Sunday, 8 January 2012

New Contributor: Ali Virgo

Name: Ali Virgo
Home parkrun: Coventry
Date of first parkrun: 04/09/2010
Total Number of parkruns: 29
Number of other parkrun locations run: 3 - Leamington, Poole and Sewerby (Bridlington)
Number of times volunteered: 7 or 8, I think!
My parkrun history:

Me? I am now more than 'middle aged'! I hated running long distance at school (100 metres was far enough) but then ran in my twenties and did the London Marathon in 1985, then had my two wonderful children and was too busy (lazy?!) to exercise so nothing since then, until three years ago.

Started exercising to help with my CFS, which I've had for seven years now. I am 'almost' well and consider myself lucky to be able to do the things I do now.I love taking part in the big events, I did the Great North Run in 2009 then in 2010 decided to give triathlon a go, I did two supersprints and a sprint which I loved but the training was too much and I am a rubbish swimmer and always will be!

2011 I was back to running and did the Bristol, Coventry and Birmingham halves to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society. I always run/walk so my times are slow but for me it's the taking part that counts.....

And so to parkrun and what it means to me......

I can't remember where I saw it advertised but I couldn't sign up quickly enough and get down to Memorial Park. When I turned up I was terrified to see all the fast club runners and thought I was out of my league but I needn't have worried, there were others like me there! Unfortunately after that first one I fell off a step (I am known for not looking what I am doing) in Durham the day before the Great North Run and was not only unable to take part but was out of running for two months. I volunteered a few times over that winter and got to know Jason and the 'crew'. My next parkrun was Christmas Day 2010 but it messed my ankle up again so I left it another month before I did my third.

I'm not sure exactly when I got to know the 'Dog & Bear' pair of Colin Scooby Rowley and Baloo Challenor but I'm so glad I did! They encouraged me so much and have the 'spirit of parkrun' which to me is that it is one big family that helps and supports each other. I have done other events with them as well where they have gone much slower than they normally would to help me around. There are also too many other people to mention (one of them I shared a very exciting time with going to do the Windsor Women's 8k, you know who you are!) that have become friends and I value the social side of parkrun as much as the running.

Is it an obsession now? Absolutely! I can't wait to get my 50 shirt some time this year and get a sub 30 :)


  1. Thanks for this introductory post Ali. Let's hope it not too long for that 50 club t-shirt.

  2. Hi Ali - remember you coming to visit us down at Poole ... must have been back in about May.

    Testing my memory now but did you come down to stay with your sister who lives in Christchurch/New Forest direction?

    I'm sure you said you'd come back and visit us again. We've grown since you came along!

  3. Hi Hugh, crikey, I've only just come across your post from over a year ago! Yes thats right, my sister lives in New Milton. I get down there every 2 months but it's usually mid week. I'll have to try for a weekend visit and come to Poole, can't believe its been that long! Coventry has now grown to over 500 runners, great to see so many taking part. :)

  4. Only just did my 50th parkrun this week through illness and injury and other stuff over the last year. Can't wait to get my t-shirt! I've met loads of lovely people at parkrun snd would like to thank them for their support. Roll on 100!


We would love to hear from you and welcome all comments.