Running has been a passion of mine for some time now. I thought the arrival of my two children would interrupt the enjoyment I get as a runner. I was delighted to find that if anything, it’s increased it. I may not quite find the time I did before – though as with any hobby, if it’s going to be maintained post-kids, you need to be prepared to change.
I didn’t start running until the age of 25, with an entry into the Great North Run. Since finishing in South Shields that scorching late summer’s day, I’ve found my way into the York Knavesmire Harriers, and now run several times a week. It’s a great release from the strains of work, and fitting in some time with the kids whilst doing it has been great for me – more importantly, it appears to be inspiring them.
I have a daughter who’s 4, and a son approaching 3. Both of them have joined me for short and long runs in my running buggy. A fixed front-wheel three-wheeler contraption, it folds up for easy storage and goes into a big bag to keep the trail mud out of the family wagon. They’ve both grown used to joining me, and will often nod off if the time’s right thanks to the supple suspension.
The biggest impact though has been from parkrun. With the first run featuring 13 runners in 2004, it has grown to over 3.5m runners globally across nearly 1800 events and offers free, weekly, timed runs across the UK and abroad. 5k for the full Saturday events, for all ages 4 and upwards. And for the juniors there’s a special 2k parkrun on a Sunday for those aged 4-14.
For those starting out running or walking, parkrun is the most inclusive community you could wish for. There’s a tail walker to ensure no-one finishes last, and the events are run by a team of volunteers. Kids are welcome to assist as well, and it’s a great way for teenagers to achieve their Duke of Edinburgh volunteering requirements.
All runs are 9am (though do check Facebook pages for cancellations or special events on New Years Day and Christmas Day) and require runners to register and print a barcode which you carry with you and get scanned at the end of the run.
York is extremely well catered for, with three parkruns and a junior parkrun. Take a look at the full list of parkrun locations, or check out the table below for links to the York specific events.
For kids aged 4-14, either accompanied by a parent or guardian or running alone – this is a super way to get some exercise early on a Sunday without ruining the rest of your day, or your Sunday Dinner!
Last week over 130 kids from the York area ran, and runners are rewarded with milestone wristbands when they hit 11, 21 and 50 runs.