The 250 Parkrun club is the Holy Grail of 9am Saturday running. Many strive for it, and Lisa Hale is now a part of this prestigious group of runners. Her 250th run came at Brooklands on Saturday 23rd March, where she not only visited the course out for the first time, but came through as 1st female with a blistering time of 21:36.
As a celebration of this fantastic achievement, Lisa provided an insight into her running background, and shared her love for Parkruns…
Q) For those who may not know you, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
A) I’ve been running with the club (and a prolific Facebooker!) for so long I think I’m pretty well known but I live in Farnborough with partner Stuart Overhill and a menagerie of reptiles. I work for a company who make artificial limbs and wheelchairs. I also enjoy cycling, swimming and the gym, and the rest of my time I like reading and watching football!
Q) How and when did you get into running?
A) Back in 2004 I joined a gym for general fitness and was dared by my Mum to enter the Windsor half marathon for the charity she worked for – knowing she never believed I’d do it I had to give it a go and the rest is history!
Q) You’ve joined the elite club of 250 parkruns, an incredible achievement. What is it about parkruns that you enjoy so much?
A) Funnily enough I didn’t really enjoy parkrun when I first did it, my focus has always been on distance and at the time running marathons most weekends, I couldn’t see the point in 5ks! In fact there was a gap of several years between my first few! However over the years I have grown to love the atmosphere and the opportunity to visit all different locations, and last year started to focus my training on short fast work to improve my 5k times which I have really been enjoying, and after a brief lay off towards the end of last year with a tendon injury in my foot am looking forward to getting back to some speed work and hoping to improve.
Q) You’ve run at 62 different parkruns along the way to 250, can you pinpoint a particular favourite parkrun, and what it is that was so good about it?
A) I love Bedfont Lakes which is in a really nice setting, and one of the friendliest around. I had completed my 100 marathons and was looking for a new target I set myself the challenge of visiting 50 different parkruns, which has taken me to some lovely locations, and sometimes unexpected, such as Crane Park, a lovely little park tucked away in a housing estate, or Tring…the only parkrun I have come across yet with the volunteering role of cow marshal!
Q) You’ve been doing parkruns since 2009, what changes have you noticed in parkruns since then?
A) There are just so many to choose from now, when I finished my ’50 different locations’ challenge, I had easily covered every one within an hour’s drive but now there are many new ones that I have yet to sample in close proximity.
Q) You’ve also volunteered on 33 occasions, would you encourage people to consider volunteering at a parkrun, as well as running them?
A) I have got a lot out of running since I started, it’s definitely changed my life for the better so it’s nice to put something back. People don’t always realise what goes on behind the scenes – not just at 9.00 on a Saturday but all the planning and co-ordinating and results collation and that without volunteers there would simply be no parkrun. I really enjoy it as well, it’s great seeing people’s delight at the end when they complete their 1st 5k or get a PB, and if you’re marshalling almost everyone gives you a wave or a grunt of thanks! (the purple t-shirt is nice too!)
Q) Back to SJs, and what club runs may members bump into you on?
A) I haven’t been to many club runs lately due to my foot injury and my work taking me up and down the country but I hope to back on a Thursday at some point!
Q) Have you got any events coming up in 2019 that you are looking forward to?
A) The London marathon is next, which I don’t have a target time for having started my marathon training pretty late due to injury, but I am looking forward to enjoying the day. I’ll be celebrating the 100th marathon of Mark Zirbser in July in memory of Sandhurst member Lucy, which will be a fun but emotional day. I’m looking forward to Endure, and the Purbeck, Yorkshire and Portsmouth Marathons later in the year. I’m also hoping to get back to my 5k PB fitness over the summer.
Q) Once again, congratulations on your incredible achievement, have you got anything else you would like to add?
A) Thank you! Not really….I’m probably a bit over exposed as it is!
My thanks to Lisa for participating in this article, and once again a massive congratulations on reaching such an incredible milestone. Keep an eye out on your emails/inboxes, I might be messaging you soon to take part in a future ‘Meet the Member’…!