A Parkrunner, who started running after her partner was given a terminal cancer diagnosis, has reached a milestone of 1000 runs with the Parkrun charity.

Nicki Clark has volunteered 1000 times, and she was celebrated with a t-shirt presentation on Saturday, March 23, at Riddlesdown Parkrun.

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Clark’s Parkrun journey began back in 2009 when she was introduced to the charity event during a sports massage.

Nicki explained: “I hadn't been running for long.

“I signed up to do a Race for Life shortly after my partner was given a terminal cancer diagnosis, fighting the helplessness that I felt by raising money for a cancer charity.

“I didn't think I was a good enough runner to join a running club, but running itself helped me to clear my head in the early stages of bereavement, and I wanted to run with other people - so I thought I'd check this Parkrun thing out.

“When I mentioned it to a colleague, I found out that several people working at the same school as me took part in the Banstead Woods Parkrun regularly. So, on July 4 2009, along I went, and I loved it.”

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Parkrun’s mission is to improve the health and happiness of as many people as possible and the charity already has a nine million-strong community.

The events on both Saturday and Sunday mornings rely on their strong volunteering teams, something Nicki is proud to be a part of.

She explained: “I couldn't quite believe that something as well organised as this could be free, and I was hugely impressed by how enthusiastic the volunteer team was. 

“I went along again the next week and was persuaded to go for coffee afterwards.

“It was then that I got chatting to Kaye, the volunteer coordinator, which inevitably led me to volunteer. 

“Parkrun quickly became a vital part of my routine - and nearly 15 years later it still is.

“The friendships made, and the sense of belonging created within the Parkrun community is amazing.”

Clark had an inspirational message for anyone thinking of joining the 250,000 weekly participants of Parkrun, she said: “To anyone thinking of coming along to Parkrun, either to run or to volunteer - I'd say DO IT.

“The supportive atmosphere, the chance to be part of something so inclusive - there is no downside.

“You don't have to run, walking is good too, and volunteering is the best way to still be part of it all without having to break a sweat."

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