I love Parkrun.
I love the concept of it. I love watching the runners arrive and the numbers grow as it gets closer to 9am. I love the kids and their enthusiasm. I love the feeling at 10am on a Saturday of having done a 5km run and already being back home and ready to start my day.
To be fair, I don’t always love the actual run!
I do think that open water swimming could try and do something to help get people involved and into the water – but maybe more about that some other time.
Last night my son and I were visiting friends in Huddersfield, so I decided that his morning I’d be a parkrun tourist.
The course in Greenhead Park in Huddersfield consists of one short lap, followed by two longer laps of the park – and to be honest, it’s a bit of a pig! Huddersfield is of course situated in an undulating West Yorkshire and the parkrun course is a microcosm of that. You are constantly going up and down and turning tight corners, so it can hard to get into any sort of rhythm. I can imagine once you know the course it becomes a bit easier, but I found it tough.
It didn’t help that it was a very windy day (and because the course took so many different turns the wind was coming from every different direction) and that the recent rain had left a MASSIVE puddle in the middle of the course (just behind the cafe if you know the park).
Many people tried to run around the edge of the puddle, but it was very muddy and slippery around the edges, so the best thing to do was just run straight through it. In fact that was probably the best of the whole run – although the next few paces without soaking wet feet wasn’t great!
Anyway, a windy day, a massive puddle, a new course and all after a very active week. So although it felt like a tough run, I’m pleased I did it.
I did my first ever Parkrun the other week and was pretty happy with the time I did.
I went again this week and intentionally ran without a watch to just get a feel for things without constantly looking at my pace. I wanted to run strong, but comfortably; to push as hard as I could without killing myself. And of course I wanted to beat my PB.
I set off well, the course was muddy, but generally ok. I recognised a couple of faces from the last run and used them as pace makers. I was running well and it felt like a good time.
So I waited for the results email to come through. And I waited.
And then it came through and I was 10 seconds slower that last time.
I blame the woman in the green top – she beat me by about 200m last time and I got in front of her this time. But she must have run slower.
*Storms off, slams bedroom door, shouts “IT’S NOT FAIR!”*
*Comes out of bedroom and slumps on the chair, “I don’t care anyway.”*
– – –
On reflection I’m pretty pleased that my ‘natural’ pace is within 10 seconds of my watch-focussed pace. And in all honesty, a dry course would see a quicker time. Plus it still gives me plenty to work on.
Yay me! I got a PB at parkrun today.
Although I’m actually being a little bit cheeky by saying that – it was actually my first ever parkrun event, so I was bound to get a PB no matter what.
I’ve admired the concept of parkrun for ages, but not being a runner I didn’t think it was for me. Not only that, but it’s 9am on a Saturday morning and Friday night is my darts night, so…
However, a couple of things have changed this year. Firstly, although I’ll never be a runner I need to run a bit more to train up for the Isoman event. Secondly, my darts nights is now alternate Fridays as my son stays with me on the other weekends and he’s now old enough that I can ask him to wait around for me for 30 minutes while I do parkrun.
So this morning we both set off to Newark (Notts, not New Jersey) and met up with the parkrun volunteers and runners. I was a little bit nervous and flustered setting off – I forgot my running jacket and so had to run round in my base layer only – but as people gathered at the start my nerves soon left me. There was a pre-run briefing and then we were off. The course was a straight line for about 1/4 a mile, then three laps of the circuit and then back down the straight to finish where we started.
I set off a bit too quickly, soon settled into a pace, realised that was a bit too slow, pushed myself on a bit and then ran the final section a bit harder still – to finish with a highly respectable time (for me) of 28:48.
Then it was time for a tea for me, a bacon roll for my son (as thanks for being so wonderful) and to collect my thoughts.
As anyone that has ever done a parkrun knows, the volunteers are great, the course is well marked, the group you run with friendly and welcoming and it is a great start to the weekend. It will now be a regular (fortnightly) part of my training plan and will be the time for me to run a ‘fast’ 5k. The goal now will be to dip under 28 minutes.