#WhyIRun – Forty things to do now that I’m 40

In our latest #WhyIRun story, Marie Lidgett tells us about her parkrun journey and how joining a social running group helped enhance her running experience.

"In January 2018, I turned the grand old age of 40. I didn’t want to turn forty, but instead of dwelling on it, I decided that I would set myself a challenge and created a list called ‘Forty things to do now I am forty’.

On my list at number 4. - Complete a Parkrun.

Why? Because I have always wanted to do it since hearing the Sports Reporter Vassos Alexander enthusiastically talk about them on the BBC Radio 2’s Breakfast Show.

I am not made of running material. I hadn’t run for at least 12 years so completing a 5km was daunting.

Run Wales had posted on Facebook about a 0-5k social running group which was starting up in Colwyn Bay. It was fate - I had to sign up!

The ten week sessions were varied and enjoyable, although it took a lot of willpower to carry on when the temperatures were in the minus figures and snow was falling! But gradually the distance between each lamp post seemed to be getting shorter and the evenings were getting lighter. Before I knew it, we were running 5km non-stop.

The session finished with our first parkrun in Conwy. Thankfully, a flat course with beautiful scenery. The feeling of running through the funnel at the end of the 5km with your fellow runners was fantastic. I had completed my ‘forty things’ challenge.

Now titled a ‘parkrunner’, I was on their mailing list and received an email advertising the #RunningDownDementia Challenge 100km for Alzheimer Research. The email landed in my inbox the day I had just said goodbye to my Grandad, who had suffered from dementia. It was meant to be and so I decided to put my new found ‘skill’ to some good use.

I was determined to do it and with the Porth Eirias social runners by my side (a new group now formed by those who had finished the Run Wales 0-5k) I completed the challenge in 10 weeks raising over £400 for the charity.

My new found interest in running hasn’t come without the ‘common’ runner's problems. I now know the terms IT band, shin splints, over pronation and how much your body can hurt when its tired. My wardrobe has been taken over by sports kit and is bursting at the seams with leggings and running tops, and I am sure I bore my non-running friends with my latest PBs!

I would say that I have the ‘running bug’, although I haven’t run further than 6km in one run yet I do miss it if I haven’t run for a couple of days.

If you ask me now, nine months since the 0-5k, why do I run, it is for a different reason. Yes, I have completed the challenge of a parkrun (in fact I have run about 12 to date and at various locations across the UK), but the main reason is because of the great group of people I have met.

Porth Eirias Runners have made running enjoyable, it’s exercise with friends. No-one is scowled upon for having a chat, we run at our own pace knowing others will be there for you and you can have a laugh while you do it. That’s why I run."

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