Tag Archives: Running

I want to tell you about this great little thing called parkrun.

12 Apr

parkrun – the reason I get up earlier on a Saturday, than any other day of the week.

I was first introduced to the wonderful world of parkrun by my cousin, Nic, when I arrived in Brisbane last April. I had heard about it in Scotland a few years before, and knew about one in Glasgow, but I never ran a parkrun until I arrived in Australia.

It’s a free, weekly, timed, 5k event. Brilliant.

The finish line at Southbank parkrun, Brisbane

How did it start?
It started in a park (Bushy Park) in London in 2004, and it’s since spread to 10 countries including: Ireland, Denmark, Poland, Russia, USA, South Africa, Singapore, New Zealand, and Australis – where there are now over 100 parkrun locations in Australia.

I now proudly call Southbank parkrun in Brisbane my ‘home parkrun’.

How does it work?
Simply visit parkrun.com to find your nearest one, register and print off your barcode, and take it with you on the day. It really is that simple.

Once you pass the finish line, you get handed a token (numbered according to the position you crossed the finish line and corresponds with the number on the stopwatch). You take that to a barcode scanner who scans the token then your barcode. The results are then uploaded onto the database and you get the all important email later that morning with your time and other great statistics such as: how many parkruns you’ve ran, your finish place i.e 165th, your all time parkrun personal best. You can also view the full set of results for that event and see how you stacked up against your mates.

Southbank parkrun meets at the parklands on Southbank

What makes it so great?
It’s run by volunteers – both a dedicated events team for each parkrun location, and members who volunteer on a one-off basis on race day for the likes of time keeper, barcode scanner, tokens, marshals, tail end charlie, photographer etc.

It’s open to everyone – no matter your age or fitness level. It encourages all sorts of people (dad’s with prams, grans with their dogs, children, athletes, walkers, super skinny, carrying a little bit of extra junk) to come along each week and bust out their best 5k against a clock.

What’s really great to see is when you introduce parkrun to other people and you watch them catch the parkrun bug. I’ve recently introduced some friends from work, and my cousin, Fiona, and her 2 year old son, Murray – who arguably isn’t a convert yet – the boy likes his sleep!

Parkrun tourism is also a thing. You can literally rock up to any parkrun, anywhere and run! (Yes, even when you’re on holiday!). It’s a great way to see different areas and run in different environments – beaches, footpaths, trails, parks etc. To date, I’ve visited parkruns in Mitchelton, Golden Beach, Stones Corner and Minnippi (all in SE Queensland) and I’ve even managed to persuade (read: force) my boyfriend to come with me to Pollock parkrun in Glasgow (Scotland) next month when visit home!

White girls can’t jump!

What next?
Since I started a year ago, I’ve ran 24 parkruns and got a new PB just last week: 27.51. Which I’m absolutely delighted with, as my goal this year was to run 5k under 28 mins… so now that I’ve already smashed that, I suppose I better set a new goal… I’m also hoping to reach 50 runs by the end of the year, and with comes the prized 50 t-shirt!

Watch this space, and remember – #DFYB (Don’t forget your barcode!)

30 and Proud

5 Feb

I’m 29 years and 11 months old today. I have one month left in my 20’s. Goodbye youthful skin, late nights, being ‘down with the kids’, and having bearable hangovers (just). Hello crows feet, a slowing metabolism, early nights and brain crushing hangovers.

Dramatics aside, truth be told, I have been dreading turning 30. That was until last month when I read an article which changed my mindset. It was an article in the Huffington Post titled ‘9 things you should never say to a woman who is turning 30’. The author of the article, also turning 30 (and excited about it!) noticed a trend of back-handed compliments about getting older and being ‘past it’. She highlighted the unwritten rule in our society that women should be terrified of getting older, and therefore shouldn’t embrace it. But why shouldn’t we? We are wiser, more confident, and more secure in ourselves, and these are things that should be celebrated. Not only that, but it’s a privilege denied to many.

So now, as I near my 30th birthday, I’m grateful to reach this milestone and excited for what lies ahead. I remember being 19, and approaching 20 with a dread like ‘oh oh another decade looms. I’m still a kid, I know nothing, I’ve not achieved anything!’. So in a bid to approach my 30s in a more positive mindset, I have reflected on everything I am proud of and have achieved to date, and in keeping with the 30 theme, I made a list of the top 30. Not only that, but I’ve made a list of 30 new goals to strive for.

Thumbs up for turning 30!

Thumbs up for turning 30!

30 things I’ve achieved so far…

  1. I saw my long-suffering football team, Kilmarnock, win the Scottish cup in ’97.

  2. I have a big sister who is also my best friend. We are like chalk and cheese most of the time, but there’s no-one else like her!
  3. I have a crazy, fun-loving mum, and comic, role-model dad, who encourage and support me in everything I do.
  4. I have true life-long friends. Like, from nursery. That’s over 25 years of friendship – thanks for putting up with me girls! (Claire, Louise, Allana, Vicky).
  5. At 18, I left home and moved to Dundee to start uni.
  6. I made another group of life-long friends when I went to University in Dundee – which made my 4 years at Uni the best ever! Thanks girls!
  7. I went to Art school and got a bachelor’s degree in Product Design.
  8. I then went to Business school and got a Master’s degree in Marketing.
  9. With over 5 years experience, I’ve carved out a career in Marketing for myself. Every day is a school day!
  10. I have a big family spread out across the country and overseas. They are all a little crazy in their own way and I love them for it.
  11. I backpacked through SE Asia at 22. Island hoped around Thailand, snorkelled to ‘The Beach’ on Koh Phi Phi, partied with lady boys on Koh Samui, and danced until sunrise at a full moon party on Koh Phangnan.
  12. I’ve seen my fair share of sunsets on the White Isle. And just happened to see some of the world’s best DJ’s at the world’s best clubs – Hed Kandi at El Divino, Tiesto at Amnesia, and Groove Armada at Space, being some of the more memorable ones.

  13. I’ve been to countless festivals and gigs and saw some of the best artists of my time: Oasis, Bruce Springsteen, The Stone Roses, The Who, James Brown.
  14. I try new things – including millinery (hat making), tap dancing, snowboarding, burlesque…
  15. I climbed (read: crawled) up Ben Nevis.

  16. I am an Auntie to two of the cutest, funniest and wildest nephews around, Lyall & Harris. Keep it real kids.

  17. I’ve been fortunate to see several of my best friends get married, and looking forward to a few more!
  18. I’m even more fortunate to be an ‘Auntie’ to an ever-increasing army of little people who belong to my friends.

  19. I moved to another country (twice!). In 2011, I took an English teaching job in Daegu, South Korea. I didn’t know any body and didn’t speak the language. It has been one of my greatest life experiences to date.
  20. I crossed the border into to North Korea (it may only be by a few metres at the DMZ, but I’ve stepped into North Korea nonetheless).

  21. I kicked cancer’s ass! Now two and a half years all clear 🙂
  22. I did a bungee jump and raised over £2,500 for Ayrshire Cancer Support.
  23. Over the last two years I have lost a shed load of weight. 35kg to date (or 5 ½ stone). And still some to go. Having been overweight my whole life, I decided at 28, that I didn’t want to lead that life anymore and gave myself until my 30th birthday to lose the junk in my trunk!
  24. My personal best for downing 2 pints of Guinness is 36 seconds. Pow pow!

  25. I am a runner. I’ve spent a lot of my twenties wanting and trying to be a runner. And I’ve finally realised that it doesn’t matter how slow you go, you are still a runner.
  26. I have run 10k races in 3 continents. Last year I got a new PB 60:50.
  27. I have met my match in John Boy. He supports me and cheers for me, and challenges me in a way I’ve never been before. He’s the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. I just need to get him in the same country as me first!
  28. I travelled solo through Cambodia and Vietnam – didn’t die.
  29. I backpacked around Australia. After 6 years of talking about it, I finally got my finger out and got my ass down under!
  30. I sky dived from 12,000 feet onto a beach on the Gold Coast.

And now for 30 Goals


  1. Run a half marathon
  2. Run a full marathon
  3. Complete a triathlon


  4. Work for a NGO
  5. Start my own photography business
  6. Become an accomplished public speaker

  7. Write a book


  8. Road trip around New Zealand in a camper van
  9. Island hop around Fiji
  10. Scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef

  11. See the Milky Way from Uluru
  12. Walk on the Great Wall of China
  13. Travel to India and see the Taj Mahal
  14. See the Northern Lights from Norway
  15. Ski in the Alps
  16. Live in NYC for a year
  17. Road trip the southern US states
  18. Travel to Peru and visit Machu Picchu
  19. Climb Mt Kilimanjaro
  20. Ride in a bobsled


  21. Re-learn the piano
  22. Learn to surf (in a country without sharks)
  23. Learn to snowboard
  24. Learn a new language
  25. Learn to code
  26. Learn to sail and own a boat (just a wee one)
  27. Get my PADI

    Personal Life:

  28. Buy an old farmhouse and renovate it
  29. See Kilmarnock with the Scottish Premier League (this is more of a dream than a goal)
  30. Really get to know my parents, aunts and uncles – listen to their life stories

    _ _ _

    A sensible person would include ‘pay off student loan/ credit card’, ‘save for retirement’, buy a house’, ‘get married’, ‘have kids’ etc, but life should never be taken for granted, and as the saying goes ‘you can’t put a price on a good time!’.

    So here’s to everyone turning 30, the adventure continues!

Great Scot!

17 Feb

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed.
Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up.
It knows that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or a gazelle
when the sun comes up you’d better be running.” (Anon)


In an attempt to regain some kind of fitness level whilst in Korea – I’ve signed up for the Daegu 10k in April. It just so happens my cousin is visiting from down under at the same time so, being the avid triathlon participant that she is, I signed her up too! Team name: ‘Great Scots’ (before anyone questions my cousins authenticity – she was an Ayrshire lass originally).

Note to future prospective visitors: If you come and visit me, running a 10km is not mandatory! Honest. Please come visit me!

It’s now the middle of February and the race is 7 weeks on Sunday. Thankfully, I’ve already started training, I joined the gym at the end of January and have been building up my running on the treadmill, I’ve also just started swimming again, and as soon as the weather picks up I’ll get back out onto the road and start pounding the tarmac Liz McColgan style!

I would love to run it in under an hour, but realistically I don’t think I’m going to get my PB in this race. I’m more worried about the sweeper bus catching me after 1 hour 30 minutes, or worse still being overtaken by an ajumma!

A gaggle of ajummas

Note: An ajumma is a Korean granny – they are legends in their own right.