This is rookie reporter TurboTortoise, writing from the green wilds of south west London, in the absence of HU's anchorman Danzargo from yesterday morning's parkrun. Apologies for the lateness of my report - I am not good at deadlines, but better late than never and all that.
As many will have noticed the weather was pretty changeable yesterday. But the grey and rainy start turned to hot and humid sunshine just before 9am, and as I walked through the hazy landscape towards Richmond Gate I did a double take at a bizarre sight in the distance - what looked like a pair of swans' or geese necks in the long grass, circling each other in a strange courtship ritual... it took me a few seconds to work out that it was in fact a man, bent double in the waist-deep grass, vigorously windmilling his white-sleeved arms (he had very pink hands) - clearly his super enthusiastic warm-up.
It being the first Saturday of the month there were pacers present, as well as some visiting parkrun dignitaries from around the UK and abroad. Despite the early bad weather putting off quite a few people, the start was as bottlenecked as ever - and I soon lost sight of the pacers.
However as I wove my way down Sawyers Hill I caught up with Mr 30 Minutes. He was going like the clappers, much faster than he should have been, I'm sure! 'Oh I'm well ahead of schedule,' he confided (yes, I even managed to get a few words out as I ran beside him!) 'But with this parkrun you have to go as fast as you can on the first half because the second half is all uphill.'
You're telling me. That last couple of kilometres gets me every time. As we veer left across the grass, and north towards Sheen Gate, I'm tempted to keep on going, straight out through the park gates and home. But, as ever, I turn left again, back onto the trail, and carry on toiling up the long, slow incline, back towards Richmond Gate. I can see the some of the faster runners, way up ahead, cresting the final hill. This part of the course is beautifully scenic, but oh, it's tough!
I briefly attempt to distract myself by looking at the rear ends of the runners in front of me (cf. Danzargo's report last week), but I have to say, there's nothing particularly lush or peachy about the bums (male or female) in this particular field today. What a shame! I wonder whether I've just got a duff batch, or perhaps Dan has been using some poetic licence?
I've tried to keep something back for this last bit, but it still really hurts, especially that kilometre with its nasty little ups and downs. I do manage to put on a final surge of speed for the finish, however.
My time was 26:47 - not a PB, but I'm not hugely bothered, because that (which I got two weeks ago) stands at 26:46! I guess no one could accuse me of not being consistent!
Happy running, folks!