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‘Depression’ – Cheltenham Parkrun volunteer opens up on his wife’s emotional running journey

The Cheltenham Parkrun is an event ran every weekend for adults and children of all abilities as hundreds of people from around the local area gather at nine o’clock every Saturday morning at Pittville Park to test their 5k running skills, whatever the weather.

Volunteers play an essential role in the preparation, safety and organisation of these park runs. Nik Farmer is just one of those volunteers that gives up his Saturday mornings to ensure that the events run as smoothly as possible. Farmer opened on how his Park Run journey started.

“My wife started coming to Park Run advised by her doctor to assist with her depression and I came along to support her. Initially I was thinking why I need to run with other people, but I loved it. The sense of community, the motivation to get out of bed on a Saturday morning and do something which is a group shared activity was fantastic.”

Farmer, like many others, started volunteering after spending many years participating. “I have now done 130 Park Runs myself and I have volunteered about 40 times, and it is brilliant, I enjoy the volunteering more than I enjoy the running now. Most volunteers come through that way, but we do get people that come along and do their Duke of Edinburgh practise, as they do their volunteering.”

Last Saturday marked Cheltenham’s 517th park run, and the 60-year-old encourages more to sign-up, as numbers are increasing year-on-year. “The first thing to do is go on the website and get yourself a barcode. It is free to enter and free to participate. The barcode is just a record of your time, so you print that off so when you finish your time is recorded. Otherwise turn up on a Saturday morning at hundreds of locations all across the country. Just in Gloucestershire there is Tewkesbury, three in Gloucester, Evesham and Cirencester. Turn up for nine o’clock on a Saturday morning and away you go.”

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