Wednesday, 18 January 2012

New contributor: Michelle Nicol

Name: Michelle Nicol
Home parkrun: Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of first parkrun: 25/09/2010
Total Number of parkruns: 31
Number of other parkrun locations run: 2 Edinburgh and Durham. I turned up to Sunderland once but the run was called off due to snow!
Number of times volunteered: 14
My parkrun history:

I started running in 2008 as part of a keep fit drive. I didn't much like it at first and thought I was never going to be able to achieve my goal of running for 20 minutes non stop. But I did and somewhere along the way I got the bug and started running just because I wanted to get out and enjoy the feeling of freedom and fresh air.

And then I thought I'd enter the Great North Run. In one year I went from running no miles to running 13.1 and I'd found a new determination and competitive edge.

I came to parkrun a little late. I'd already completed 10ks and a half marathon before I tackled the 5k course, but I found new friends and a great spirit of encouragement on the Town Moor in Newcastle. It's now a regular part of my weekend, either volunteering or running. 

There's plenty of encouragement for runners of all abilities and the commitment of regular volunteers like race directors Ian and Dave and Malcolm (stalwart gate one guardian) help create a great family spirit. And whenever we find an excuse we'll celebrate with cake!

My favourite experience of parkrun has been running as the 30 minute pacer. The first time I did it, I set off rather too fast and probably scared everyone trying to follow me to death. But I slowed down towards the end and sprinted with a lady across the line. She couldn't believe she'd managed to dip under 30 minutes for the first time, but she did.

Now, as well as keeping in touch with my friends I'm hoping parkrun will help me improve my 5k time. I'm planning on doing a few sprint triathlons, so a fast run at the end will be a big bonus.  

Parkrun and my other training regularly features on my blog and you can follow me on twitter - ScribblerNE

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