Andrew keeps running

Andrew keeps running

Andrew Pengelly has not let a Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis stop him from achieving his goals. Photograph by Richard Polden.

Riverton resident Andrew Pengelly is living proof that a devastating medical diagnosis does not mean life has to stop.

A fortnight ago, Pengelly completed his 500th parkrun, a remarkable achievement given he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease five years ago.

Pengelly started taking part in parkrun before it had even gained that name, running in its first UK iteration as Bushy Park Time Trial in 2006.

He moved to WA in 2012 and continued on, volunteering in parkrun and serving as run director, but a shock diagnosis five years ago reaffirmed his commitment to parkrun.

“It was a bit of a mid-life crisis moving to WA, I’d been here before and I found that doing parkrun was the best way for me to meet people and make friends,” he said.

“I live with Parkinson’s, so exercise is extremely important to me to maintain as normal a life as possible by doing exercise.

“I was diagnosed five years ago on June 6.

“I try to be a beacon for people with Parkinson’s and try to help people.

“When I was first diagnosed, I went back to the UK to tick an item off my bucket-list, that was running the length of the Thames, 320km over eight days.

“Even though you’re diagnosed with Parkinson’s it doesn’t mean you have to give up on things.”

He said the thought to stop had entered his mind, but he was determined to carry on.

“I love running because of that community feel and support, after the diagnosis the parkrun community really got around me and encouraged me to keep going.

“When I got the diagnosis, a lot went through my mind about what’s going on in your life and I did consider it.

“It would be easy to just say oh that’s not important, I can’t do that, but I’d like to focus on what I can do for as long as I can, give everything to achieving what you can without worrying what you can’t do.”

Pengelly joins an elite group of parkrunners who have reached the 500-run milestone