All runners have to be pretty well organised but spare a thought for busy mum-of-six Katerina Bragin on any Saturday parkrun morning. Katerina moved from Moscow to London 20 years ago for a short term job to help complete her PhD. And has since graduated with honours in logistics for organising family life!
Maidstone parkrun has provided a welcome outlet for the highly energetic Bragin family since Katerina completed her first run in November 2013 in 31:42. She has completed 42 runs and improved to 25:54 at Maidstone and 25:48 at neighbouring Malling.
Katerina's UK visit in 1997 became permanent when she met and married Greg and babies began to arrive, starting with Alex in 2001. The couple's sixth child, James, was born on their wedding anniversary in 2015.
The children have varied interests but Maria and Maxim have become talented runners to follow in the footsteps of their parents – father Greg is a former marathoner and cross country runner. Maria (under-15) and Maxim (under-13) both compete for Tonbridge AC and have parkrun best times of 20:50 and 19:43 respectively. Daughter Christina (8) recently took part in a local running event and four-year-old Andrey tells his friends at pre-school that he wants to be a runner when he grows up!
Meanwhile, eldest son Alex is on his way towards completing his Duke of Edinburgh Award, using volunteering at parkrun every Saturday as his community involvement. Volunteering has always been part of Katerina's parkrun experience as six pregnancies does result in a certain amount of time on the sidelines!
Katerina first discovered parkrun at a school assembly where a fellow mum suggested she should try parkrun with her children and by the following Saturday they were all hooked. With such a big household Saturday mornings can get a bit hectic but supportive husband Greg helps out with breakfast and transport and even volunteers himself at Maidstone.
Family Bragin epitomise the phrase, where there's a will there's a way and Katerina is keen to spread the word regarding the benefits of parkrun as she explains: “I have encouraged quite a few women (and their husbands!) to try parkrun and several now come every week. Some of these are local and some are back in Moscow, which also has a parkrun”.
If you are inspired by Katerina's story find your local parkrun here
and start planning for the busiest but most rewarding day of the week – parkrunday!
Image courtesy Maidstone parkrun