The Saturday Morning Park Run
Publisher: 1st May 2020 by One More Chapter
Pages: 400 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: women’s fiction, romance
My Rating: 3 cups
This is the story of two women.
One old, one young.
One looking for new adventures. One looking for a purpose.
Both needing a friend.
And this is how, along with two little girls in need of a family, a gorgeous stranger, and a scruffy dog, they bring the whole community together every Saturday morning for love, laughter and a little bit of running…(well, power walking).
Some people come into your life when you need them the most.
‘Don’t you think you’re attributing quite a lot to … well, a run in the park?’
The infamous ‘Parkrun’! I was attracted to this book because my husband and daughter were doing the Parkrun before lockdown and I thought I could relate to the main theme. I have read Jules's books before, enjoying some romantic escapism, this one promised that and more.
Overall this book has many contemporary themes which lift it above your average ‘chick lit’ book. Physical and mental health are at the forefront here, especially when related to a work life that may be consuming. Then there are themes of family, loneliness and finding your purpose in life. So there is much on offer in this read.
‘There’s a fear, isn’t there? Deep rooted, submerged, but it’s there. What if it isn’t worth it? What if the hours we put in aren’t worth the stress? What’s left?’
It all centres around the worldwide organisation of Saturday morning Parkruns (if you are unsure of what this is you must Google it!) With life’s many demands (and I can vouch for this as my family have been participants) it definitely creates that supportive community, making connections and working towards goals. It is both a personal and community spirited event.
‘Running free felt so much better than being on a treadmill. It didn’t matter if I came last; no one was going to say that I’d failed. No one was going to judge me – not even me. The thought was immensely liberating.’
This is a fun read where people come together to overcome obstacles - there are lessons to be learned - for both the young and old - and a little romance as well. However, I felt that it was overly long and lost some interest in the logistics of setting up the Parkrun. I also felt that there was the cliched older generation wisdom, the workaholic singles who realise ultimately their simpler life purpose and of course, the mandatory happy ending. I felt terrible for the little girls who were abandoned and thought that was stretching it somewhat.
All up this was quite a different Jules Wake book - credit to her for trying something different - in looking beyond a straight romance to the broader community, finding real meaning and the much sought after work life balance.
The finish line loomed closer. I pushed my body harder, my lungs bursting. Then just before the finish, the woman slowed and turned. ‘We go over together.’ And, in an extraordinarily generous gesture, we crossed the line at exactly the same time. And that was the moment I fell in love with the Parkrun.’
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.