About the author – Adam Voke, a Cornerstone Fit runner (also Cornerstone City Church lead-elder) has recently been awarded parkrunner of the month at Great Lines so he got a free pair of Asics Gel Kayano 21’s. Adam has been their most improved runner of late having shaved over 2 minutes off his time and breaking into the sub-20 times for a 5km distance with a PB of 19:53 recently.
Adam Voke, Cornerstone City Church
I went along to the first ever parkrun, at the Great Lines in Gillingham (opposite Medway Park) in September 2013. I slogged my way round the free weekly 5K run with a ‘hurty knee’, feeling a bit sick after tackling the (slight!) hill. When I got home I felt like I had run a marathon!
Seventeen months later with fifty-four parkruns done, more than ten minutes off my time and the fitness level to run half marathons every few weeks I’ve grown to really enjoy running and I value the overall health benefits.
parkrun was set up a few years ago in London with a vision to get the community fit and build community. There are now hundreds of weekly parkruns that take place right around the world.
At the Great Lines each Saturday at 9am over two hundred people of mixed ability gather to run or even to walk around the 5k course. Faster club runners lead the way and are followed by the young (some in buggies) and the older (sixty plus), the fit and the not so fit!
The more unseen aspect of parkrun has been the sense of community it stimulates. The atmosphere is one of welcome and friendliness. Encouragement is given around the course from the smiling volunteers. There are sometimes even sweets for the kids and cakes for the adults at the end and fun runs at times like Christmas. All in all it has brought people together around something positive and strengthened the community.
As a Christian I also greatly value the Christian community (church). parkrun forms community with a running/fitness focus, the church forms community around a person that encompasses everything (physical, emotional and spiritual).
The focus of the Christian community is Jesus. The Bible teaches that in him all things hold together, he encompasses all things and everything finds its deeper meaning in him.
Experiencing his love, forgiveness and strength, especially through the Christian community is something that totally changed my life eighteen years ago. For me, to put Jesus at the centre of my life means that His life must flow into every other area, everything else finds its focus in him and wherever I am and whatever I am doing it must be done in a way that honours him and bears his will for my life in mind.
So, pop along to parkrun and join the community there at 9am on a Saturday. Come and say hello if you see me! Editors Note; Adam will be at Great Lines parkrun, other parkruns are available. But I also invite you to consider visiting a church community where the spiritual health of your heart can be improved alongside the physical.