Open Arms in Open Spaces

From Markeaton Parkrun News

 

What's the best thing about parkrun?

It gets you fit?

You meet great people?

There's cake?

Personally I think it's the inclusivity. Everybody is welcome. A free run in a free park (if you forget about the car-parking charge). All ages, all abilities, all speeds, all shapes, all sizes, all together. There aren't many events or places where you can say that. On Saturday morning, the Markeaton parkrun inclusivity went up a notch though with the recognition of National Refugee Week.

As the sun poked its head out of the clouds and said "Naaah! I'm not bothering today" and the grey clouds took a break from hanging about over Download to visit Markeaton Park for a bit, an impressive 487 people braved the dismal morning and gathered together at the steps near the cafe. On any other week, the tourists from Poole, Birmingham, Exmouth and Northwich would have been impressive enough, but because this is National Refugee Week, things were a bit different. It's not everyday you get visitors from...

Iraq
Iran
Syria
Sudan
Somalia
Tanzania
Eritrea

...and that is pretty incredible. Welcome along everybody. Whether you're from Exmouth or Eritrea, Ilkeston or Iraq, Syria Striders or Shelton Striders, it was great to see you all. This is what the parkrun community is all about isn't it? Amazing stuff.

We were able to extend a Markeaton welcome to our foreign friends because of brand new Run Director Steve who volunteers with Derbyshire Refugees Solidarity. He welcomed us with a fabulous run briefing before off we all went on 2 laps of the park. Good work Steve.

Celebrating milestone runs this week were... Joseph Young running his 10th parkrun, Ashley Bellamy, Marvin Ceiley, Kevin Smith and Tim Stokes completing their 50th runs and Sam Holgate clocking up his 150th. Everybody at Markeaton loves you, admires you and thanks you...mostly because there was a great big mound of cake on the table. Excellent cake-bringing everybody. Oh, congratulations on that running thing too.

The biggest shock out on the course this week was...WHERE WERE THE PUDDLES?!?! After a week of never ending rain and Derby being as damp as a Downloader's tent, the park was relatively puddle-free. The PUDDLE OF DOOM was a shadow of its former self and many parkrunners ditched the snorkel and wellies ensemble to run, jog or walk without getting too wet at all. Many were disappointed as the rising waters were going to be the excuse for missing out on a fast time today. In the end they all agreed to blame the roadworks around Derby. Seems fair to me.

Others saw their chance for a PB and grabbed it with both hands. Congratulations to the 62 people who were smiling harder than Frank Lampard with a brand new Chels...sorry, Derby contract in his hand.

It was grey and drizzly but our bunch of volunteers were, as ever, amazing. Thank you so much to the mighty fine 39 people who made this glorious event happen. It's the power of the parkrun people that keep this thing going and, like the roadworks, it shows no signs of stopping yet.

So, there we go, another tremendous Markeaton parkrun. If you ran, jogged, walked, volunteered or stood at the side thinking "What on Earth are they all doing?!" then you were awesome and part of a beautiful occasion.

An occasion that welcomes everybody from everywhere. Whatever your background, wherever you come from, whoever you are. An event where we can all run, no matter what you are running from. Yes to barcodes and biscuits, no to barriers and borders. Yes to friends, no to frontiers. A place where the displaced and the smiley-faced are one. Open arms and open spaces. Less contempt and conflict, more compassion and cake. Always more cake.

Just imagine if the real world was more like parkrun.

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