Back in January 2019 we featured a story on local boy Luke Woodhouse, who at the age of 8 was taking parkrun by storm – he started when he was just 4. Passionate about inspiring other children in Bridgend to take part, and with the full backing of his teachers and family, Luke was achieving personal bests, and along with his younger brother doing all he could to encourage others to take part.
We have now got back in touch with Luke (who is still only 10), who along with his younger brother Jack (9), is still taking part in parkrun events. Together, the boys now have big aspirations for future events, and even the Olympics one day!
Luke recently broke a 6-year record at Porthcawl parkrun being the first Junior Male to break sub 20 mins in a time of 19 mins 43 seconds. He also holds two other records at Maesteg parkrun and Bridgend Junior parkrun.
Read all about the boys’ plans, and why running is so important for their overall health and well-being here
When did you start parkrun boys?
Luke: I started off with the junior parkrun in 2015 when I was 4, and then moved on to the adult parkrun in 2018.
Jack: I started the junior parkrun in 2018 when I was 4 years old, and then moved on to the adult event in 2019. We take part in Maesteg and Porthcawl parkruns, we love them!
What is your favourite thing about it?
Jack: We have learnt a new skill and enhanced our health and happiness – we love being fit and running as fast as we can. It has also helped us enjoy school too.
Do you encourage your friends to join in?
Luke: My friends have come and enjoyed parkruns, they can’t catch me, but we talk about it in school. It’s great to see them there. It has also helped our school win the primary schools cross country league. It’s great for teamwork!
What would you say to children who want to join but are worried that they won’t be able to do it?
Jack: Even if you intend to walk, you can still go along. You can gradually build up to just jog, then run. It just helps you to be active at your own pace. It really helped me, and my family be active and achieve things. You can then start hitting milestones for certain runs. But remember you are only running to beat your last time.
What do you think are the benefits of exercising as a child? Do you think it sets you up for a healthy adult life?
Luke: It is so important to keep active from a young age. It helps with sleeping and gets me off my games and computer. My dad helps us to improve and tells us to keep drinking water.
It has helped us in other ways as well. We are always learning new skills that aren’t always related to just fitness. I have learnt to tie my own shoelaces, tell the time and we can actually work out minutes per kilometres now!
Who are your favourite celebrity runners?
Together: Mo Farah, Usain Bolt, Jake Heyward and Josh Griffiths! They are all so awesome!
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Together: We want to first represent Wales together and then Team GB In the Olympics. We are determined to work hard, train and become professional runners like our Mo, Usain, Jake and Josh!
Thank you to the boys for sharing their best parts about parkrun. It so great to hear how it helps them keep active and assists in learning new things. We will be looking out for them at the Olympic games in years to come!
If you or your family are keen to take part in parkrun at your own pace to become more active, or even run competitively one day, give it a go. You can find out more about your local event and sign up here.