at the back, the person at the front has to run to the back.

One year down the line and parkrun is a normal part of my life, it’s not a chore and it’s certainly increased my confidence, I never would have joined a running club if it were not for parkrun, and now I am able to support other couch to 5K runners at Run Sandymoor. I have done two half marathons, and reduced my parkrun time to just over 31 minutes. I maintain my weight and I’m much more confident. I took part in the Rock and Roll half marathon May 2018, a year after my first couch to 5K session.

Is there anything still to achieve?
Maybe I will get a place on the London marathon, as I will be applying!

GET ACTIVE PARKRUN – Contact Paula Parle for further details: 0151 511 8550