I achieved my 200th park run just before the cancellation of outdoor running events as a result of the COVID-19. In fact, I ran my 201st at Warwick Racecourse on 14th of March 2020. It has taken me quite a journey to get there. I recall running the Race around the World at Leicester Racecourse in 1985 in the quest to reduce world poverty and lose a bit of weight at the time. To date, I have run the park run at 7 different places over the decade since I started. These are as far north as Newcastle and far South and West as Lanhydrock in Cornwall. In the Midlands, I have ran at Coventry, Solihull, Birmingham and the new park run at Warwick Racecourse. It was an orienteering friend of mine who told me about this 5km [3.1 miles] run that took part in parks around the country at 9am every Saturday morning. On a cool Saturday morning in 2010, I completed my first one at Brueton Park in Solihull.
At the park run, I remember chatting to another runner about BMF which took part in other parks including Brueton Park, so I did some research. I tootled along to my first session, ended up becoming a BMF member, and I have never looked back! I was able to cross-train by attending BMF and running at the same time, especially with the park runs on Saturday's. For a while, I would complete the park run at Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham on Saturday at 9am, followed by a BMF session at 10am, after a swift cuppa with my running mates in the park café. I do recall completing my 100th run there!
BMF continues to help me cross train in running and it has introduced me to obstacle running, teaming up and camaraderie with other BMF members. The BMF AT HOME programme has been excellent throughout COVID-19. I continue to train indoors and outdoors in the garden. I am looking forward to running in the parks again and going for my 250th park run t-shirt.
A special thanks got to the Midlands trainers and Instructors – Arian Van Helden is doing a sterling job of running Warwick, Leamington Spa and Cofton, Craig Kneebone for Solihull and Ian Redfern (Redders) covering a load of other areas in the Midlands. All of them keeping the members motivated during COVID-19.
BMF helps me to focus on keeping fit, learning good form and enjoying the outdoors and indoors whilst keeping together with the BMF community.
A special mention goes to Arian for creating such an inclusive and non-judgmental fitness community across ALL ages and encouraging me to reflect on the park runs so far...so watch this space! Allez, ALLEZ, Allez Arian!! Cool running!!
BMF Member - Mikey