On Your Marks: First attempt at a parkrun did not go to plan, but what a great event

Ready to run round Tilgate Lake

If you have followed my column, you will know I am targeting to run a half marathon in six month’s time.

It may not seem much but this will be a huge deal for me if I can achieve. I have always been sporty, but never been hugely fit. And I certainly have not been good at running long distances (I did win the 400m at Brune Park School in 1994!).

So I am taking the training lightly to start off with. I have got the Couch to 5K app on my phone and Sarah Millican has been motivating me on my runs and walks.

But one thing I have always been keen to do is a parkrun.

And talking to Dr Minesh Patel from the CCG at Crawley Hospital, he couldn’t recommend the parkrun enough - and not just for fitness.

He said: “It all matters. Exercise as we know, has a significant positive impact on your mental health as well.

“Anxiety concentration, low mood, depression, all of those things improve with regular exercise.

“In my practice we got used to referring people to the well being services locally, like the parkrun.

“One of my partners recently saw a lady with anxiety and his prescription to her was go join the East Grinstead parkrun.

“She’s has done it now and is enjoying it. It’s more powerful than people give it credit for.

“It’s getting into the habit and the enjoyment, above and beyond the physical exercise is also very beneficial.”

So myself, wife Amanda and eight-year-old son Noah decided to do the Tilgate parkun.

And what a great event it is. Credit must go to all the volunteers who organise and marshal the event. There really was a great community spirit.

But unfortunately I could not complete the full 5k. Half way round, I had a sharp pain shoot up my calf and caused me to stopped quite quickly.

The rest of my body felt good and I was pleased with how it was going.

But limping back, a few runners said hello and to keep on going but I just simply couldn’t. It just shows the importance of not doing too much too quickly and making sure you stretch and get warmed up.

I am not disheartened though and I will be attempting it again soon.

For more information of parkruns in your area visit www.parkrun.org.uk
My previous columns:

Diet
My struggle with fitness starts here

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