What a wonderful thing Parkrun is! Literally a 5K run – or walk in the park – free to everyone who wants to take part – bring your buggy or you dog (although you may need to start at the back to avoid tripping others up!). So it seemed a fitting way for our couch to 5K runners to mark their success on completing their 9 week programme that started back on those cold, dark nights in January. We actually took 10 weeks in the end – due to a snow and ice break in the middle – but who’s counting?
Couch to 5K has been a true running club enterprise. We ran a relatively small and successful course last summer and some great new runners have joined the club. So when I posted on the Heathfield Community Facebook page that we were running another course starting in January – all welcome – it was with the expectation that another 10 – 15 people would turn up and – with a few falling by the wayside – we would get a few more people up and running. I was not prepared for the 30+ people who braved the cold and turned up at the co-op ready to get going………………. Fortunately the club is supportive and welcoming and experienced runners and leaders turned up in numbers to support me and help all the new people. And last summer’s newbies were there too – remembering their own experience and running alongside. I’m not going to name names here – as so many people helped and I would be fearful of missing someone out – but THANK YOU to everyone that helped – even if you were only there for one session! This would literally not have been possible without you……………
And what a great programme the NHS Couch to 5k is……………. It starts slow – just 60 seconds of running and builds so that after a few weeks running continuously for 30 mins is possible. It builds strength and confidence. I can still see the look on some people’s faces when I told them we would be running for 10 mins – walking for 5 and then running for another 10. Yes – some people have fallen away – for some people this was not the right group, the right programme or they got sick or injured and coudn’t finish – but many people did.
Most of the new runners could make Saturday 24th March for their 5K debut – so Heathfield Road Runners turned up in numbers to support, run with, run alongside and cheer our new runners home.
That first week 12 new runners completed their first timed run – well done to Rebecca, Bella, Louise, Trish, Emily, Claire, Lucy, Laura, Catherine, Emma, Karina and Sophia the results and here! The second run – Saturday 31st March – was Easter Saturday – the Easter Bunny was officiating and many runners sported ears and even the odd bunny tail. It had rained heavily all of Good Friday and we were warned of puddles on the course….. “they’re only water – just run through them” – we did although I was not convinced by the smell………………. And another successful run with some repeat runners getting PBs – Gill, Trish, Sharon, Donna – and me! And a further 3 new runners – well done to Jane, Eden and Kat – your results are here!
That is not everyone – there are still runners wanting to complete a Parkrun – but a further 3 people have already done a 5K run – well done to Samantha, Mark and Debbie. I make that 18 new runners all together – a great result!