Anyone can be a runner.
I firmly believe the sentence I've just written. And I hope, that given time, you too will come to believe it.
About 18 months a go I discovered a community organised event that has dramatically changed what my Saturday's look like and also changed my life. That event was called parkrun. Parkrun is a free, weekly, timed 5km run that takes place all around the UK and now also around the world. Started by a group of friends just outside London it's become the pinnacle of grassroots sport for adults in the UK in my opinion. Built on the philosophy that anyone can take part and that the event is a run not a race, it is an incredible community of like minded people who get together and run life together.
18 months a go when I rocked up for the first time at Milton Country Park, just north of Cambridge, I had no idea that I would have racked up 60 runs by the end of January 2016, have volunteered 40 times and made a wonderful group of friends.
Parkrun is run by its volunteering community so when I started volunteering I don't think I really knew what I was letting myself in for! The core volunteer team at Cambridge are friendly, welcoming, let me in to their homes and lives, bring me flasks of tea and drive me to parkrun tourism opportunities. They've baked for me, cried with me, celebrated with me, eaten a lot of cake with me and mostly just done life with me. And the best thing is: they're from all walks of life and they're all kinds of ages - from the sassy under 16 year old who is my co-results processing champion to the 70+ sub-20 minute runner who volunteers every week without fail. They're incredible, inspirational, real people who find running at times as tough, and awesome, and frustrating and brilliant as I do.
So this week as Cambridge parkrun hits its 6th birthday I urge you to grab your trainers and find your nearest parkrun. Because you too have the chance to discover an incredible, vibrant community of people passionate about life who happen to run. Some of us badly, some of slowly, some of us competitively and some of us enthusiastically. But all of us are passionate. And dedicated to our Saturday morning fix.
You can sign up to participate in parkrun at www.parkrun.org.uk