Dad’s first parkrun

If you’re a regular reader you know my dad is a big supporter of my running. My mum is too, of course – after all, she came with me to Boston to support me in the marathon and has gone to many of my races too. But my dad likes to really get involved.

Though he isn’t a runner (though he did used to run back in his navy days) he still “gets” it. He knows what my good paces are and my capabilities, he listens and gives advice when I’m training and he stops me sinking too much into darkness when I’m injured. He’s my coach in many ways.

He came and supported me at my 100th parkrun recently as well. When I’d finished and we met up at the end, he was smiling and said “I’m going to do one”. Apparently he was so inspired by everyone running and the fact that there were walkers and run-walkers that he thought, “I can do this too”. This is exactly what parkrun is about. It’s about getting people out there moving who might not be inclined to on their own. So we planned for the next week for him to come down and power walk the Netley parkrun.


I got there early to help set-up and I was going to meet him at the start area at around 8.30-8.45am. He arrived bang on 8.30am looking a bit nervous.


He had his iPhone with him and headphones. He said he needed a bit of distraction and something to help him round. I was going to run and then come back for him.

IMG_1770Wearing my Boston finisher’s t-shirt

We parted ways and parkrun began. My run was surprisingly speedy considering I hadn’t run all week (or was I speedy because I hadn’t run?). As a side note, my mojo is still flagging and my hamstring is still niggling. It’s a combination that doesn’t get me riled up to run at the moment. I’ve been going to the gym but running is taking a backseat. I don’t have any races coming up that I’m desperate to run or do well in but I do want to be fresh and niggle-free for when I get back into marathon training in July (ideally with some base-building beforehand as well). So a bit of time off now seems ideal.

IMG_1762A photo of the Abbey while setting up

Anyway, it was ridiculously warm and I felt stupid in my long-sleeved t-shirt. When I left the house it had felt quite cool but now the sun was burning through. Running attire fail. My hamstring niggled a bit during the run but otherwise I felt fresher than previous runs which I think just confirms that time off is helping.

Someone asked me while I was running what time I was aiming for. I actually didn’t have an aim so I felt a bit flummoxed with the question, especially while running. I said I didn’t know and the man kind of laughed and said “of course you know, come on you must have some idea” Um, no! I wasn’t even paying attention to my watch so I actually didn’t. I said “Err around 23-24 minutes?”. That’s where my current parkruns have sat to seemed a fair bet.





Each lap I could high-five my dad or shout encouragement to him which was great. I also noticed he wasn’t at the back. He was storming along nicely.

I surprised myself by finishing in 22:27 and second female which I was quite pleased with. Fastest parkrun since the beginning of April so I’ll take that! I quickly scanned my barcode and then headed to find my dad. He had just under one and a half laps (and miles) to go. He was doing well.


He jogged a little occasionally but he found it quite uncomfortable on his joints. In future he’s going to stick to power walking rather than jogging just yet as he needs to lose a bit of weight first before he puts any stress on his joints.

He was keen for me to keep an eye on the tail runner, who was a few minutes behind him. He didn’t want to be last so it was a good motivation for him to keep his pace up and his eyes on the finish. I stressed it wouldn’t matter if he was last but he was keen to hit his target.


At the end he was cheered in when he jogged to the finish. I was so proud! So many people encouraged him and cheered him on as he did the course. He said it really helped and he was very chuffed. Every marshal clapped and spurred him on and runners who knew me and knew he was my dad would yell “go on Anna’s dad!”. It was lovely.

He completed it in 51:11 (two minutes faster than the last two people and the tail runner). He was over the moon.


One down and hopefully many more to come. I told him it’s only going to get harder now as he strives to beat that time now Winking smile Next week we’re going to do the Lee-On-Solent parkrun as a couple of my friends are doing it and it’s literally just up the road for my dad. He’ll be doing his first parkrun tourism! (Not that I’ve decided for him that Netley is his base of course…).

He won’t do it every week but once in a while it’s a fantastic thing for him to do as he continues to try and lose weight (a long-standing battle…). I’m so so proud of him and glad he came. And it just proves, you don’t have to be a certain shape, a certain speed or a certain type of person to do parkrun. It’s open to everyone.

Are you family fit and active?

Do you do any exercise with your family?

Does your family support you at sports events or races?

18 Replies to “Dad’s first parkrun”

  1. Love this! This is exactly what parkrun is about. Well done to your dad, that’s fantastic that he was inspired to have a go and brilliant to hear how encouraging the marshals all are ( I’m not surprised as they always are). People are always worried about coming last ( I was too for my first few races ) so you almost need to see a parkrun before you can believe that people run or walk. Tourism already, how exciting!!!
    Even though my dad is much faster than me, he sometimes runs with me, or we catch up at the end or before it starts. He’s quite keen on tourism so we’ll try to a few others together, although he has a break over the summer while he does tennis.
    Maria recently posted…Packing and parkrunningMy Profile

    1. It’s lovely that your dad does parkrun too and you guys can do it together. I don’t think non-runners realise just how welcoming parkrun is and how easy it would be to get involved. OK running 5k for the first time for anyone isn’t easy but what I mean is it’s easy to be involved in some capacity and then build-up to the distance when they’re able in such a nice environment.

  2. I love this! It’s wonderful that your dad is now seeing for himself exactly what you do all the time. It’s great that you have two parents who don’t only support you, but who really get involved. It’s awesome that he liked it and plans to do more.
    Elizabeh C. recently posted…How I Ran the Boston MarathonMy Profile

  3. Ahh I love this. I’d love to try to get some of my family more active with me. My mum can’t believe that the same girl she was always writing sick notes for PE for has now ran 3 marathons, but she hasn’t been tempted to join me yet.
    Helen recently posted…Liverpool rock n roll marathonMy Profile

    1. Haha it’s funny how that happens – hating PE and then getting into running later. My mum does some gentle swimming and joined a gym (though she’s only been once, and with me!) and my dad does walking but they could do better. Baby steps…

  4. Ah well done to your Dad, that’s brilliant! My Dad used to run back in the day, he did a 1:34 half-marathon once and is constantly winding up my husband and my brother to see if they can beat his time. Glen ran a 1:32 once and my Dad has never forgiven him! He never does any running now- playing golf and walking the dog is more his thing.
    Lucy Edwards recently posted…Half-Iron Triathlon Training Weeks 19-21My Profile

  5. I love that your dad ran parkrun! That is so great! I love that he has the motivation from your friends. My mom runs a color run with me every year in August. She is doing better and better but she also does a run/walk. I am always just proud to see her out there!
    Staci recently posted…And The Winner is…My Profile

  6. Well done to your dad on his first parkrun! I love that victory shot!

    My parents go on a lot of walking holidays, but I don’t go with them since I left home and moved in with my fiancé. It was my dad who taught me how to use a rowing machine, and showed me technique when I got a punchbag, but we don’t exercise together anymore.

    I’m doing my first running event next weekend, and my parents are going to come along and support me. I was supposed to do a 10k in February but had a DNS through illness. The route passed by their house, and they’d promised to be outside cheering me on, so I’m going to have to make sure I’m fit for it next year!
    Laura recently posted…Henrhyd FallsMy Profile

  7. Well done to your dad! That is great going! We have a guy who power walks around our parkrun (always amazes me how quick he goes!). In my family, Dad is the least active and doesn’t do any sport (watching or doing), Mum likes cycling for fun, and my sister usually copies (and the massively beats) me. She is looking to do a half marathon now after she followed me in to couch to 5 k. Father in law is a marathoner, and mother in law is an occasional runner.
    Steph recently posted…Ultimate Coffee Date: JuneMy Profile

    1. A fairly active family then! My sister does no forms of exercise at all. Generally my family is very inactive, apart from walks. But they’re getting better (not my sister though, she’s comfortable with her inactivity. She’s quite slim anyway so I guess the motivation isn’t there as she just assumes she’s healthy).
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…A parkrun walk and pretending to be an adultMy Profile

  8. Another big well done to your Dad, it was lovely to meet you both at Lee on Saturday. It’s amazing to see parkrun inspiring more and more people

  9. How fantastic that you inspired your Dad to take up parkrun! As Maria said, this is absolutely what parkrun is all about. I hope to see many more joint parkrun recaps in the future!
    My parents are quite supportive of my running addiction. My Dad sometimes comments that I run too much but my Mum is always interested in how I get on at races and has been reading my blog for a couple of years now. Neither of them seemed to bat an eyelid when I announced I wanted to run 100miles next year!
    My Mum asked the other week if I would run the Race for Life 5k with her again in July, and I went out on a few runs with my brother when I first started out and he was training for his army fitness test. Other than that I’ve always gone out walking with both parents and the dog each time I’m back in Norfolk.
    Mary recently posted…Running at 21 and 22 weeks pregnantMy Profile

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