Couch to 5K
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First ParkRun done!

Hi everyone,

So many people seem to be writing great blogs today - as a group we seem to be doing really well :-D

Here, I went out and did that Park Run I was dithering about earlier in the week. It was the inaugural event in Winchester so it seemed a good place to start.

I set out from home about 15 minutes before the official start time (the park is very near here) and walked down. As I approached the entrance I could hear an intimidatingly large number of voices, and when I got past the last house I could see a huge number of people waiting to start, with more coming from every direction. Lots of club shirts (both local and from further afield) but a gratifying number of folks that looked more like me, and quite a few juniors too.

There was a brief speech from the organiser, a photo for the local paper (who has sent both a photographer and a very young reporter with proper notebook),then we all shuffled towards the start line, the horn sounded and we were off!

I purposefully stayed well clear of all the total fitties at the front, but soon settled to my normal, slow first km pace (my first km is always much slower than subsequent ones). The field became very strung out and I settled near the back. No music today - I just relied on Garmin to tell me my pace. I spent some time in the first lap chatting with a ParkRun "tourist" - she knew several other runners and they travel to try out all the different courses. She was clearly a good runner but going slowly because she planned to do another 20 miles on the South Downs (yikes) later in the day!!!

I started to be lapped by the fast runners soon after finishing my first lap (of 3). However, the course was nice and wide so this didn't present any problems. After my second lap the fast runners had all finished and only the slower ones remained. I followed an older man and he "towed" me in to the finish. When we stopped he also thanked me for chasing him as it improved his time as well :-)

Unfortunately the promised coffee failed to materialise - but then I only had to stagger 5 minutes' home to get some.

Vital statistics: according to my Garmin 4.56km (not 5km) run in 31 minutes. This happened to many people and it seems that the course is a bit short. So for now they've added a bit to everyone's time and my "official" PB to beat next time is 5K in 33.40. To be honest I don't think they added enough (I was almost 500m short and running at about 6.5min per km, so 3 or so minutes would have been more accurate). I think 33.4 will be tough to improve on.

I suppose it's possible that Garmins are not 100% accurate although we never think of them having errors - my red line on the map does not overlay completely from lap to lap even though I ran almost exactly the same path. The course had been measured twice using a wheel so it's uncertain where the inaccuracy lies. Oh yes - I was 253rd out of 280 runners, so that's better than I ever was at school as well!

Hopefully I'll be able to run most weeks, family stuff permitting. I expect there will be fewer visitors next time, and it will be possible to start seeing some familiar faces in coming weeks.I know this is long, but I just wanted to encourage any fellow ditherers that Park Run is definitely worth a go!

So that was day 28 of 5x50 for me, and although I've been complaining about bad running during the challenge this one was about as good as I've ever done both in terms of distance and time. Happy bunny tonight :-)

10 Replies

Well done! I was dithering re whether to do my first park run today but bottled it! Maybe in a few weeks....


Hi Lynds,

I don't know whether you saw my dithering blog earlier in the week but I was persuaded by many here to go for it.

I did go and do a couple of test runs around the course during the week - I never did the full 3 laps but I did 1 lap the first time and 2 the second time just to get a feel for it (the park run's on grass and I'm usually a tarmac runner). I think that helped with confidence as well. You could also go and watch/encourage first to check it out - I was egged on to just go for it here as it was the inaugural event but maybe being a spectatator first would help.

I'm sure you'll do it soon - good luck when you do and let us know how you get on :-)


YAAY - didn't I tell you it would be fine? And in a pretty good time too! Pity about the coffee. But if you're so close to home there might be scope for setting up signposts to a marquee in your back garden and become the official coffee haus (:->)

Here's to the next one and the one after. Parkrun helped my running no end & I'm sure it can do the same for you.


Thanks for your encouragement Malcy! It was finer than I expected. I don't think I'll open a coffee shop here - no garden to speak of apart from anything! Besides, believe it or not I'm moving in a month or so and it'll be 20 mins walk rather than 5 to get there :-(

I will try and do the Parkruns as often as possible. It may be only alternate weeks though as my husband goes on long bike rides every other Saturday and someone has to look after the offspring.


Well done on your first Parkrun,sounds like it was very busy; there were just over 150 people at mine, and that seemed a lot compared to my wet and muddy first one at the beginning of March!

I was following a little girl who walked a bit, then as I caught up she would run for a minute, get ahead then I would begin to catch her again...until she did a sprint 200m from the end and totally lost me..

I used Runkeeper on my new phone, that said I had only done 4.81k but I definitely didn't cut any corners, so will go by the official distance! :-)


Well done to you as well. Not sure I could cope with mud - ours will get very chewed up if it rains hard I think.

It's strange about the distances, isn't it. I also didn't cut any corners but all the Garmins came up with short distances even though the organisers said they'd measured it twice with a professional wheel. But then, if the wheel is correct I'd have run 5k in 31 minutes and that definitely doesn't sound right. They are going to tweak the course and measure again for next week.


What a great time, with your added minutes too!

I did my first park run today, 35.56 was my time and I couldn't be more pleased. Like you I plodded behind a pair who would run/walk. It was almost like a game as we swapped places. I loved the cheering from the volunteers and other runners at the end. A truly amazing feeling! I was 305 of about 350 at my park run. Will definitely aim to start further towards the back next time.


Well done to you as well! It's a wonderful feeling to finish and get a proper time isn't it :-)

350 seems like a lot of people - I think "ours" will be much smaller next week as it won't be new any more. On the other hand if there's a good article in the paper more people might join us! Starting at the back I felt was a good plan and I'll do that again. It always takes me a while to find my stride and although it was a bit intimidating when everyone seemed to be running away from me after the horn blew I had to ignore them and do my own thing.


That's a great report, and a great run for you as well. I'm particularly impressed that you were chatting as you ran - I need all my available breath just to run with! Well done :)


Thanks - I never like writing hugely long posts in case they're boring but they still end up that way :-)

Chatting - hmm- well this was only in the first km or so and I wouldn't call it easy conversation! She could talk very easily and I was gasping rather more. I think it helped with pace though, so I didn't start too fast.


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