Sunday, 30 August 2009

Special people...

I was planning to write about The Vit tonight and maybe if I get time I will pen a few thoughts about it. But this weekend we spent time with someone who is actually changing lives, maybe he's changed yours? He changed mine!

If I were to write his name (Paul Sinton-Hewitt) you probably wouldn't know him. But with over 19 active parkruns being held across the country (and some as far as Zimbabwe & Holland) Paul and his team are turning things round for the better in a world full of greed, expense and obesity.

If you're already a runner what more could you ask for... parkrun is free (I'll just repeat that as it's really not often that races are free) it's a FREE 5km run held every (going to have to repeat that one as well) held EVERY Saturday morning at 9am in its various locations around the country. If you aren't a runner, even better. You couldn't ask for a friendlier, no pressure way to exercise where the most important aspect is getting out there in a community full of walkers, joggers, sprinters and folk pushing prams (I was over taken by one at Bushy Park this weekend!!!)

Back to my title then, and of course the picture above. That's me with Paul Sinton-Hewitt. He's doing amazing things. It's not often that you get the opportunity to meet special people, but when you do I don't know about you but you just know they're special. When Tom first met up with Paul a couple of years ago to talk about starting Leeds' very own parkrun I had no idea (nor particular interest if the truth be known) in Tom's latest crazy idea about some free 5km run in a park in Leeds. I mean, who'd want to do that! It'll never catch on!!! But then embarrassingly that's the lazy side of me, I think all I heard come out of Tom's mouth were the words...'fantastic, brilliant, early, every Saturday and forever.' Mmmmm???

Honestly (even though it's EVERY Saturday) it's changed me and my perception of running (for the better) and helped so many people I can't tell you. I'm overwhelmed by the affect such a small thing has had on such a large number of people and I'm truly proud to be part of that community. It will be Leed's 100th parkrun this coming Saturday and I wish I could be there but I'm racing and will be somewhere in the Leicestershire countryside on my bike while the celebratory coffee and cake is happening :(

We stayed with Paul S-H & his soon to be wife Jo this weekend and apart from the bit where I slipped and threw myself half way down his stairs bruising my coccyx and hurting my elbows we had a great time. parkrun (always lower case) was born and lives there and in his office the computers whir away logging all of the info and creating the data for the coming events. He's like a dog with a bone, he never gets tired of it. The nicest thing of all is that Paul's reasons for starting parkrun have never changed. It was never created to make money. It will always be FREE. That's not really what makes it special though nor Paul. It's his enjoyment as he watches something that started so tiny and small grow and reach it's tiny fingers out to the communities surrounding it bringing exercise and friendship to all who take part. That's the bit he loves to see, that's what makes him special.

I've loved watching the people that first came to Leeds parkrun as walkers. They walked every week with smiles on their faces, they were part of a race, the time and speed irrelevant. Then bit by bit they would start running little sections. Those sections get longer and in front of our very eyes (we marshal every weekend that we're in Leeds) they could run the whole way, amazing, just amazing. Faster runners can always take care of themselves and they come, they run and they go, its wonderful to see their speedy talent. But for me parkrun is the most inclusive race I'll ever go to. Women push prams, men race round with their dogs and kids, small, tall, short, fast and even Ralph our very own 'joggler' (he runs and juggles all of the way round and has done 26mins 25secs without a single drop!) it's active fun and afterwards we all go to the nearest cafe and chat over hot coffee and cake. So have a look near you and see if you've got a parkrun close by, if you do try it you might like it!

It's 20mins passed my bedtime so I'm going to be uber quick finishing up. So, The Vitruvian is this Saturday! I have no idea where my head, legs or body are at, I could pb (personal best) or I could pw (personal worst) who knows??! I know I'm ready for a rest though and then I plan to pick up my running over the Winter months and try and inject a bit of speed into the old legs. In fact I'll probably start running parkrun more in a bid to get faster but 5km's boy do they hurt. I ran Bushy parkrun this weekend and managed a respectable 21.45. Not my best but not as bad as I thought it would be. Bless my husband who is knackered and writing about his decision to pull out of The Vit, a good decision I think, I look forward to having him screaming his support at me round the course on Saturday with his mum & Ray and then having a couple of weeks together where for both of us training isn't a factor. Lovely :)

Time almost certainly for bed and to say a quick thank you to Paul Sinton-Hewitt & Jo and the kids Dylan & Ruby, we had lots of fun (except for Tom winning Uno!! oh and falling down your stairs!) Have an amazing time when you tie the knot next week (apologies again for not being their due to racing - but we'll be with you in spirit!)

Night all...

H x

Oh and as always my daily photo's are still being posted here and here...


Jevon said...

hope the back is okay. yOu're gonna fly at the vit. good luck

Khara Mills said...

Best of luck on Saturday at the Vit H, go girl...then enjoy some bloody rest! ;-)
Khara x

H said...

Here goes nothing :) Plan is to enjoy and see what the legs and body produce... :)