Nepal to Northala – a parkrunner's tale


Join In UK is the nation’s charity for local sports volunteering; they support the clubs and groups who need volunteers most, promoting opportunities for people to lend a hand. 

Read about how Nepalese parkrun volunteer Nilu found friends and fitness at her local parkrun. Now she’s helping others do the same.  Join In had a short question and answer session with her after the Northala Fields parkrun in Ealing.

What motivated you to start volunteering at parkrun?

I became aware of parkrun through Santosh, a member of the Nepalese community who does a lot of voluntary work. parkrun events aren’t complete without volunteers. I like helping people and I think it’s a good way to encourage not only runners but non-runners to keep themselves fit and healthy.  Running helped me to lose weight, lower my blood pressure and I've been taken off the diabetes “at risk” list.

What is your favourite volunteering role at parkrun?

I like them all but my favourite volunteer role is as a “tail runner”, accompanying the person at the back of the field, giving them motivation and support till the end. I know how it feels to be at the back.

How do you think parkrun has make a difference to your local community? 

Thanks to parkrun, people have started to think seriously about their fitness and health problems, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and blood pressure. They have turned themselves from non-runners into regular runners. Hence I can say parkrun has had a positive and healthy impact on our community.  It’s also become an occasion for people to meet. We’ve established a walking group for older members of the Nepalese community. They come to the parkrun and encourage the runners, then they go on their walk. The runners enjoy seeing them there and it helps the older people feel more integrated with the local community.

What have you gained from volunteering?

By volunteering I’ve made lots of new friends from different communities and gained the confidence to talk in front of a crowd. I feel easier about approaching people and I’ve discovered more about myself. I like to be with other people. It makes me feel happy, satisfied and supported. We also have fun at the parkrun.

Has volunteering helped you deal with a difficult period in your life?

When the earthquakes struck in Nepal last year, the parkrunners were very supportive, holding a fundraising event that raised nearly £2,000. It helped just knowing that everyone at parkrun was thinking of us and our families back in Nepal, and cared about what we were going through.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Li.

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