Once upon a time, I had a real hang up about Parkrun. You see, running for me is personal. It's "mine", my own, my precious..... So the thought of running with a group of people where I might be a stand-out-like-a-sore-thumb outsider mad me feel queasy..... Until I Turned up one week with my bar code and did it and of course I was completely wrong.
I'll never join a running club because that just doesn't appeal to me, but what I appear to have stumbled upon suits me down to the ground. This morning I ran my sixth Parkrun. My first was back in April, so I'm not a regular, but instead I incorporate them into my training plan for big events that i run (more or less one a month). Living in Essex and only a few miles from the M25 means that I have some real choice when it comes to parkruns. My local event is completely off road, hilly and very difficult, but I don't have to look very far to find something very different. It may have been only my sixth Parkrun today, but it was my fourth different venue. I chose Raphael Park in Romford because it's a largely flat run that is reasonably similar to the venue of a 10k I'm running next weekend. I went round in 29:21, my best 5k in over a year and consequently I have some real confidence going into next week.
Some folks love the familiar, some the camaraderie, but for me, spending half an hour on a Friday evening looking at course descriptions, choosing something that takes my fancy and then turning up on a Saturday for a leap into the unknown has become a completely unexpected pleasure!
The only decision I must make real soon is where to go and volunteer. It's the right thing to do after all.