Even after weight loss, it wasn't until Trish started attending parkrun that she made real progress.

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Name: Trish Beukers

Local parkrun: The Entrance, NSW

Attending since: March, 2016

For most her life, Trish had been dealing with depression, anxiety and PTSD, which manifested itself as a struggle with obesity. “There were years I didn’t even leave the house unless it was an emergency,” she admits. “Not even to go check the mail.”

Trish thought things might change in 2014 when she had successful weight loss surgery. Despite dropping more than 80 kg, it didn’t have the effect on her depression and anxiety she hoped it would. “My weight loss wasn’t helping my mental health,” she says. “But exercise did”.

Trish started walking, going to the gym, doing yoga, and a whole host of other types of exercise. “Then a friend introduced me to parkrun,” says Trish, “And now I look forward to it every week.

“I needed to step outside my comfort zone, I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to see if I could jog.”

“I needed to step outside my comfort zone, I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to see if I could jog.”

While she was understandably nervous her first time, Trish soon realised her fears were unfounded as The Entrance parkrun embraced her with open arms.

“I loved that even at the back of the pack, people were waiting to cheer you over the line,” she remembers. “Even the most athletic runners were there to wish me luck and say ‘good on you’ for being here. They never once treated me as anything less than their best athlete”.

Trish has now been a parkrunner for four months, attending regularly with her two boys, and sometimes with her daughter. She’s keen to pass on the positive message to them, as well. “I get to show my children that no matter how hard it seems, or how low you get, you can find it within yourself to improve your life and happiness.”

She also wants to impress on her kids the importance of exercise, having seen the incredible difference it has made in her own physical and mental health. She wants to show them that fitness can be fun, and that it’s not an optional extra.

“Besides,” says Trish, “It actually feels really good to push yourself, and I know that if I skip it, I’ll feel noticeably worse.

“I participate in life now. “I engage with people, I got a job. I even rewarded myself and went skydiving.”

“And I get to let go of the old me, forever.”

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