Evan Thomas hopes Commonwealth success inspires greater ParkRun participation

by Ben Hart, Sportsbeat

Evan Thomas hopes the success of British track stars at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games encourages people to seek out their local parkruns and follow in the footsteps of their heroes.

This week, The National Lottery is teaming up with ParkRun to inspire people across the country to participate in their local event.


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Thomas, who has participated in over 100 ParkRuns since 2012, believes that ParkRun is as much about socializing with friends and being immersed within a sporting community as it is an ongoing event, And wants more people to let it go.

National Lottery players raise over £30m per week for good causes, including significant funding in the sport – including over £3.6m funding for ParkRun alone.

Sport England has also invested £35 million in the Commonwealth Games – a combination of national lottery and government funding – to support the long-standing legacy of more active and connected communities across the country.

“I’ve been doing ParkRun ever since it started and I sometimes pinch myself to think, ‘How do they put this on without anything? explained to Thomas.

“Whatever your size or shape or ability to run, everyone is welcome. I could go out there and get thrashed by some youngsters, but seeing people walking around in 45 minutes gives me the same smile, that’s ParkRun is the beauty of it.”

Thomas confesses that his favorite parkrun is Natalie Abbey, largely because of its proximity to home, which means he may be awake just half an hour before the 9 a.m. start time.

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When he reaches the start line, Thomas quickly comes to life, delighting his fellow runners and feeling the good atmosphere Parkrun has fostered in the communities since its inception in 2004.

“No one judges you, it’s really a sociable event,” Thomas explained. “It’s not a physical thing, it’s a mental thing, plus getting out of the house, rubbing shoulders with other people and talking to them. For some people it may be their only conversation of the week.

“I’ve driven around the country a lot and I’ve never been home since when I started, I’m always fully buzzed, getting some exercise for the weekend and seeing some great people. Me Love it, it feels like one big family.”

The Commonwealth Games gave no shortage of track sensation-to-motivation, nearly 36 years after Eilish McColgan claimed gold in the 10,000 meters, to produce more heptathlon heroics in a week than Katarina Johnson-Thompson, at that event. I placed my mother at the top of the rostrum for the first time. death of his grandmother.

As an infield host at the Alexander Stadium, three-time Commonwealth Games medalist Thomas was once again in action.

On occasion, he was overwhelmed by the support of the home crowd and the difference they made in the athlete’s experience.

“The crowd was wonderful,” Thomas smiled. “The people of Birmingham were really enjoying it and obviously the athletes gave in.

“The best way to explain it is and I mean with respect, the decathletes were on and usually the program gets a little quieter at that point and a lot of people go home because it’s the end of the morning session.

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“Last time I felt the noise was like London 2012, so I think the people of Birmingham outdone themselves and were fantastic.

“I think it’s been a really good summer of sport in the UK and I think it reminds us how wonderful this country is and the fact that we can be involved in global sporting events and be very successful. Huh.”

Thomas believes that the strong consistency of middle-distance runners, who shine in the West Midlands, is evidence of the ‘Kelly Holmes effect’.

Laura Muir raced home to win the 1500 metres, in the same event in which Holmes made her name, straight home eight years after a trip that cost her a medal at Glasgow 2014.

Thomas believes that role models like Muir help remind young people that it is possible to overcome adversity and achieve their dreams.

“More than 80% of parents say that a positive sports role model has a good impact on their children’s lives and they want to get out of the game,” Thomas said.

“If we don’t have the role model we aspire to be, then where is the next generation going to come from? I think it is imperative that when we get the opportunity to attend these sporting events, we do such a great job. .

“You just need a blaze to make a kid go, “Wow, that was amazing to watch, imagine what it is like to play hockey or be an athlete or be a swimmer.”™

“That’s all you really need to trigger someone’s imagination and make them realize that it’s achievable.”

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This weekend the National Lottery and ParkRun have joined forces to encourage people across the UK to participate in their local ParkRun. For more information and to find your local Parkrun program, visit www.parkrun.org.uk. go to


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