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A Walk In The Park. Friday August 14, 2015

I am lucky to have a beautiful park near my house. It is always a pleasure to visit, to look at the trees, flowers, birds, ponds, all that nature has to offer.

On a good day I go for a run round it. On a less good day, I'm doing well to get to the gates and sit on the nearest bench for a while. But whatever type of day it is, on my return home I always feel better than when I left. Sometimes it is that very thought that actually gets me out of the house.

These park trips are usually solitary, but sometimes we crave company. A couple of years ago I heard of parkrun. Maybe some of you are already regulars with your t-shirt to prove your dedication. For those that have not heard of it, parkrun is a free 5 kilometre run that starts at 9am every Saturday morning. It happens at three hundred and fifty venues throughout the UK (and there are plenty more in the rest of the world).

"I don't run" I hear you say.

"That doesn't matter" I respond.

You can turn up and watch. Depending on where you are on your journey, getting out of the house may be a great achievement. What a wonderful start to the day. You may feel inclined to smile or clap at the runners as they pass you. They will appreciate your encouragement, and that can help you feel better inside.

And having watched the event, maybe once, twice or twenty times, you might think that the people seem a friendly bunch, who you'd like to know. But how do you start the conversation? Find the most approachable looking person and ask how you can volunteer as a marshal, a timekeeper, or perhaps help serve tea after the run. You will soon be directed to a person, probably armed with a clipboard, who will be delighted to meet you.

You may feel inspired to walk the route, with a dog on a leash, or push a child in a buggy – probably not both as you'd run out of hands. The key point of parkrun is its inclusivity, it matters not one jot whether you're the first or last over the finish line, but that you participated. Perhaps after a few visits you may choose to try a tentative jog for a few metres, but nobody will force you.

If you'd like to find your nearest parkrun go to

And you don't need me to tell you that a little exercise in the fresh air is great for lifting the mood.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Hopeful One Fri, Aug 14th 2015 @ 7:40am

Hi Susannah - an inspiring blog. I feel the the point you make has a more general application to everything we do . Whatever we want to do or plan to do always starts with a small step in that direction. But we must take that step.I am constantly surprised when I do that, even though my mind may be reluctant to start with ( those NUTS and ANTS again)at the results I achieve.

Helen Fri, Aug 14th 2015 @ 7:57am

I love parkrun, try to do it once a month at least. I'm not very good at socialising, but just having other like minded people around can help.

Susannah Fri, Aug 14th 2015 @ 8:54am

Thank you, Hopeful One, I totally agree with your comment. My small step was writing my first Moodscope blog, so it is wonderful that you find it inspiring.

Susannah Fri, Aug 14th 2015 @ 8:57am

Sounds like I'm preaching to the converted, Helen! It's great that you feel part of the community, even if you are not yet ready to immerse yourself in it. Have you also tried marshaling? It makes me feel great! My favourite role is tail runner. Although I'm not fast, I'm also not the slowest any more, and I love to encourage those who are starting their running journey.

Bearofliddlebraincom Fri, Aug 14th 2015 @ 1:39pm

What a great idea, susannah and thank you for sharing! I think I see these park run runners in a Saturday morning when I'm out walking the dog...I try to go early to avoid getting in their way! I am always thrilled to see our parks being used by everyone from cyclists, runners, walkers, dog walkers to picnickers and families playing games...and what a joy to see the narrow boats going by too! I am extremely fortunate to live where I do. :)

Julia Sat, Aug 15th 2015 @ 7:20am

Hi Susannah. I am late reading your blog as we have been travelling with no wifi during the day until we reach the hotel in the evening. I loved this. It was well written and I am sure it appealed to many if not all on Moodscope. In a way you went back to basics in saying that it's an achievement for some to even get out of bed. We often forget the extreme spectrum of of mental health issues. But the opportunity to cheer the runners and maybe after watching for a few times, to get involved just that little bit more. That's what recovery is all about or the road to recovery. Small steps which you illustrated so well by writing about parkruns. I do hpoe I will be reading more of your inspiring blogs soon. Thank you. Keep running and writing.

Susannah Sat, Aug 15th 2015 @ 2:36pm

Thank you for your encouragement, Julia, and for hitting that nail right on its head.

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