I did wonder what all the fuss was about.
I can, and do, run whenever the desire to lace up my trainers and pound the paths takes over.
It doesn’t cost me anything. The only person I’m cheating when I don’t push hard enough is myself.
So why on earth would I want to bother with a Parkrun?
For someone who has always been happy running alone when the bug kicks in – or I want to get fit for football – I didn’t particularly need the company.
If truth be told, I probably didn’t want it either.
Yet about a year ago to this very day I decided to try out the running phenomenon that has taken over the world.
Within minutes I realised why millions of people now call themselves Parkrunners.
As I set off through King’s Lynn’s Walks I felt part of something, surrounded by like-minded people of all ages, shapes and abilities with one common goal – to exercise and enjoy it.
Club runners, mums with pushchairs, fathers with children, people with dogs, friends, the old and the young, setting off on a 5k journey of togetherness.
No judging, no sniping and in an atmosphere of camaraderie rather than competitiveness, it’s a sporting experience like nothing I’ve known.
Sure, I timed my runs and became obsessed with setting new personal bests but I’m not alone in that.
‘No judging, no sniping and in an atmosphere of camaraderie rather than competitiveness, it’s a sporting experience like nothing I’ve known’
However, I got just as much joy out of seeing a pensioner and her friends start their second lap while I finished my third. Because they were happy, out exercising and getting what they want out
You don’t have to make friends. You don’t even need to speak to anybody. But you’ll never feel alone.
Dragged around by a wave of warmth and community spirit, the challenge of running 5k is one we can all tackle.
Thanks to the volunteers, hundreds of people will exercise tomorrow in the fresh Walks air for free.
They’ll feel better for it – and I’m sure you will if you give it a try too.
Where: The Walks
When: Every Saturday
Course: All on paths
Course record: 15 mins 37 secs (James Bellward, 2015)
Average run time:
27 mins 33 secs
Average number of runners each week: 169
Biggest attendance: 408
Don’t forget: Bring a printed copy of your barcode, created once you have registered. If you haven’t got it you won’t get a time.
For more information, and to register, visit www.parkrun.org.uk/kingslynn