On 3rd September 2016 I did my first ever parkrun, I had heard so much about parkrun events, mainly via Chris Evens on BBC radio 2, so I googled where my nearest parkrun took place and to my amazement found that there was one held every Saturday morning on Lowestoft seafront.
Running is not something I’d done much of since leaving school and at (then) 45 years old even that was many moon ago. Most people would undertake a couch to 5k programme, but not me, I wanted to go all-in.
My first run was more of a run, walk, jog, walk, walk, jog, walk, jog kind of run and took me 31 minutes and 40 seconds to complete the 5k course and strangely enough I really enjoyed it and 2 weeks later (due to work commitments) I did my 2nd, 2 weeks after that, I did my 3rd and managed to knock off over a minute each time.
I friend of mine (and mutual park runner (a very fast park runner)) suggested I join the local running club for few sessions, so I went out with Waveney Valley Athletics Club and did several trial sessions, I soon became a full member of the club met other new runners that all wanted approve their running skills.
After a year with WVAC and doing almost every parkrun I could get to, my finishing time was getting quicker and quicker, I knew I was getting fitter, I had also completely given up all alcohol (as from my first run), I lost over a stone in weight and felt great. It was round about this time when you could apply for the London marathon ballot, this is something I’d never even considered in the past, this year however, I entered, unsurprisingly I didn’t get in, however, WVAC automatically get allocated a small number of places, those places are then offered to club members for those of them that wanted to a second chance to get in, so I enter the WVAC ballot and to my complete surprise , I got a place.
This is where all the hard work started and from boxing day my WVAC trainer put forward 2 training plans to consider, I chose the plan where train for 4 days a week, the 5 day plan seemed I little too intense.
After a few weeks of training and telling everyone (literally everyone) I’d got a London marathon place, my friends and family started asking if I had a charity I was running for, at this point I didn’t nor even give it a thought, but the more people that asked, the more I thought I should.
I thought long and hard about which charity I should run for and knew that it should be a local one. It was then when I thought about Access Community Trust, the charity that not only sponsors and supports the Lowestoft parkrun, it’s also based in the town and offers so much to the local homeless and young people in the surrounding area.
My marathon training is going very well and I’m managing to keep to my plan and even doing extra mileage, I completed my first 20 mile run 2 weekends ago and have another planned for this Sunday coming.
My parkrun time has also tumbled and I’m just 27 seconds off completing the 5k route 10 minutes quicker than my first attempt with my PB now standing at 22 minutes and 7 seconds.
Please visit Darren’s Total Giving page to support him – www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/daren
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