I was unexpectedly child free this weekend, so the coast was clear for a Parkrun. There was no rain, or wind... just a thick haze that looked likely to lift. I had spent a restless night thinking and dreaming about running. At one point I was running barefoot in the Parkrun, floating effortlessly along... thank you for your positivity, dream!
As we all know, however, running does require a degree of effort. This includes turfing oneself out of bed before 8am on a Saturday morning. I pulled on my running gear in a bit of a disassociated fog and knocked back several black coffees.
As I got nearer to the park, the proportion of lurid lycra-clad people grew steadily higher. They came jogging and cycling in lines from all directions, like slim, fit ants. I asked one of them if there was anywhere we could leave coats and was told no, I would soon warm up.
There were only a handful of first-timers and we were pulled to one side onto wet, muddy grass for our talk. Then we marched at funereal pace to the starting line. I heard someone behind me mutter “it’s like the executioner’s march”.
282 of us packed into the narrow lane and before I knew it, we were off! There wasn’t much choice about what pace I was going; I just got carried along by the herd for a bit and have no idea at what point I actually crossed the start line! I have always run on my own so it was very strange to be surrounded by people. We really are all shapes and sizes, aren’t we?!
It was also the first time I have run without headphones. All the better to hear the heavy breathing with! There were definitely a lot of people not running at conversational pace! To my surprise, I was able to have brief chats with various people. They were very nice; the beginners talk had marked me out and lots of people said well done. The marshals were also lovely and I am sorry I didn’t have the breath in the last km to thank them all.
There was one hill that we tackled twice. I overtook half a dozen people the first time and thought blimey, I’m ok with hills. Second time around I realised I wasn’t and walked the last bit! In fact, I walked three times in the final 1.5km for 10-15 seconds each time, just to catch my breath and recharge. Ah well.
Despite this, I managed a respectable 32’21”! I came 215/282 and my ‘age grade’ was 48.27%.
The fastest gazelle was a 17-18 year old man who ran the 5k in 16’35”; the last person over the line had a time of 55’37”.
The gazelle was amazing to see; he floated just the way I did in my dream.