Teresa tells us how teaming up with her neighbour has inspired her to take on some big running challenges, and how these things are better achieved with a chum…

It was Brenda who first introduced me to parkruns in 2013. She knew I enjoyed running and told me about these organised free weekly timed 5km runs right on our doorstep (www.parkrun.org.uk).

Arriving at my first parkrun, June 2013, seemed a bit daunting, but there was a first timers briefing which explained how things worked – and at 9am we were off! Everyone was very friendly, all the volunteers were enthusiastic and supportive as they cheered on the runners.

Although I enjoyed the whole experience, it was the following summer that I got hooked and became a regular. Brenda and I occasionally met at Chelmsford, but it was when a new parkrun event started much closer to our homes that we ran together regularly.

By Christmas 2014, Brenda had completed her 50th run aged 67. This gave me the idea for my first challenge – my 51st Birthday fell on a Saturday, so could I complete my 50th run on my Birthday? That morning, the Run Director made a special announcement that it was my 50th run on my 51st Birthday (no pressure then!) and some 30 minutes later, challenge complete!

Last year, Brenda and I took on a new challenge, to complete 20 different parkrun courses during 2016. When we looked at the parkrun venues in our area, we realised that we were lucky enough to have plenty of runs within an hour or so, although it still requires a fair bit of coordination!

Setting this challenge together motivates us to run even when the weather is awful, as we don’t want to let the other down. We run about the same speed, and spur each other on. I prefer courses with more grass than paths, Brenda is faster on pathways. It is always about trying to achieve that new personal best; everyone loves improving. If you are near the Essex/ Hertfordshire border please come and join us at your local Park Run!

Teresa on a running challenge