Northamptonshire parkrunner says parkrun helped with recovery from two strokes

A Northamptonshire parkrunner has attributed his Saturday morning parkruns as a key part in his recovery after suffering two strokes in just two days.
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Father-of-two from Northamptonshire, Ashley Riley, suffered two strokes in two days in June 2023, doctors told him that if he hadn’t been in the shape he was due to his parkruns, it could have been a lot worse, Riley explained: “My stroke consultant informed me that if I hadn't been in such good shape, the stroke could have had a much worse impact on my life, and could have been potentially life-threatening.

“My physical health was good due to being a regular parkrunner and this has also proved to be vital in my recovery.

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“The first parkrun after my stroke was particularly emotional, as it marked an important part of my recovery journey.

Ashley RileyAshley Riley
Ashley Riley

“When I was able to return to parkrunning in December 2023, there was no pressure to be quick and I used parkrun to slowly build up my fitness as part of my rehabilitation.”

Riley, 52, and his son, Teddy, are two of the nine million ‘parkrunners’ in the charity’s community and part of the 250,000 weekly runners, walkers, joggers and volunteers in the community events, he said: “parkrun is so important to me for reducing stress and improving relaxation.

“It is something I love to do with my son and I have managed to get friends to come along and try parkrun too!

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“I feel a sense of achievement at parkrun and a particular highlight was achieving a sub-30-minute time at parkrun for the first time, alongside the joy of having my dad and my daughter, Florence, come to support me for the first time.

“I continue to measure my progress, however small it may be; some weeks it really is about just turning up, other weeks it is about getting around and not caring what position you finish in!

“My parkrun experience has been that the emotional benefits of parkrun are just as important as the physical benefits. It has been a fundamental part of maintaining my mental health, as well as my physical health, over the last two years especially.”

parkrun want to improve the health and wellbeing of as many people as possible and in the next five years they want to double their numbers to 500,000 people taking part each week.

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Looking to the future, Riley said: “My hope is that parkrun will continue to grow in popularity and more and more people will benefit from parkrun, in the way that parkrun has definitely benefited me and is now a huge part of my life.

“I am looking forward to hitting my 100th parkrun, my son, Teddy, is only a few away from his 50th parkrun and we will celebrate this too.”

parkrun will always be free, for everyone, forever and you can find your local course to run, walk or volunteer at