My daughter and I ran our very first parkrun together, back in May 2015. She has just run her 100th parkrun.
My daughter was just 9 when she ran her first parkrun. We ran a fair few runs together back in those days (children have to run with an adult until their 11th birthday). In the first few months, she was pretty enthusiastic. Then her first panto came along and she had to miss a few Saturdays for rehearsals and performances. She ran a total of 14 times that year.
She got back into parkrun in 2016 and ran 22 times, working around panto, holidays and her own reluctance to run. Because parkrun was always a struggle for her. She didn’t always want to go. She would run round the course moaning that she was going too slow or that she felt sick. I told her the time didn’t matter, but every time she thought she was going too slow, she would just start to beat herself up, which would inevitably make her go even slower.
We never forced her to do parkrun. It was always her own choice. Sometimes she chose it, often she didn’t. She ran 18 times in 2017. But 2017 was a good year, because she turned 11 and it meant she could finally run on her own. She had a couple of friends to run with and she stopped worrying so much about her time. 2017 was also the year she ran her 50th parkrun.
She maintained her record of running a few parkruns a year in 2018. Also in 2018 she achieved two PBs in quick succession. She has yet to equal them. She started running with my dad a lot, who runs the 5k in around 38 or 39 minutes.
At the start of 2019, I think my daughter was on 67 parkruns. She decided she wanted to hit her 100th parkrun milestone this year. That meant running basically two weeks out of three. But if she had stuck to two weeks out of three, she ran the risk of not actually achieving her target. Because she wouldn’t have known if she was going to get ill or injured or if things were going to crop up that would stop her from running. So we convinced her that she needed to run every week that she could.
She started the year still running with my dad a lot. She also started the year still moaning about parkrun a lot. But every week she came home happy that she had run. After a few weeks, she stopped moaning and actually started to look forward to parkrun.
Her friend started running with her regularly and she started to get a bit quicker, which gave her a boost. But if her friend was away, she still wanted someone to run with – my dad, my sister or me. We persuaded that she didn’t need to run with my dad any more. Her friend couldn’t run over summer and she had the confidence to run on her own – even when we did Eden Project parkrun, a new parkrun to us all.
On 21st September, my daughter finally reached her milestone of 100 parkruns. It wasn’t really the dream run she’d hoped for. She’d got a bad cold and struggled to run. I’d run her first ever parkrun with her, so I ran her 100th with her too. She completed it in about the same time as her first parkrun! About halfway round, she realised my dad wasn’t far behind, so we stopped to wait for him.
I am really proud of my daughter’s commitment this year. She has missed very few runs and has managed to run as many as 11 weeks consecutively, something she has never done before.
I am hoping that now she has hit her milestone, that she will actually keep running. She has got to the point where she enjoys it and it is part of her routine. I think she might get to her 250th parkrun milestone a bit quicker than she got to her 100th!
Most of my family have now reached big parkrun milestones. My younger son reached his 50th parkrun just a week before my daughter reached her 100th. My husband, dad and I have all reached 100 parkruns and my sister and brother-in-law have both reached 50 parkruns.