Graham and the JET Running Club
The JET Running Club started life towards the end of 2018. A benefit of being based at Howbery Business Park on the outskirts of Wallingford is that it provides a lovely setting for a a number of nice routes around the town and down the river. Combined with getting into the MyZone, it really fed into the company culture and our passion for physical activity.
A big driver of the JET Running Club was our Technical Director, Graham Parkins. Graham had set himself the goal of being able to climb Mont Blanc. A weekend of orienteering had highlighted to himself how unlikely this achievement would be as he found himself out of breath… and from nothing like the challenge of scaling a mountain!
He knew that he needed to get fitter and reduce his BMI in order to achieve his goal – he’d also just seen a photo of himself enjoying an ice cream, and although the ice cream was very good, Graham was not happy with his appearance. He decided he needed to make a change.
Graham took the first step and completed his first parkrun in August of 2018, in around 40 minutes. With a couple of staff members at JET keen runners, the weekly lunch running club was born, and Graham was joined over the next few years for regular runs around Wallingford.
With an improvement in diet – eating better food, but mainly eating less (although he’s never stopped drinking beer or eating chocolate!), Graham drastically cut his run times. PB’s were becoming a weekly occurence and Graham began to dedicate more of his time to running and setting targets. parkruns were completed, 10k’s were ticked off, then half marathons and then, in early 2021, Graham completed his first marathon in 3 hours 35 minutes!
However, the crowning glory happened in April 2021 and is one that many a runner sets as a target – the sub 20 minute 5k. On a lovely morning, Graham did his 5k in 19:27! Half the time it took him to do his first just 3 years ago. An amazing achievement – and I’m sure he got an ice cream to celebrate!
He hasn’t been able to climb Mont Blanc yet due to the pandemic… but don’t bet against him achieving it!
The JET Running Club has always been inclusive and we run at a pace that doesn’t leave anyone behind (if we now ran at Graham’s pace we’d struggle to keep up!), and we look forward to getting back to more regular runs as soon as we can!